Back in October, Adidas terminated its relationship with Kanye West – aka, Ye. Although there were many reasons for the end of their almost decade-long relationship, the main one was anti-semitism comments. And then, within almost a week of the incident, Nike suspends Kyrie Irving partnership and all related future drops!
Did Kanye unknowingly start a chain reaction?
The Nike x Kyrie Irving partnership is definitely not a matter of a day or two! Their collaboration dates back to the year 2014 and wasn’t expiring until October of 2023. And, the Nike Kyrie sneakers happen to be one of the most lucrative collabs for The Swoosh, especially in recent years. Furthermore, these kicks are one of the most-worn sneakers across the league. So, what causes Nike to suspend what is reported to be an $11 million sneaker deal?
And, it’s not just them! Nike suspends Kyrie Irving a day after the Nets decided to suspend him for a minimum of five games! So, what did Kyrie Irving do? Keep reading to find out!
NIKE SUSPENDS KYRIE IRVING
So, Nike suspends Kyrie Irving – the Brooklyn Nets guard – on November 5th, 2022. The main reason: the promotion of a film containing antisemitic material and not offering an immediate apology or explanation.
On October 27th, Kyrie Irvin shared a link on Twitter to a film titled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America”. The film obviously contains antisemitic material! Full of conspiracy theories about Jewish people, false claims that Jews dominated the slave trade, and antisemitic disinformation.
All of which Irving did not hold himself accountable for until his suspension from the Nets. And the next day, Nike suspends Kyrie as well. However, a few hours after the announcement, Irving issued an apology on Instagram saying:
“To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.”
He also said,
“I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against anti-Semitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the documentary I agreed with and disagreed with.”
However, after the whole situation with Adidas and Kanye, it seems farfetched that someone would do this by mistake. AND, not offer any sort of explanation until Irving was facing suspensions. Especially since a lot of sources talk about him defending his Tweet! So, it all seems a little fishy if you ask us.
STATEMENT: Nike Suspends Kyrie Irving
On November 5th, the entire industry was flooded with the title – Nike Suspends Kyrie Irving. And, in an emailed statement to CNN, Nike announced the following:
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” the Beaverton, Oregon-based company said. “To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
Previously, Kyrie had been wearing the latest unreleased Kyrie 8s throughout the season to build hype and anticipation. A release was set for November 11th, 2022. However, that’s not going to happen now.
Will the Brooklyn Nets Fire Kyrie Irving?
So, Nike suspends Kyrie Irving. Does this mean the Nets will let him go too? Well, no. Net general manager, Sean Marks, stated that he would be suspended for no less than five games. And, until he undergoes a series of unspecified “remedial measures”, he won’t be back. The team and Irving also pledged to donate $500,000 each toward anti-hate causes. But, it is definitely not a permanent thing.
However, we have no idea whether or not Nike will require its current endorsing athletes to stop wearing Kyrie sneakers. On November 7th, reports of Nike pulling Kyrie Irving’s sneakers from stores started to surface. In an email, Nike stated:
“Effective immediately, stores are to pull all Kyrie 8 models from sales floor and place in their back room. Stores are not to sell any Kyrie 8 product until further notice.”
BUT, the email does say that retailers can still sell all other Kyrie products. Could this just be a petty attempt to break up a collaboration just for the Kyrie 8s? Back in 2021, Kyrie called the Nike Kyrie 8 “trash” and has nothing to do with the design. Of course, Nike went with it anyway.
And so, there goes yet another one of our favorite sneaker brands. First YEEZY, and now Kyrie sneakers! It’s giving us a lot of PTSD at the moment. Keep it locked on our blog and Instagram @aiobot for more sneaker news and updates!