Kyrie Irving and Nike are no longer in a perfect marriage. One month after Nike’s initial suspension, the sides have parted ways as confirmed on Monday by a Nike Spokesperson. Kyrie Irving signed with Nike back in 2011 and his sneakers were a top-five seller for the company. In early November, Nike suspended its partnership with Irving after promoting a film that contained antisemitic material. Although Irving publicly apologized for denouncing antisemitism to the NBA, his actions crossed the line for Nike.
On November 10th, Co-founder Phil Knight addressed this matter and acknowledged that Irving’s remarks were against Nike’s values as a company via CNBC:
“Kyrie stepped over the line. it’s kind of that simple, He made some statements that we just can’t abide by, and why we ended the relationship. I was fine with that.”We look at who we sign and how much we pay and we look not only at how good the athlete is but what his or her character are, it’s not an exact science but it’s a process that we go through with a lot of intensity and with a lot of people sticking their hand in it.”
Knight’s comments were quite alarming for several players around the NBA. The Celtics Forward Jaylen Brown who’s been in support of Irving expressed his thoughts on Twitter.
“Since when did Nike care about ethics?” Brown tweeted hours after Knight’s comments were made. Brown was referring to Nike’s history of sweatshops and forced labours in Asia to make its products. Nike has been under public scrutiny for its exploitation of its workers. Brown calls out Nike’s hypocrisy in the way they treated Irving.