“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn all forms of anti-Semitism. » It is with these words that the American equipment manufacturer announced Friday evening, November 4, the suspension of the partnership contract which binds it to NBA basketball player Kyrie Irving. The player has been at the center of a media storm since his promotion of an anti-Semitic film, which also led his NBA club Brooklyn Nets to sideline him.
“To this end, we have taken the decision to suspend our collaboration with Kyrie Irving, with immediate effect”Nike continued in a press release, without specifying until when, or if this bodes well for a break-up.
The player had promoted on social networks an anti-Semitic film, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, by putting links to the Amazon site to rent or buy it. He has since apologized “to all Jewish families and communities who have been hurt and affected” by his message.
Nike also announces in its press release that “the commercial launch of the “Kyrie 8” shoe”developed with the player, “will not take place”, as was expected this month. The brand says “deeply saddened and disappointed by this situation and its impact on everyone”.
Suspended for at least five games
This decision echoes the stronger and more definitive one of Adidas, which ten days ago broke the contract binding it to rapper Kanye West, suspended from Twitter and Instagram after writing that he was going to attack Jews. .
Irving is not yet completely let go, neither by his club nor by the NBA, which has not yet sanctioned him. The Nets nevertheless suspended him for at least five league games on Thursday, saying “appalled by his failure to disavow anti-Semitism” and by his too long persistent refusal to apologize.
This sidelining could nevertheless last longer, the Brooklyn franchise explaining that beyond the apologies made, there was still a long way to go.
“Actions speak louder than words. And so he will have time to think about all that.said the general manager of the Nets, wishing in particular that Irving “meets leaders of Brooklyn’s Jewish community to educate themselves on issues related to anti-Semitism”.