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Just over a month after the controversial NBA star posted a Twitter link to a documentary featuring anti-Semitic tropes, Nike has officially ousted Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving as a brand ambassador.
The athletics giant confirmed the move in a brief message to CNN: “Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete.”
Irving and Nike, who ended their relationship with the athlete on Nov. 4, agreed to part ways, according to Irving’s agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley. Riley released a statement saying, “We wish Nike the best in their future endeavors.”
In a tweet, Irving expressed his gratitude to those who have supported his work writing, “Anyone who has even spent their hard earned money on anything I have ever released, I consider you FAMILY and we are forever connected. It It’s time to show how powerful we are as a community.”
This is just the latest development after the controversy surrounding Irving’s recent link to the anti-Semitic film Hebrews to Negroes, from his Twitter account. Irving was criticized for sharing the film, which contains hateful and discriminatory content.
Irving has since apologized for sharing the film, saying he was sorry for those “hurt by the snide remarks in the documentary”. However, he claimed to be unaware of its contents.
However, some have questioned the sincerity of his apology NBC News columnist called it “obligatory and performative”. The incident also sparked a wider conversation about Irving’s beliefs and his responsibility as a public figure to avoid hatred and bigotry.
Nike co-founder Phil Knight explained the initial suspension of the relationship in November, explaining the company’s basic reasoning behind the move.