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Los Angeles (AFP) – Nike announced Monday it is no longer working with NBA star Kyrie Irving, a month after the sportswear maker suspended its partnership with the Brooklyn Nets point guard for promoting an anti-Semitic film on its social media channels. .
“Kyrie Irving is no longer a (Nike) athlete,” a spokesperson for the brand told AFP.
On October 27, Irving – already known to have relayed conspiracy theories – had published on his Instagram and Twitter accounts the poster of “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” and links to the Amazon site allowing to rent or to buy this film containing, among other things, a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler and denying the reality of the Holocaust.
He later apologized, saying “not to be anti-Semitic and never have been”.
“I have no hatred in my heart against Jews or anyone who identifies as Jew,” he added in an exclusive interview with SportsNet New York (SNY) on November 19.
His Brooklyn Nets club had also sidelined him for at least five games, without receiving a salary.
The Nets asked the player to contact the Jewish community to better understand the scope of the messages he posted on social networks. The former Boston Celtics player described these discussions as moving and important, claiming to have learned a lot.
“It was not easy, some (discussions) were painful (…) but it gave me a better perspective”, explained the player.
He finally joined the team on November 20 after serving an eight-game suspension.
Kyrie Irving opened up about his split from Nike on Twitter stating, “Anyone who spent their hard-earned money on one of my products, I consider you family and we are forever bonded.”
He also shared a “gif” which reads: “there is nothing more precious than being free”.
The 30-year-old Australian-born point guard was a seven-time All-Star, including winning an NBA title in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
© 2022 AFP