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Nike drops Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving over antisemitism


(NEW YORK) — Nike has severed ties with Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving following criticism for antisemitism.

“Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete,” the company said in a statement to ABC News.

Irving received widespread criticism after he posted a link to an antisemitic film on Twitter in late October.

The NBA star was suspended by his team in November after he and the Nets received criticism for not coming down more forcefully. Irving was suspended for “at least” five games on Nov. 3 for failing to “disavow antisemitism” when questioned by the media about the Twitter post.

“We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film,” the Nets said in a statement at the time. “This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.”

One day after the team’s suspension, Nike announced it was suspending its relationship with Irving.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said in a statement. “To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

Irving signed a deal with Nike in 2011 when he left Duke University and entered the NBA draft. He was selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. His first line of signature shoes was released in 2014.

At the same time as Irving’s deal with Nike was suspended, it announced the cancellation of the launch of the Kyrie 9 shoe.

Irving ended up being suspended eight games before returning to the Nets’ starting lineup on Nov. 20. He had played in all nine games since Nov. 20, including his return against Memphis, and the team has gone 6-3.

ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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