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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Charlie Wilson

Kyrie Irving issues brutal response after Nike ends NBA star's £9m deal

NBA superstar Kyrie Irving has responded after Nike have ended it's association with the Brooklyn Nets point guard.

Irving had been a Nike athlete since 2014, but was suspended by the brand after he shared the documentary 'Hebrews to Ne*****: Wake Up Black America'. After being questioned, Irving did not apologise in a number of interviews given with media sessions after sharing the film, which includes Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

Irving did eventually apologise to the Jewish community and those who he offended by sharing the material. He was also given a suspension by the Nets, and was asked to work through six steps before returning to the team, including a $500,000 donation to anti-hate causes and also complete sensitivity training and anti-semitic training.

But after originally being suspended by Nike, the brand has now confirmed that he will not return.

The Athletic reporter and NBA insider Shams Charania tweeted: "Kyrie Irving is no longer a Nike athlete, Nike spokesperson says. The sides have parted ways one month after Nike suspended its relationship with the Nets star. Irving has one of most popular signatures shoes in the NBA and is now a sneaker free agent."

Irving has been quick to respond to Nike, sharing an image which reads: "Let the party begin." That post came just minutes after Irving also tweeted an image with the caption: "There's nothing more priceless than being free", suggesting he did not want to remain with Nike.

Nike's deal with Irving had reportedly paid him $11million (£9.02m) per year, whilst releasing a number of signature shoes. But all upcoming projects with Irving and Nike have now been scrapped.

Irving is no longer a Nike athlete ((Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images))

In November, Nike released a statement which read: "At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. To that end, we've made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone."

Just days later, Nike co-founder Phil Knight was quoted as saying: "I would doubt that we go back. But I don’t know for sure. Kyrie stepped over the line. It’s kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And I was fine with that."

In his apology, Irving said: "I really want to focus on the hurt that I caused or the impact that I made within the Jewish community. “Putting some type of threat, or assumed threat, on the Jewish community.

"I just want to apologise deeply for all my actions throughout the time that it’s been since the post was first put up. I’ve had a lot of time to think. But my focus, initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters."

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