Nike has suspended a sponsorship deal with an American basketball star and canceled his next branded shoe release after he shared anti-Semitic material on social media.
The sportswear giant announced the move after Kyrie Irving was suspended by his team, the Brooklyn Nets, for at least five games over the controversy.
The club said it was disappointed by his repeated failure to “make it clear that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs,” adding that he was “not suitable to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets at this time.”
Owen then issued belated apology In it, he said he was “deeply sorry” and took full responsibility for “my actions,” initially defending the retweet of the film’s link, which included Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jews.
The 30-year-old signed with Nike in 2011 and has been working with the Oregon-based company on a signature shoe line since 2014, an endorsement deal said to bring him $11 million ($9.7 million) a year. sterling) income.
The Kyrie 8 trainer was expected to be released next week, but has now been pulled.
“At Nike, where we believe there is no hate speech, we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” Nike said in a statement.
“To that end, we’ve decided to immediately suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving and no longer launch Kyrie 8.”
“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by this situation and its impact on everyone,” it added.
Irving has also been criticized by National Basketball Association President Adam Silver for his actions, despite the fact that Kanye WestThe rapper, who has been criticized for making anti-Semitic remarks on social media and in interviews, showed his support by tweeting a photo of the player.
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In his Instagram apology, Irving said: “I want to clear up any confusion I have about my stance against anti-Semitism, the facts I have for posting the documentary without context and outlining my specific beliefs about the documentary I agree and disagree with. Apologize for explaining.
“I have no intention of disrespecting any Jewish cultural history of the Holocaust or perpetuating any hatred.”
He added: “To all the Jewish families and communities hurt and impacted by my post, I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you, and I sincerely apologize.”
In response, Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said it was a step forward, but added: “There will be some remedies and measures that will have him obviously seek some counseling … from dealing with some anti- Hate and some Jewish leaders in our community.
“He’s going to have to sit down with them and after that he’s going to have to sit down with the organisation and we’ll assess and see if this is the right opportunity to bring him back.”
Earlier this week, Owen and the club announced they would each donate $500,000 (£440,000) to anti-hate causes.
This is the second straight season the Nets have missed Irving.
He refused to be vaccinated last year Coronavirus diseasemaking him ineligible for home games.
Owen has also previously questioned whether the Earth is round before eventually apologizing to the science teacher.