Nike suspends partnership with Kyrie Irving after he shared anti-Semitic video

Nike Inc.

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suspended his relationship with Kyrie Irving and moved to distance himself from the basketball star after he was suspended by his team for being slow to reject anti-Semitism.

Nike said Friday it was suspending its endorsement deal effective immediately and would no longer launch the Kyrie 8, one of its flagship products. Nike released Mr. Irving’s first signature shoe of 2014. The Kyrie 8 was scheduled to release later this month.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the company said. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

Mr. Irving was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for at least five games without pay Thursday night after he tweeted a link to a movie that contained false conspiracies about Jews and was slow to deny holding anti-Semitic beliefs. Hours after his suspension, Mr Irving responded on Instagram and apologized for his comments for the first time.

A representative of Mr. Irving could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Irving, 30 years old, is one of Nike’s biggest National Basketball Association stars, but the partnership has been strained. Last year, Mr. Irving on social media that he was not happy with one of the designs for his shoe and that Nike released it without his approval.

His signature shoes, typically released late in the calendar year, have sold well for Nike, with company executives sometimes touting the success of launches in earnings conference calls. Nike does not break down sales by model.

Nike’s decision follows a move by Adidas AG

to end his sneaker partnership with Kanye West over anti-Semitic comments from the musician-turned-designer. Mr. West had worked with Adidas to create the popular Yeezy brand of sneakers.

Nike has parted ways with other superstars. In 2020, the company ended its endorsement deal with soccer star Neymar, one of the world’s most recognizable athletes, amid a company investigation into sexual assault allegations. Neymar denied the accusations.

The company has also kept its appointments with troubled stars. It stood by Tiger Woods during a lost decade for the golfer, when a sex scandal and physical ailments derailed his career and caused sponsors from Gillette to Gatorade to drop him.

Kyrie Irving’s suspension

Write to Inti Pacheco at inti.pacheco@wsj.com

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