Following last week’s suspension of Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving for sharing an antisemitic film on social media, Nike suspended its relationship with the seven-time All-Star.
“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech, and we condemn any form of antisemitism …” Nike said in a statement Friday. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”
On Thursday, Nike co-founder Phil Knight made his first statements since the suspension of the relationship was announced.
“Kyrie stepped over the line,” Knight told CNBC in an interview. “It’s kind of that simple. So, he made some statement that we can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And I was fine with that.”
“I would doubt that we would go back, but I don’t know for sure,” Knight added when asked if Nike would ever reconsider ending its relationship with Irving.
Knight’s comments on the matter did not sit well with Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown, who ripped Nike in a single tweet on Thursday.
“Since when did Nike care about ethics?” Brown posted to his Twitter page.
Brown is not the first player to seemingly come out in defense of Irving.
On Thursday, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James took to social media to call for the end of Irving’s suspension.
“I told you guys that I don’t believe in sharing hurtful information. And I’ll continue to be that way but Kyrie apologized and he should be able to play. That’s what I think. It’s that simple,” James tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Help him learn- but he should be playing. What he’s asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session.”
Irving was suspended by the organization last Thursday for “no less than five games,” which means Irving could be eligible to return Sunday, Nov. 13 against the Lakers.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report