As with Kanye West several weeks earlier, Kyrie Irving has also drawn the ire of the Jewish Community. Irving’s posting of link to the movie, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America, was deemed antisemetic and within short order the Brooklyn Nets laid a suspension on him and then doubled down with a series of requirements that the All-Star and NBA Champion would have to fulfill before he would be reinstated.
Nike decided they wanted to get in on the public flogging of Kyrie , issuing a statement admonishing Irving and then deciding they would be suspending their relationship with Kyrie and has called off the release of his next signature shoe, the Kyrie 8.
This move is but another example of the selective “morality” that Nike has displayed in recent years as it relates to less than desirable behaviors of their signature athletes. In 2013 former US Soccer star Hope Solo arrested for assaulting her sister and her minor nephew ( she ran afoul of the law again earlier this year when she was arrested for misdemeanor child abuse, resisting arrest and impaired driving). Nike, who Solo was signed with, said they would stand with the disgraced soccer star, and there was no interruptions in their relationship. Considering the fact that Nike’s products are made under deplorable conditions, in some cases by rather young workers, it should come as little surprise that the company would be steadfast in their support of an athlete with the complexion for the protection who has no problem with a penchant for harming children.
It is is no coincidence and should not go without notice that showed no such support for Adrian Peterson just a year later when he too was charged for child abuse when spanked his child with a wooden switch. Nike issued a statement saying the company ” in no way condones child abuse or domestic violence of any kind and has shared our concerns with the NFL.” This was followed by a suspension of his sponsorship deal. This is quite the about-face for a company that only the year before took no issue with the abuse of children.
Before Brett Lorenzo Favre was peddling denim or compression gear alongside Jerry Rice, he spent 20 seasons throwing TD’s in the National Football League. Since hanging up the cleats , he has moved on from fooling defenses with his play to fooling the State for pay. Favre, a multi-millionaire, took funds meant for the poorest of the poor in the most financially challenged state in union for his own enrichment and purpose. Accused of a felnious act of this magnitude, sponsors would flee like rats on a sinking ship but of all Favre’s corporate partnerships have remained intact-including his one with Nike. Unlike Kyrie Irving, who merely posted a link to a movie, Brett Favre’s actions has demonstrably harmed people , but yet only one of these circumstances has elicited a response from Nike. It has been radio silence from the athletic giant.
The Kyrie Irving situation has exposed the blatant and flagrant hypocrisy and anti-black sentiment of many people and entities; Nike is merely the latest and one of the most shameful additions to that list. They had an opportunity to do the right think, but they cowered and took the easy way out, and have done so largely free of criticism.
We reached out to Nike for comment on Favre’s sponsorship status, but those inquiries went unanswered.