LeBron James fights Kyrie Irving’s corner; Nets star loses Nike contract

LeBron James has leapt to the defence of his former teammate Kyrie Irving, after the Brooklyn Nets star was suspended for promoting a film containing antisemitic ideas. The former Cleveland Cavaliers cager has received massive backlash from the Jewish community since his tweet late last month.

Initially, Irving refused to apologise for his actions, which saw him getting condemned by many in the NBA and the broader sporting community. The Nets management then suspended the point guard indefinitely after which an apology did arrive from the seven-time NBA All-Star.

The Nets have now laid down a number of stipulations for Irving to fulfil before he is allowed to play again. The Athletic’s Shams Charania listed the six items the franchise has ordered, which includes sensitivity and antisemitic training, and a meeting with leaders of the Jewish community.

James, who was Irving’s teammate in Cleveland for a number of years, feels an apology should have sufficed for the point guard to rejoin the team. The Los Angeles Lakers star accepts Irving’s mistake, but feels the current punishment is a bit excessive.

“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,” James wrote on Twitter.

“That’s what I think. It’s that simple. Help him learn- but he should be playing,” he added.

LeBron James
LeBron James
Michelle Farsi/Getty Images

Irving’s actions also saw Nike suspend its contract with the former Boston Celtics guard. The sportswear giant also cancelled all plans to release his next signature shoe, with Nike co-founder Phil Knight now revealing that there may be no going back in terms of renewing their partnership.

“Kyrie stepped over the line,” Knight said. “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.”

“I would doubt that we go back,” Knight added in an interview that aired on Thursday. “But I don’t know for sure.”

Irving’s suspension by the Nets is expected to be for five games, but could yet be extended if he fails to meet the stipulations set by the management. He has now missed the last four games with the next game on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving looks on from the bench during an NBA game against the Chicago Bulls GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / Dustin Satloff

Source link