Nets Say Kyrie Irving’s Apology Isn’t Enough, and Nike Suspends Its Ties With LeBron James
If you’ve been paying attention to the aftermath of LeBron James’s public comments about gay athletes, what you may not be aware of is that before James responded to his gay teammate Kevin Durant to say he was “sidelined by the sin of sin,” he tweeted to his followers that he was “not a gay” but “a f*ck-n*gger who had to listen to my homies talk about f*cking and them f*cking.” So the next morning, after his teammate made his comments on a podcast about gay athletes, James, who was the “face of the brand” of Nike, pulled his signature shoe from the roster of Nike’s athletes.
According to a report by The New York Times, Nike and its team have been suspended by the company. This is not the first instance where Nike has made this kind of decision. In a 2007 incident related to the Michael Jordan-led Nike branding of Michael Jeter’s shoe, the shoe company pulled Jeter from its roster and also suspended its team of athletes. Nike also pulled Jeter back in 2010 after he was accused of using the N-word on air in an interview with an ESPN analyst who had the audacity to ask him about the subject.
For those unfamiliar with the controversy, LeBron James and a group of African-American colleagues were called up by the NBA to represent the Cleveland Cavaliers before an NBA game against the Brooklyn Nets. They showed up wearing their “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts. In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, James said, “When I go to a party, you can look at me and know that I’m not a f*ck-n*gger who had to listen to my homies talk about f*cking and them f*cking.”
Smith commented, “I was asking you and I got a smirk from you,” and added, “It’s