Floyd Mayweather

Corporate sponsors like Nike are distancing themselves from suspended Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving after Irving’s social media share of a controversial, antisemitic movie.

Irving is set to lose $2.2 million if his suspension lasts for five games as he must meet a series of team-specified conditions before he returns to play. He has since apologized for sharing the movie on social media.

Controversial rapper Kanye West, who is embroiled in his own antisemitism scandal, has stood by the Nets star. Irving can now count another famous athlete among his supporters: Championship boxer Floyd Mayweather.

“Kyrie, what’s up? I know you’re going through a lot. We had a chance to hang out in 2016 when you represented America [in the Olympics]. When you represented the Red, White and Blue,” Mayweather said in a statement. “You only wanted to be treated fair. I was going to post something on one of my social media pages, but I decided to do it the old school way, and read it out to you because you’re a great person, a great father, a great athlete, and you believe what you believe.

“America is the land of the free. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. And supposedly, freedom to choose. Never be controlled by money. I respect you for having some integrity and being your own man. A free mind makes its own choices. A slave mind follows the crowd. Stand for something or fall for anything. One man can lead a revolution to stand up and fight for what’s right.

“One choice, one word,  one action can change the world. It’s crazy how people hate you for being a leader. I hope your actions encourage many others to stand up and say ‘Enough is enough.’ Respect to you Kyrie.”

The Nets are next in action Monday when they head to Texas to face the Dallas Mavericks.

[Don Salmon]