Jaylen Brown and Aaron Donald have both severed ties with Donda Sports following anti-Semitic remarks made by Kanye West. Both athletes announced the news via statements released on their social media accounts on Tuesday (Oct. 25), each denouncing the rapper’s recent commentary, which many have deemed as hateful and divisive.
After previously stating that he would remain with Donda Sports and continue to support Ye, Brown has since clarified his stance, acknowledging that he will “always continue to stand strongly against any antisemitism, hate speech, misrepresentation, and oppressive rhetoric of any kind.” However, he also voiced his desire to continue his interactions with the people he’s built relationships with during his tenure.
“I do seek to continue providing mentorship, love, and support to the incredible children, faculty, and young athletes with whom I’ve been grateful to form bonds and relationships with during my time with the Donda Academy,” the Boston Celtic expressed in a statement.
Donald, a star player for the reigning NFL Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams, also publicized his disassociation with Donda Sports, citing his responsibility to promote tolerance amongst humans regardless of race or cultural background.
“Our family has made the decision to part ways with Donda Sports. The recent comments and displays of hate and antisemitism are the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children. We find them to be irresponsible and go against everything we believe in as a family.”
He continued, adding “As parents and members of society, we felt a responsibility to send a clear message that hateful words and actions have consequences and that we must do better as human beings. We do not feel our beliefs, voices and actions belong anywhere near a space that misrepresents and oppresses people of any background, ethnicity or race.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year also took the time out to voice his appreciation for those he met while working under the Donda Sports umbrella. “We’ve had the pleasure of working with many incredible people along the way and hope to continue to use our platform to uplift and support other families, children and communities through positive outreach.”
Brown, who inked with Donda Sports in May, and Donald, who signed with the brand shortly after, were the two most high-profile clients on its roster. Former NFL star Antonio Brown, the President of Donda Sports, released his own statement, promising to help “clarify” Yeezy’s comments while mirroring Brown and Donald’s stance regarding hate speech.
“Over the past few weeks the world’s reactionary and selective outrage at comments in the media made by my brother, Ye, have inflamed and sparked rampant conversation and reflection,” Brown’s statement read. “I too have been able to reflect on statements that I and others in my circle have made that lack clarity in expressing my stance. The people and brands that have relentlessly profited from Black ideas and Black culture chose to distance themselves at a very specific time: a time that demonstrated their prioritization of certain groups over others.”
“Sensationalism and groupthink have forced people to not speak their minds and act out in fear rather than love. For these reasons, I stand by my dedication to freedom of speech, thought, and opinion. … Let me be clear, discrimination of any kind is an injustice to all people, which is exactly why I wish to issue this statement.”
West has come under fire after writing that he would go “death con 3” on Jewish people on Twitter earlier this month, a statement that led to the 45-year-old’s account being locked. Several brands have severed ties with him, including JP Morgan Chase, Balenciaga, Vogue, and Adidas, who terminated their agreement with the rapper, thus stripping him of his billionaire status, according to Forbes.