Two star athletes leaving Ye’s sports marketing agency
Prominent U.S. athletes Aaron Donald and Jaylen Brown have both announced their departures from Ye’s sports marketing agency, Donda Sports, amid backlash over the rapper and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West’s antisemitic remarks.
In a joint statement with his wife Erica, Donald, who recently won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, said that Ye’s comments and beliefs are “the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children.”
Erica Donald also served as a marketing executive for Donda Sports, according to The Washington Post.
“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,” the Donalds wrote in their statement. “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.”
Brown, who has used his platform to amplify issues such as police brutality and racism in the U.S., announced his departure from the sports agency on Tuesday, a day after he told the Boston Globe that he has no plans to leave the agency amid the backlash.
“In the past 24 hours, I’ve been able to reflect and better understand how my previous statements lack clarity in expressing my stance against recent insensitive public remarks and actions,” Brown said on Tuesday. “For that, I apologize. And in this, I seek to be as clear as possible. I have always, and will always, continue to stand strongly against any antisemitism, hate speech, misrepresentation, and oppressive rhetoric of any kind.”
Donald, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year recipient, and Brown, who’s entering his seventh season with the Boston Celtics, joined Donda Sports, named after the musician’s late mother, earlier this year as the fledgling agency’s first major signees.
Major companies and organizations including Gap, Adidas, Balenciaga, Foot Locker, CAA, Vogue, and Def Jam Recordings have ended their business partnerships with Ye in response to the “All Falls Down” singer’s remarks.
West, who legally changed his name to “Ye” last year, recently tweeted that he was going “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” and accused hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs of being controlled by Jews. He also embraced antisemitic tropes in the unaired portions of an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson.
Spotify CEO Daniel EK told Reuters in an interview that the popular music platform won’t remove Ye’s music catalog, though he called the remarks “awful.”