American football player Aaron Donald and NBA basketball’s Jaylen Brown have terminated their contracts with Donda Sports, the marketing agency owned by Kayne West after the rapper repeatedly made antisemitic comments.
West, now known as Ye, launched Donald Sports in May, with Los Angeles Rams’ Donald and Boston Celtics’ Brown as the first athletes to sign deals with the agency to represent some of their interests outside of their sports.
However, Donald, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, announced his decision to end his contract with the agency due to Ye’s “displays of hate and antisemitism.”
In a statement alongside his wife Erica, Donald said: “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.”
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— AD_99 (@AaronDonald97) October 25, 2022
Jaylen Brown, meanwhile, backtracked from his decision to remain with the agency on Monday (October 24), stating he would now end his contract. He also apologized for recently suggesting West needed “unconditional love” during an interview with the Boston Globe.
He said: “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. 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.”
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) October 25, 2022
Donald’s and Brown’s decisions come after several high-profile business partners cut ties with Ye after he made antisemitic comments across multiple media platforms, with Twitter and Instagram locking his accounts earlier this month after he used them to post offensive material.
Ye then repeated tropes and conspiracy theories to other media outlets disparaging Jewish people.
On Monday, his Creative Artists Agency announced it had parted ways with the rapper, while fashion magazine Vogue said it had no intention of working with him again. Balenciaga, the high-end fashion brand and Ye’s longest partner in the industry, also terminated its contract.
Yesterday (October 25), sportswear giant Adidas ended its lucrative partnership with Ye amid mounting public pressure to act. Adidas had previously said its Yeezy brand collaboration with the rapper was one of the most successful in the company’s history.
According to Forbes, cutting the partnership will cost Adidas $645 million in total.
Meanwhile, Antonio Brown, former NFL player and president of Donda Sports, today (October 26) announced he would remain as president of the agency and said Ye’s statements have been “taken out of proportion by the media.”
Brown, who was appointed to the role in February, said: “As the president of Donda Sports, I remain.
“I remain true to the mission of Donda and our amazing staff and community. I remain dedicated to helping clarify statements taken out of proportion by the media.
“I remain committed to bringing new ideas, experiences, and designs to our world. I remain in support of the humanity that is Ye.”
— AB (@AB84) October 26, 2022
Image: Christian Petersen/Getty Images