Kenyon Martin had some harsh words for Jeremy Lin a few days back, saying “we get it, you wanna be black” after Lin decided to rock dreadlocks. Lin responded (twice) with a gracious, even eloquent answer.
Since then, Kenyon Martin deleted the videos on Instagram of him talking down on Lin and his hairstyle and received a lot of blowback. Now, TMZ has posted a video of Martin apologizing to Lin, but nevertheless called his hairstyle “hilarious”.
“Wasn’t really saying it to him, Martin said. I was just making a blanket statement, which I probably should’ve reached out to him. The man has dreadlocks and I thought it was hilarious. Nothing more, nothing less than I thought it was hilarious. I made a statement... Wording was probably bad that I used. Said he was trying to be black. Wasn’t my intention to be racist or anything like that. But nah, I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was nothing more than us getting a laugh and joke out of it and people took it to the next level. People been on my page taking it to the next level — on the post and video I made, ‘racist this, ‘N’ word this, uneducated that. Ah. ‘N’ word eh, black man, yeah. Uneducated? Graduated from high school and college. Racist? Far from it. So nah, none of the above. It was meant to be a joke that got out of control.
If I ruffled Jeremy Lin’s feathers or if I made him feel the way, I apologize brother. Reached out to Jeremy, haven’t heard back from him. Like I said, I’m a grown man and I can admit when I’m wrong. When things get out of control I can admit when I was wrong. My wording was bad. Is it still funny that he has dreadlocks? Yes!”
Here’s the video:
So, Martin did apologize for “ruffling Jeremy’s feathers,” but still finds the hairstyle “hilarious.” He also said he reached out to Jeremy Lin who hasn’t gotten back to him yet.
Martin’s rationale for the comments —whether they were a joke or a pointed critique of cultural appropriation — have been heavily scrutinized. It ultimately went beyond the dreadlocks and exemplified everything Lin discussed in his piece on the Players Tribune.
Lin’s response has been praised all around the league, from the fans to NBPA Executive Director, Michele Roberts ... and beyond sports to include those like Sarah Silverman who found the issue something much bigger than just JLin and KMart.
In case you missed it, this was Lin’s message directed at his fans and others who had harsh words for Kenyon online. It correlates with what Kenyon said in his video.
“My job is to be gracious and loving. I think if I can share a little bit of my side, then the next time he might have a different viewpoint. He might have a different viewpoint in a week, but not if my whole fanbase comes behind and calling him – I didn’t see it – but I heard people were saying the ‘n’ word on his page. That’s not what I stand for and that’s not helping us move in the direction we want to move in. And I think both sides need to come together.”
Bottom line for Lin, “We just need to spend a little more time thinking about what we say, thinking about what it’s like to be somebody else.”
And that’s what all of this comes down to.
- Kenyon Martin backtracks from Jeremy Lin haircut hullabaloo - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Jeremy Lin admits he was worried about ‘appropriating black culture’ when he got dreads - The Grio