Rams' Aaron Donald, Celtics' Jaylen Brown leave Kanye West's Donda Sports agency

ByRob McLean, CNN Business, CNNWire
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Adidas ends partnership with Kanye West over antisemitic remarks
Adidas has ended its partnership with Kanye West. "Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech."

Two high profile athletes are leaving Kanye West's sports agency, Donda Sports, in the wake of the artist and businessman's repeated antisemitic statements.

Aaron Donald, a star football player on the Los Angeles Rams, announced Tuesday that he is leaving the agency.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Donald and his wife Erica said their family decided to leave the company due to "recent comments and displays of hate and antisemitism," which they characterized as "the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children."

The couple did not refer to West - who has legally changed his name to Ye - in their announcement.

"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 statement said. "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."

Also on Tuesday, Celtics star basketball player Jaylen Brown tweeted that he was "terminating my association with Donda Sports."

He also did not refer to West in the announcement.

The fallout from recent antisemitic remarks by Kanye West continued on Monday, including the rapper being dropped by his talent agency.

On Monday, Brown told the Boston Globe that he planned to stick with the agency.

"The reason why I signed with Donda Sports, it represented education, it represented activism, disruption, it represented single-parent households, and a lot more people are involved in something like that," Brown said at the time. "A lot of people that I work with, work with their families, build love and respect for, spending time in the summer. A lot of people involved. That's what the organization from my vantage point from Donda Sports represented."

In his Tuesday statement, Brown said he was "able to reflect and better understand how my previous statements lack clarity in expressing my stance against recent insensitive public remarks and actions."

"I have always, and will always, continue to stand strongly against any antisemitism, hate speech, misrepresentation, and oppressive rhetoric of any kind," he said.

The departures come the same day that Adidas ended its partnership with West with "immediate effect."

Adidas partnered with West since 2013, when the company signed his brand away from rival Nike. In 2016, Adidas expanded its relationship with the musician, calling it "the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand."

But Adidas put the "partnership under review" in early October after he wore a "White Lives Matter" T-shirt in public. The Anti-Defamation League categorizes the phrase as a "hate slogan" used by White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan.

Recently, West said "I can say antisemitic s*** and Adidas cannot drop me," during a tirade against Jews on the Drink Champs Podcast. He also threatened on Twitter to "Go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE."

-- CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky contributed to this report

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