Jeremy Lin has been making waves for his new hairdo, but his most vocal critic, Kenyon Martin, has recently backpedaled after receiving unwanted attention for his comments. Martin called Sports Illustrated’s “The Crossover” on Friday night to clear the air on his controversial (and now deleted) Instagram posts.
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) October 3, 2017
The host, Rohan Nadkarni, asked him what was on his mind to start.
“This was never meant to be racial. It was thought of as what would’ve been done in our locker room. It would’ve been jokes. We would’ve been making jokes. It’s far from racist. I guess saying ‘Wanting to be Black’ made it racial. But I despise people that look down because of race. It was meant to be a ‘Ha Ha Ha’ moment. If you watch, I was laughing in the statements. It got taken too far. I wanted to clear the air. I don’t know Jeremy. He’s had a few crazy hairstyles before and I had the same thought process: ‘WTF.’ But I wasn’t trying to be racist. I didn’t even know he did the Players Tribune thing.
“I recently erased the post off my page. People were sending messages to my son. Like, no. Say whatever to me and about me. I have thick skin. I know what my intentions were. But then those are the things that are coming across. You n—– this. Your n—– that.”
Martin clarified his intentions further.
“If you listen to it, I was saying he wouldn’t have made it in our locker room. We would’ve made jokes every single day. He is a grown man. He can rock whatever hairstyle he wants to rock. People missed all of that. Just like I’m a grown man. I can say whatever I want.”
When Nadkarni asked whether or not he was addressing his thoughts on cultural appropriation, Martin said that wasn’t the case.
“That wasn’t even my thought process when I posted the picture. I’m strolling on the internet and the kid has dreads and I reacted. People want to make it into what it is. No matter what color, race, ethnicity, wherever you’re from, you have the right to do whatever you want. It’s your decision at the end of the day.”
Martin said that he and Lin have yet to connect with each other, although he’s trying.
“I DM’d him after the fact. I’m a grown man. I can admit if something got out of control or if I did something wrong. I’m trying to get his phone number as we speak so we can clear the air.”
In the future, Martin says he’ll be more careful about his choice of words.
“You definitely have to be careful the way you word things. People can take stuff out of context. I’ve known that. But when you experience this first hand, there’s no teacher like experience. “
Martin closed with the following:
“I have no problem with Jeremy, man. People were attacking me, calling me racist or n—–. I didn’t call him any kind of derogatory thing. He has the right to rock any hairstyle he wants. It got out of control. It wasn’t meant to be anything more than banter. Jeremy is an athlete and I would hope he understood that this was in fun and not to offend and as long as he’s not offended that’s all that matters. I wish him well.”