Aaron Donald And Jaylen Brown Sent A Message By Joining Kanye West’s Office

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Remark

Before we break our hands and applaud Aaron Donald and Jaylen Brown for their false courage in severing ties with Kanye West’s Donda Sports management group, let’s remember that it wasn’t too long ago that the two athletes in the alternative reality of West lived.

A world where slavery was “a choice”, according to the founder of Donda Sports. Remember, this was the 2020 presidential candidate whose bid was backed by Republican agents and seemed like an obvious ploy to divert black voters away from the Democratic Party — and yet Brown, known for his social activism and advocacy for votes, signed up. still on the dotted line.

Months before Donald praised the company for its “family” environment, its figurehead, who now goes by Ye, was the same ex-husband who attacked Kim Kardashian with a barrage of social media bullying and threatened physical assault against him. the man she was dating at the time.

When the two athletes formed an alliance with Ye earlier this year, he was already in trouble. Just not enough to stop them from seeking the empowerment of greater cultural influence and deeper commercial partnerships that could come with this connection. They didn’t think about their social responsibility; they thought only of their corporative power.

And so they ignored the red MAGA hat. The wild reports that Ye’s publicist threatened a Georgia election official with jail time if she didn’t confess to voter fraud allegations. Even the fact that a well-known train wreck, Antonio Brown, was named president of Donda Sports. (If Antonio Brown is the leader, wonder what the rest of the hierarchy is there: Candace Owens, head of DEI? Alex Jones, social media manager?)

None of these red flags stopped Jaylen Brown, the Boston Celtics forward, or Donald, the Los Angeles Rams’ three-time NFL Defender of the Year and a Super Bowl champion last season, from joining this inferno. . They still chose Ye.

Aaron Donald and Jaylen Brown cut ties with Kanye West’s Donda Sports

“I think it’s lit.”

That’s how Jaylen Brown described signing with Donda Sports in a GQ video. Before being drafted in 2016, Brown, a man of many interests, was reportedly labeled “too smart” for basketball. After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Brown traveled to his home state of Georgia to join the peaceful protests. During the bubble, he emerged as one of the most vocal players to embrace social and political activism. Both Brown and Ye are sons of teachers, which Brown says was a motivating factor for joining Donda Sports. Still, there were plenty of other reasons to proceed with caution with Ye, who recently falsely claimed that Floyd’s death was the result of a drug overdose and not an officer’s knee clenched to his neck.

It was family that attracted Donald, who called his signing with Donda Sports a “great opportunity.” Donald came across as a man concerned not only with the avenues outside of football that would open up to him, but also to his wife, Erica, who managed to make the most of his marketing opportunities. Fairness in business to his wife seemed important and admirable to those who might look up to Donald.

“When I heard the whole spectrum of everything that was going on… the family atmosphere they got at Donda Sports,” Donald told the “I Am Athlete” podcast in May. “For me it was a no-brainer.”

But Donald clearly paid no attention to Ye’s treatment of his own ex-wife: Ye posted her private messages online, sent unwanted gifts, and was just the toxic ex who disguised creepy behavior as a kind of “love.”

It wasn’t until Ye’s recent verbal attacks on Jewish people—and his insistence on keeping ten toes down in his folly—that Brown and Donald noticed and followed his longest-standing business associates out the door. Balenciaga — Ye has been in a relationship with the luxury apparel and its artistic director since 2016 — dropped it. Then Adidas — the first of the popular Yeezy designs to debut in 2015 — gave him the boot.

Brown and Donald were the next major brands to withdraw from their business relationships with Ye. And make no mistake, as 21st century athletes they are small businesses in their own right: Aaron Donald Inc. and Jaylen Brown LLC.

Kanye West may have finally reached the point of no return

Like many of their peers, the football and basketball stars tried to build their empire outside the arena. Modern professionals no longer have to just sell sneakers and sugary breakfast cereals to improve their profile. Today, he is an executive producer of a Netflix miniseries. She is the venture capitalist who stands up for companies founded by people of color. More than ever in history, athletes have solid pieces of the pie.

In the leagues in which Brown and Donald play, the NBA and NFL, superstars have earned their fame better than any other American team sports athlete. According to Forbes, Giannis Antetokounmpo, still one of the NBA’s most exciting players, will make $39.9 million on the field this year. However, he will surpass even that huge amount with $41.1 million in approval revenue. And in the NFL, Tom Brady will bring in $52 million in endorsements, compared to $31.9 million from his day job as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback.

These aren’t the billion-dollar annual sales generated by Gap or Adidas, but the rising salaries of athletes out of court demonstrate their cultural and financial influence.

Brown and Donald believed they were reinforcing this trend by joining Ye.

But on their way to economic and creative opportunities, they also showed us their priorities. When they cut ties with Donda this week, they made statements about their corporate values: that anti-Semitism is unattainable. When they signed with Donda, they also made statements: That’s not anti-black rhetoric and destructive domestic behavior.

The modern athlete can use their platform, as we have seen, to bring about change within their competitions and society as a whole. So if they’re looking for more currency, they shouldn’t just follow the steps of any other for-profit business model. They can exercise their power by distancing themselves from objectionable partners. But also by choosing to avoid them in the first place.

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