NBA, NFL athletes drop Kanye West’s Donda Sports agency amid backlash

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The only two professional athletes signed to Ye’s Donda Sports will end their association with the agency, joining a growing list of major brands -- most recently sportswear giant Adidas AG -- in cutting ties with the rapper over recent antisemitic remarks.

Aaron Donald, a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams in the National Football League, along with Jaylen Brown, who plays for the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association, both announced Tuesday they would be leaving the management firm owned by Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.

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“The recent comments and displays of hate and and antisemitism are the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children,” Donald, who was the first athlete to sign a contract with Donda Sports in May, said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“We do not feel our beliefs, voices and actions belong anywhere near a space that misrepresents and oppresses people of any background, ethnicity and race,” he said.

Brown, who had told the Boston Globe on Monday that he condemned Ye’s recent remarks but would stay with the agency, said he would end his association with Donda Sports.

“I now recognize that there are times when my voice and my position can’t coexist in spaces that don’t correspond with my stance or my values,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

At least one high-profile athlete will continue to be involved with Donda Sports. Antonio Brown, a former player for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said he would remain president of the company. In a statement on Twitter, he criticized the “reactionary and selective outrage” against Ye and said he is dedicated to freedom of speech, thought and opinion.

Ye, whose business empire spans music to fashion, is facing growing fallout over a series of antisemitic remarks he made in recent weeks.

Adidas said Tuesday it will end its roughly decade-long partnership Ye and would absorb a hit to earnings of as much as €250 million ($249 million) this year. The decision, which follows weeks of deliberation inside the sportswear brand, will also see an end to production of Yeezy branded products and the firm will stop all payments to Ye and his companies.

The German company joins Gap Inc. and luxury fashion label Balenciaga in severing links with Ye. The rapper has also been dropped by his concert-touring representative, and film and TV studio MRC won’t release a recently completed documentary made with Ye.

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