Musician Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has been in headlines recently due to a slew of racist and antisemitic comments made across various platforms and podcasts, culminating in the now-infamous “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” tweet.
Clothing brands Adidas and Gap have cut ties with the 24-time Grammy Award winner, citing a violation of company values and an unwillingness to have their brands associated with such a problematic and volatile individual.
The impact does not stop there, however. West’s comments have completely cratered his multifaceted attempt to enter the sports industry. In order to understand how we must go back to the beginning.
Earlier this year, West launched Donda Sports, a vague and mysterious sports agency supposedly aimed at supporting professional athletes. According to their Twitter, Donda Sports is a “limitless organization centered on professional and wellness support in equal measure with the ambition to work with athletes across all genders, divisions and sports.”
Despite its seeming lack of purpose, Donda Sports made its first big acquisitions in May and June of 2022, signing star Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald and star Boston Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown.
Both Brown and Donald expressed their desire to use Donda Sports as a way to open different doors and opportunities outside the traditional sports world.
This week, after West’s extended rash of antisemitic comments, Brown and Donald both announced their decision to part ways with the company.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Donald poignantly explained his decision: “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 only prominent athlete – or former athlete, in this case – still associated with Donda Sports is Antonio Brown, who has been involved in a plethora of on and off the field scandals himself.
It now seems unlikely that Donda Sports will ever become a staple in the sports industry. Instead, it seems much more likely that in the near future, the company will fold.
In the case of Donda Sports, while Brown and Donald may have some negative PR for a short time, it is mostly just a case of West hurting West.
However, in the case of the men’s basketball team at Donda Academy, West’s Southern California prep school, West’s comments have also hurt teenage basketball players almost completely unassociated with him.
In the wake of West’s antisemitism, Donda Academy’s principal sent an email to parents stating that “Donda Academy will close for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year effective immediately…there is no school tomorrow.”
For Donda Academy’s three top 50 recruits in the class of 2023, Robert Dillingham, AJ Johnson and JJ Taylor, this means no more games for the entire 2022-23 season unless they leave the Academy.
An important part of the high school basketball culture is tournaments and invitationals designed to showcase the top talents around the country, many of which included Donda Academy.
Unfortunately for Dillingham, Johnson and Taylor, however, four of the most prominent tournaments in the nation have dropped Donda Academy from their schedules.
Former Donda Sports signee Jaylen Brown has spoken out against this decision on Twitter.“We must not cancel our kids,” Brown wrote. “We all must ensure [Dillingham, Johnson and Taylor] complete their senior year both academically & athletically.”