Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin said he "hopes" he doesn't have to speak about his hair anymore after Kenyon Martin apologized for suggesting that Lin shouldn't wear dreadlocks because he is Asian American.
Lin told reporters after the Nets' 117-83 preseason win over the New York Knicks: "It was a great conversation. I think things were blown out of proportion, taken a little out of context as well. But me and him had a discussion where he was extremely courteous."
"Like, I'm actually impressed with how he handled everything," he added. "I'm thankful for the conversation we had, and I'm also sorry for some of the things he and his son kind of had to deal with in the aftermath [with fans writing insensitive comments on their social media page]."
"I'm just processing everything that's happened and kind of felt he was dehumanized to some degree," the Christian athlete said. "I wish it didn't happen like that, but we're beyond that, and hopefully I don't have to speak about this incident or my hair anymore."
The incident began when Martin posted a since-deleted video on his Instagram account saying that Lin's decision to wear dreadlocks is "bull---" and an indication that he wants to "be black."
"Do I need to remind this d--- boy that his last name Lin?" Martin said in the video. "Like, come on, man. Let's stop this, man, with these people, man. There is no way possible that he would have made it on one of our teams with that bulls--- goin' on on his head. Come on, man. Somebody need to tell him, like, 'All right, bro, we get it. You wanna be black.' Like, we get it. But the last name is Lin."
Later, Martin admitted that he used a poor choice of words and said he "probably should've reached out" to Lin before making his statement.
"But the man has dreadlocks, and I thought it was hilarious," he said. "Nothing more, nothing less than I thought it was hilarious. I made a statement ... wording probably was bad that I used, saying that he was trying to be black. Wasn't my intention to be racist or anything like that.
"It was meant to be a joke that got out of control. That's all," Martin added. "If I ruffled Jeremy Lin's feathers or if I made him feel [that] way, I apologize, brother ... I'm a grown man, and I can admit when I'm wrong. When things get out of control, I can admit when I was wrong, and my wording was bad."
In response to Martin's original comments, Lin wrote:
"Hey man, it's all good. You definitely don't have to like my hair and [are] definitely entitled to your opinion. Actually I [am] legit grateful [for] you sharin it [to be honest]. At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos [because] I think its a sign of respect. And I think as minorities, the more that we appreciate each other's cultures, the more we influence mainstream society. Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops . . . had your poster up on my wall growin up."
Lin first announced his decision to get dreadlocks in an article for the Player's Tribune. He said that as an Asian-American, he knows something about cultural appropriation and "what it feels like when people get my culture wrong."
That's why he consulted his African-American teammates before dreading his hair, he said.
"It's easy to take things that we enjoy from other cultures - that's one of the coolest things about a melting-pot society like ours," he said. "But I think we have to be careful that taking doesn't become all we do. With all the division, political turmoil and senseless violence in our society right now, we need to talk to each other more than ever."
He added, "I may not have gotten it right with my idea to get dreads. But I hope that this is a start, not an end, to more dialogue about our differences. We need more empathy, more compassion and less judgment. That takes actual work and communication. So let's start now - please join me."