The “Great Hair Debate” that ensued recently when former Nets star Kenyon Martin criticized current Nets point guard Jeremy Lin for wearing dreadlocks has been settled amicably. After the Nets’ 117-83 blowout of the Knicks in a preseason game Sunday night at Barclays Center, Lin thanked Martin for reaching out to apologize to him and praised the grace with which Martin handled the situation.
“He reached out, and he was extremely apologetic,” Lin said of Martin. “It was a great conversation. I think things were blown out of proportion and taken a little bit out of context as well. Me and him had a discussion, and he was extremely courteous about everything. I’m impressed with how he handled everything, too, [after] everything that had happened.”
When Martin first saw Lin’s new hairstyle, he criticized the Nets for allowing Lin to do it and suggested in an Instagram post that it wasn’t appropriate for an Asian such as Lin to wear a style identified predominantly with people of African descent. Lin actually worried about being accused of “cultural appropriation” in an article he wrote for “The Players’ Tribune’’ about his latest style because he knows his changing hairdos have been a topic of discussion on social media.
Martin’s remarks provoked a storm of criticism, and Lin scolded those among his supporters who used racial slurs toward Martin in the comments section of his Instagram page. Lin reinforced that stance again Sunday night.
“I’m thankful for the conversation we had, and I’m also sorry in some ways for some of the things that him and his son had to deal with in the aftermath,” Lin said. “I’m processing everything that happened, and I kind of feel that he was dehumanized to some degree.
“I wish it didn’t happen like that, but I think we’re beyond that. Hopefully, I don’t ever have to speak about this incident or my hair anymore.”