Floyd Mayweather, Jr. did not retract his perceived racist comments regarding New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, an American-born player of Taiwanese decent.
But during Tuesday’s New York press conference promoting his May 5 clash with Miguel Cotto, Mayweather declared himself “not a racist” while offering clarification concerning his initial assertion.
“Like I said the media always take your words and screw ‘em up. They failed to say that I said the guy was a good player,” said Mayweather in a New York Daily News report, later adding, “Do I regret what I said? Absolutely not. I stand by what I said and I meant what I said.”
During a tweet two weeks ago, Mayweather implied that it was Lin’s Asian heritage as much as his play that was catching the world by storm, drawing more attention to him when African Americans in the league are doing the same thing.
“It’s so crazy. I’m not racist at all. I have Jewish people that work for me,” said Mayweather. “Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, white people who work for me. One of my best friends, Kip, is a white guy. All-American. That’s my guy.”
Among Mayweather’s harshest critics concerning his statements about Lin had been film director, Spike Lee, with whom Mayweather said he made peace while sitting courtside at Thursday night’s 102-88 Miami Heat victory over the New York Knicks.
“Floyd Mayweather And I Had A Great Conversation Courtside,” wrote Lee in a post-game message on his Twitter account. “We’re MAD COOL.ALL LOVE.2 Brotha’s.YA-DIG.”
Lin had averaged 23.9 points and 9.2 assists entering the loss to the Heat, during which he totaled eight each in points and turnovers, just three assists, and shot 1-for-11 from the field.
“[Lee] said ‘no hard feelings.’ I said, ‘I’m not mad, because I don’t know what you said no way,” said Mayweather. “I don’t really worry about what you said. I’m not on the internet everyday.”
Mayweather said he didn’t understand why his own expressions of African American pride cause controversy while other athletes, such as Cotto, can espouse allegiance to his Puerto Rican heritage.
“It’s OK for Miguel Cotto to represent the Puerto Rican fans and represent the Puerto Rican flag. I’m a black American. I believe in supporting my own first,” said Mayweather.
“That’s where I come from. They can feel my struggle if they come from the same background that I come from. That’s what I’m going to stand by.”
Photos by Jeff Fusco – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org