ESPN commentator Jalen Rose apologized for disrespecting “the game” over the weekend, but not to NBA star Kevin Love, after he claimed Love only made the U.S. Olympics basketball team because of “tokenism.”
“If I feel like Kevin Love should make the team or not, I’m entitled to my opinion,” Rose said in a recorded video. “You don’t have to like my opinion, you don’t have to like me. There’s a lot of people trying to assassinate my character or whatever, but those people, some of them, have been doing to for like 30 years.”
Rose also claimed the pushback he faced for the controversial comments had nothing to do with his apology.
“But you know why I’m apologizing right now? To the game. Because I’m what the game made me,” he said. “I was raised by the all-time greats and you know what I would never want to do? Disappoint [Rose’s late mother] Jeanie Rose or disappoint the all-time greats that raised me.”
He then doubled down on his criticism that Love didn’t deserve to make the Olympics team.
“Not that I believe that you deserve to make the team,” he said of Love. “I’m pretty sure when you got the call too you were like ‘Word?! I’m on the squad.’ I know how this works ya’ll. He looked down at his phone and was like, ‘Yo, they want me? They’re gonna ignore these Cleveland Cav lost tape years?’”
The sports journalist came under fire for claiming the only reason Love made the Olympics team was because the U.S. didn’t want to send an all-black team to the Olympics.
Rose defended that claim, even though several critics pointed out the U.S. has sent an all-black basketball roster to the Olympics several times.
“If I felt like the reasoning is because we didn’t necessarily want to send an all-black squad … it don’t mean that I don’t know we hadn’t sent one in the past,” Rose insisted.