Martin said that he was simply joking, that Lin could wear whatever hair he wanted, and that he never meant to give any commentary on race.
"This was never meant to be racial. It was thought of as what would've been done in our locker room," Martin told Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated. "It would've been jokes. We would've been making jokes.
"It's far from racist. I guess saying 'Wanting to be black' made it racial. But I despise people that look down because of race. It was meant to be a Ha-Ha-Ha moment. If you watch, I was laughing in the statements. It got taken too far. I wanted to clear the air.
"He has the right to rock any hairstyle he wants. It got out of control. It wasn't meant to be anything more than banter. Jeremy is an athlete and I would hope he understood that this was in fun and not to offend and as long as he's not offended that's all that matters. I wish him well."
Martin initially said that Lin shouldn't have been wearing dreadlocks by reminding Lin that he was of Asian descent. Lin responded that he was doing it out of respect for black culture, and also pointed out that Martin did something similar by wearing a tattoo with Chinese characters.
This exchange between these former and present Nets players spawned a conversation over cultural appropriation. Given the unfortunate nature of the internet, this eventually led some to leave inflammatory and racist comments on Martin's social media pages. Lin, and now Martin, have denounced those comments.
"People were sending messages to my son. Like, no. Say whatever to me and about me. I have thick skin. I know what my intentions were," Martin said. "But then those are the things that are coming across. You n----- this. Your n----- that."
"I'd hope that a lot of Asian fans don't go on his page and say racist things to him," Lin urged. "I think that's not the right way to go about it."