NBA: No Bullshit Anymore
Why We Should Support Sports Stars Taking A Stance
The NBA and other sports teams’ recent refusal to play games has ignited a vast chorus of people angry at their bold gumption. How dare they throw this racism stuff in our faces!
“Their job is to play basketball, not make political statements,” one person on social media wrote, I’m guessing with a straight face.
Another, “How about we boycott the NBA.”
And yet more, “Half of them didn’t even finish college.”
I began wondering how many of the people making these comments finished college themselves. But then I remembered to “go high when they go low.”
Lately, I’ve held back on engaging most people on social media. People typically aren’t there to get a good book recommendation, learn new information, or have an honest discussion. They’re simply out to promote their position.
This time I couldn’t help myself. The depth of anger so many have at basketball, baseball, and hockey players for peacefully demanding just change in how our government interacts with Black folks got me thinking.
“Why are you so deeply angry at the NBA players for simply taking a stance on race,” I asked one man. “How does that even harm you?”
“That’s not what they were hired to do!” was his adamant response, as if his life passion was employer rights. “They are supposed to just do their jobs. Play basketball.”
Ah. The good ole shut up and dribble response.
I immediately chimed back in. “So if their bosses are ok with it, then that would be cool with you, right?” knowing full well the NBA backed the players’ decision.
By now, if you don’t think there’s a problem with police abuse of Black and Brown men and women in this country, you should probably stop reading this.
For the rest of us, it’s time to question why there’s so much anger at people who happen to have millions of followers merely for bringing attention to an issue that is tearing our country to pieces. Yes. Attention. When our beloved sports stop. People notice.
So let me ask you this:
Are you more upset at having missed watching a game than you are over cops shooting a man seven times in the back instead of simply apprehending him before he finished walking to a car?
Are you more upset that Black people who can shoot a basketball also have opinions on things that matter than you are about cops shooting an innocent Black woman in her house?
Are you more terrified at having to watch reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard versus the playoffs than you are over a crushing murdering knee to an already subdued Black man?
Are you more worried about having to personally face hard truths about this country than you are about a Black massage therapist being racially profiled by police and then drugged and killed by a fire department?
What’s really making all of you so angry?
Players postponing or boycotting sporting events isn’t going to solve systemic racism. Nobody was claiming it would. Nor should Black folks be the only ones tasked with coming up with solutions. But after murdering knees, ketamine and bullets, followed by people of all types finally acknowledging together that Black Lives Matter, we obviously quickly forgot that the bumper stickers and slogans were not enough.
So LeBron and his colleagues decided to bring focus to the issue again. Sounds so enraging and outrageous, doesn’t it? God forbid we’d actually have to just make changes and ensure that “all of us” have equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You know, just to make sure that the precious Declaration of Independence finally means what it says.
Check your misdirected anger. Maybe it’s you you’re really angry at.
This would be a good time to get out your racial mirrors, take a look at yourself, and make a change.
In the meantime, maybe the boycott will give my Denver Nuggets an extra chance for Gary Harris to get healthy so we can beat the Jazz.
Jeffrey Kass is an award-winning author, Pushcart Prize literary nominee and author of “Oreos and a Pack of Marlboro Lights,” a collection of lightly fictionalized true stories, essays, and even a poem covering a wide variety of subjects including race, religion, relationships and coming of age matters. He can be reached at jeffreykassglobal.com