Three Blind Mice of the NBA
What do LA Lakers LeBron James, Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr and former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern all have in common? They are blind to the hypocrisy and racism of the NBA in comparing their league to that of the apparent racism in the National Football League. Compare their statements below with the fact, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in favor of moving the Warriors franchise away from its current home of almost 50 years in a Black Oakland community, to a new White community 17 miles away in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco.
“In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," James said. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f--- I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’ ”
James, a four-time NBA MVP, made the comments in an extended conversation with his business partner Maverick Carter, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, and the actor/rapper Ice Cube.
“I’m so appreciative in our league of our commissioner [Adam Silver],” James continued. “He doesn’t mind us having ... a real feeling and to be able to express that. It doesn’t even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. As long as we are doing it in a very educational, non-violent way, then he’s absolutely okay with it.”
“I think it’s just typical of the NFL,” Kerr began. “They’re just playing to their fanbase, basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people. It’s idiotic. But that’s how the NFL has handled their business. I’m proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech, about peacefully protesting. And I think our leadership in the NBA understands that when the NFL players were kneeling, they were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality.
Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback whose NFL career was cut short after he knelt in protest during the national anthem, would still have a job if he were a basketball player, according to former NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Speaking on the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast, Stern said that public criticism, particularly from President Donald Trump, may be weighing on National Football League owners. It’s different for the National Basketball Association, which has made a priority of letting players promote and express themselves, he said.
“As we were digging out of a terrible hole for us -- in the late ’70s and ’80s, when there was a fair amount of racism exhibited about players -- we felt as a matter of policy we had to promote our players and show that they were real people,” he said during the podcast, which will air on Feb. 18. “And it worked.”