Re “Did Race Play a Role in Basketbrawl?” Commentary, Nov. 26: Of course racism is an element to the basketbrawl that occurred in Detroit on Nov. 19.
It’s true that many professional athletes feel the need to hang on to their “street cred” long after their bank accounts hit seven figures. Instead of discussing gangster life for what it is, it’s glorified in the media.
Be it fans who “disrespect” the players or players who feel demeaned at “performing,” nothing will change as long as we continue to promote this outlaw ideal. We have even seen young players enter the NBA as clean-cut athletes only to emerge as street gang look-alikes. At the core it’s all about racism, and racism is a two-way street. It’s about time we all talked about it in just those terms.
Todd Boyd cooked up the usual baloney to ensure that he wasn’t left out in the rush to pull the race card on the Pistons-Pacers-palookas disgrace. We’re told that the violent “super-sized black men” were “a whole lot wealthier” than the violent, albeit “helpless white men” they were beating up. Still, he maintains, the players “feel disrespected. Though they are highly paid, the idea of ‘performing’ for white audiences is not always something they are comfortable with.” Aha! There’s the crux of the problem. Bar white folk from attending basketball games!
“Performing” only for black fans will doubtless make the highly paid players feel more comfortable. This will result in a more gentlemanly game that will reduce the number of violent confrontations among players, coaches and fans. Whatever you do, don’t interrupt the beer sales, eject unruly fans and impose meaningful fines for unsportsmanlike behavior on the folks on the court. Those limitations would serve only to further disrespect the fragile psyches of our NBA multimillionaires. How much easier to pull the race card and justify/enable everything.