Teri Washington is a good friend who formerly worked in the NBA media relations office. She is now doing work for the Players Association as they transition into finding a replacement for Billy Hunter, who will spend the next couple of years trying to keep himself out of jail.
She once told me a funny story (the two of us found it funny, others may not) about how when she was David Stern’s right-hand woman, the two of them had to attend a Republican Party function, and how Stern had to practically hold his nose before he walked into the room to shake a few hands (Stern is a hard-core Democrat). They both made it through the event, albeit uncomfortably.
And speaking of uncomfortable, the national outrage over George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin shooting is not subsiding. Nor should it.
No matter where you stand on the political spectrum (full disclosure: I am a registered independent), you should realize that racism in our country is a HUGE problem. Our country is a melting pot of all creeds and colors. Those of us who work around pro basketball players tend to become somewhat immune to racism, because we become colorblind by spending so much time around people whose skin color is different from our own.
Then we go out into the real world, and sometimes it smacks us in the face.
I was having some legal work done for the site when a white attorney mentioned that he doesn’t watch much basketball …
SHERIDAN: “Why not?”
ATTORNEY: “Because they are all a bunch of tattooed thugs.”
SHERIDAN: “Why don’t you just come right out and say “niggers,” because “a bunch of tattooed thugs” is code for “niggers.”
SHERIDAN: “Do you know who Kevin Durant is? He has tattoos, he is black and he just gave $1 million of his own money to tornado victims in Oklahoma, which is the same amount that Durant’s team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, donated. And that team is owned by a white man, Clay Bennett, who can afford to give $10 million without it making even a small dent in his wallet.”
ATTORNEY: “Well, they’re not all thugs.”
No shit, Sherlock.
I live in New York, where the police have the right to stop and frisk any person they see who looks “suspicious.” That is a very broad and subjective term, and the police use it as an excuse to harass young, black men who are minding their own business.
A question: If the police in the most conservative, whitest city in America had the power to stop you, frisk you and make you empty your pockets, even if you were just a citizen walking home from work and minding your own business, what would happen? I’ll tell you what would happen: There would be a revolution.
We live in a free country. That means you have the freedom to be left alone if you are minding your own business. I don’t care if you are a Tea Party member or a Marxist or an atheist or a Jew or an Asian or a Blue Blood.
As an American you have a right to be left alone by the authorities if you aren’t doing anything wrong. PERIOD.
Racism sucks. Hopefully it will end someday. Unchecked police powers and governmental intrusion into our private lives sucks, too. This is a free country. Why can’t we all live with the freedoms we have been promised in our constitution?
Please, as you move forward on this Sunday and in the weeks ahead, do whatever you can to end racism and promote color blindness. Do not be silent when someone speaks in code, as the above quoted attorney did.
Make our country a better place.
Washington’s tweet of the night speaks for itself.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. -MLK Jr. #marchonwashington2013
— Teri Washington (@twash11) July 21, 2013
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor in chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.