The NBA seems intent on making itself irrelevant.
It has been an evolving story throughout the summer that the NBA has been both willing to become more vocal in the arena of social activism, yet unwilling to look into the effects of these activities. The ratings have been dropping consistently and, as I recently covered, the American tolerance for the woke activism has plummeted. The league however seems so insulated that it is only capable of simply continuing down this path.
The latest outrage within the league is a perfect illustration of how those involved are incapable of stepping back and looking at things with perspective. Utah Jazz head coach Quinn Snyder has found himself the focus of a possible controversy involving his choice of political campaign donations. Take a look at this announcement from NBA writer Andy Larsen from the Salt Lake Tribune
New story: Jazz head coach Quin Snyder donated $500 2x to GOP congressional candidate Burgess Owens, who has spoken against BLM and NBA players' protests.
I tried to dig in to the context around the donations. Snyder and the Jazz declined to comment. https://t.co/MtuQbb5tED
— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) September 11, 2020
Sounds troubling all right. The copy from Larsen sure paints a troubling picture.
Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder gave two donations worth $500 each to Burgess Owens, the Republican candidate in Utah’s tight 4th Congressional District race. Snyder has been vocal about his support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and sits on the NBA coaches committee on racial injustice and reform. He kneeled with his team during the national anthem
Owens has criticized those stances. He’s called Black Lives Matter a “Marxist organization,” and told Fox News that “We need to fight for our country against these Marxists and these bullies and cowards that are destroying everything they touch.”
Owens also spoke out against the NBA’s protests.
Owens certainly sounds like a villain. Republican, anti-BLM, FoxNews — all the earmarks of trouble are in place! The trouble is so obvious that another NBA beat reporter, Lucas Hann weighed in on this matter.
Thank you for writing this, Andy, in a local climate that is clearly hostile towards efforts to name white supremacy and hold its perpetrators accountable.
— Lucas Hann (@LucasJHann) September 12, 2020
Oh dear, ‘’white supremacist’’?! That is the most serious of charges. By all accounts, Quinn Snyder has a lot to answer for here. Except…
There is a particular detail in this story that is being missed. Larsen makes no mention of it in his tweet, and you will not come across this detail until deep in Larsen’s article; it is not until well after demonizing Owens that he lets this detail slip — Burgess Owens is himself a black politician.
I am in no position to assert motivation here, but I do find it troublesome that, in a time when the league is deeply embroiled in racial activism, Larsen would play this sort of game with making the race of his target somewhat veiled. It seems apparent that stoking some type tension out of this is the goal, but why the need to make the race of Owens something barely worth mentioning in a discussion clearly about the racial aspects of this season?
When casting someone as a negative figure for opposing the NBA players kneeling and the BLM movement it should be noted in the same breath the opposition comes from a black individual. Seems that is a very relevant component, not something you get around to mentioning seven paragraphs later like it is barely as important as the model car he drives. As for Hann’s claim that white supremacy is in play when someone supports a black candidate, that is just rampant ignorance. To his credit, Burgess Owens himself recognized this.
Look, I have fought white supremacists more than you'll ever know. I've picketed against segregation, I have scars on my body from the racism of decades past. You want to talk to me about who wants to "hold white supremacists accountable"?
— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) September 12, 2020
It is a good thing Mr. Owens spoke his peace, otherwise, I could be accused of ‘’white knighting’’ on his behalf, which would only compound the outrage. What adds to the insipid nature here is this is a sign of the league operating as if it is oblivious to the results of their actions. These are journalists after all, and they should be aware this type of manufactured outrage is having the opposite effect of their desired result.
Instead, they are acting with the confidence that what is taking place and being spoken in their cloistered environment is reflected across the country, when it is far from that. The NBA is playing its games in lockdown conditions in Orlando Florida– what they have dubbed The Bubble. Their behavior is also proof that they are exhibiting the thought process of living in a bubble.
Nearly translucent reporter is now white-splaining how a black politician is perpetuating white supremacy, because he is supposedly against racism.
This is their NBA today. https://t.co/hmIfhtrshf
— Brad Slager: Me, Gerard, Bourbon, and Poor Choices (@MartiniShark) September 12, 2020