Here at the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState, there are certain puzzlements with which we must contend. When will the Rams start winning? Where will Aaron Judge call home in 2023? How many times do we have to tell Karl the Kraken that, no, he can’t start printing playoff tickets yet? And finally, when will LeBron James learn some things are better left unsaid?
James’ latest episode of Nike-in-mouth disease came as he spoke on behalf of his former teammate and current NBA pariah Kyrie Irving.
the floor I think is excessive IMO. He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him. Anyways back to my rehab session.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 10, 2022
Now, let’s have some background. Irving was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets for de facto promoting the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which is available on Amazon. No, I haven’t seen it, nor do I have any plans to do so. Drew Magary at SF Gate (warning: cartoon character liberal writer) did the dirty work for us:
Its lack of coherence and slipshod production values almost act as a distraction from the core ugliness contained therein. But this is a fundamentally antisemitic work built around the belief that Black people are the original Hebrews, and that present-day Jews have stolen their identity and used it to run the world. This is a bedrock principle within certain elements of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement; it’s been extensively debunked and is indisputably hateful, no matter how childish a guise it may come in.
Translation: If you believe the movie, you’re treading in Louis Farrakhan territory. Which makes you a bigoted moron. However, being a bigoted moron is not illegal. Lamentable, yes. Lampoonable, most definitely. But not illegal.
All you can do with a bigoted moron is feed them, forcibly if need be, the truth. Show them the concentration camp footage. Take them to Dachau. Bring in actual Biblical scholars and historians to dismiss with evidence the lie about blacks being the true Hebrews. If the bigoted moron refuses to believe the truth, publicly lambaste them all you wish. You can’t make them illegal, though.
Nor can you make one hate speech variant a virtual death penalty while responding to another with a shrug. James flipped his wig when Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver repeated “that” word with the excuse of “if it’s acceptable for blacks to call each other that …” One can argue the point, but it’s a terminally weak sauce stupid hill to die on. So is declaring someone endorsing antisemitic propaganda as being undeserving of pointed reprimand. Unacceptable offensiveness neither begins nor ends with the letter N.
Back to Irving. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke to Irving recently and indicated he has no doubt Irving is not antisemitic.
“He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group,” Silver told the (New York) Times.
Silver added: “Whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”
Responding to criticism the league didn’t act fast enough on the matter, Silver, who is Jewish, replied:
Silver said the league wanted to do “a bit of work and research to understand” Irving’s post before deciding how to proceed. That included Silver himself watching the film, he said.
“Once we did that investigation, it was clear to me that this was indeed hate speech and we, together with the Brooklyn Nets, did respond,” Silver told the Times.
In the same interview, Silver wondered aloud why Amazon still sold and rented the film. Probably the same reason you can buy “Mein Kampf” there. Nothing is gained by hiding or attempting to rewrite history. Such things deserve total exposure. Kyrie Irving is neither the first nor will he be the last person to buy into sweet-sounding lies. If anything, he’s done us a favor by bringing the film to light. LeBron James should start seeing things in the same light.