Tuesday, April 17, 2007

David Stern With a Racist Freudian Slip?

Earlier today on espn.com, NBA commissioner David Stern hosted a brief chat (insider only) in the SportsNation. The initial portion of the chat dealt with the fallout from the Joey Crawford suspension. However Stern being the evil genius that he is, it quickly morphed into a NBA public relations session. At one point, someone from the NBA offices posed as Nathan from Milwaukee and gave David Stern this softball question:

Nathan: Milwaukee, WI: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment since becoming commissioner in 1984?

SportsNation David Stern: I think in conjunction with our players and owners we have grown the sport to a place where people thought it couldn't get. Particularly, because, as observed in the 80s comment, it has become a predominately African-American sport (emphasis mine). But we showed in the context of sport it is about the competition and not the skin color. That makes me proud and happy for the NBA.

Ok, seems innocuous enough. Obviously, Stern is just trying to piggy-back off of the recent Jackie Robinson storyline in baseball. However upon reviewing the previous questions, here is the only "80s comment" that Stern could possibly be referring to, which was asked three questions prior to the "biggest accomplishment" inquiry:

Steven (NYC): Mr. Stern, what do you think of Roger Goodell's stance on the NFL's off-field issues? It reminds me a lot of the NBA's crackdown of drugs in the '80s

SportsNation David Stern: This is a subject we all constantly look at. We have been dealing with players who have been convicted or pled with convictions and the like. I hope the NFL system is successful for them.

So someone mentions the drug problem in the NBA in the 80s, and Stern associates it with the abundance of African-American players in the league. Yikes. Stern already has a well documented agenda of removing the "thug" image from the league, but it was usually rationalized that the commissioner was capitulating to corporate interests, and - as Billy Hunter put it - "to make the game and players more appealing to the red states." However, this little slip indicates that Stern may be a bit more motivated by his own preconceived notions of black culture than was originally suspected.

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At Wed Apr 18, 02:09:00 AM PDT , Anonymous jason said...

Hmm. I can't help but correlate 80's NBA drug use with Michael Ray Richardson who - as David Stern might mention - is the best representative of black Jewish athletics since Rod Carew. So I think Stern's speaking more of his own culture in terms of drug use. You know, suspended drug users like Chris Anderson, Don MacLean and the like....

Maybe that's why it's now a "predominantly African-American sport". All the white people keep getting suspended. Damn hippies!


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