Hypocritical NBA Display of Unity Only Confuses the Issue

Triggering, to be triggered or avoiding being triggered. These terms describe how a phenomenon within ones environment can elicit an emotion response, which usually leads to a visceral reaction. Oftentimes, that reaction is a negative one. Millennial speak? Perhaps.  (Fixes glasses), why back in my day that was called being pissed off. However, something happened this morning that found me sitting at the keyboard in a huff, triggered, pissed off, sick and tired. Last night, after talking a good game, the Nets decided not to protest in their preseason opener against the Knicks. 

Nets Report on Twitter

Nets will not protest during national anthem in preseason opener #BKLYN https://t.co/wX8M77mbGy

Then this morning, while watching highlights of the prior nights NBA preseason games, I see a message about the New York Knicks scroll across the ticker at the bottom of the screen.  Something about locking arms in unity.  Good, I thought, returning to toil on my keyboard.  After all, there have been so many people taking knees and locking arms that its difficult to keep track.  The popularity of taking a knee for unity exploded a few weeks back following some divisive language from Donald Trump forced some who side with the establishment daily (NFL owners) to appear to side with its employees (players) on an issue dear to their heart. 

Then, on a whim, I decided to look it up, and thats when the triggering began. 

NY_KnicksPR on Twitter

NY_KnicksPR on Twitter


For some, this verbiage is right in tune with all the other lukewarm, tepid and downright cursory reactions. The language used ensured that no group would be offended. For me, it is a triggering event because it isnt specific nor in sync with the true reason folks started protesting in the first place, which was to bring attention to police brutality and the oppression of people of color in America. Now, the part about the gun violence is apropos considering the hellacious tragedy in Las Vegas. 

However, including it in a statement that also mentions poverty, equal justice, access to education and civil rights is somewhat confusing to me.  You see, in my mind, civil rights need not be mentioned along with the right for equal justice, because civil rights IS the fight for equal justice. You need not mention civil rights with access to education, civil rights IS about access to education. Civil rights need not be mentioned along with poverty, civil rights IS about the equal distribution of resources among communities.  

Either the person who wrote this did not know these seemingly apparent things, or he or she was being redundant and nebulous on purpose. The NBA has had a mandatory participation policy regarding the anthem for over 20 years.  When the national anthem blares through the PA system, players are expected to stand up. 

The politicizing of the national anthem by the NBA was the result of the disingenuous conservative outcry resulting from former NBA guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s refusal to stand for the anthem and face the flag due to his religious affiliation.

Now, 21 years later, any NBA team that now says it officially wants to show unity by allowing its players to link arms is simply trying to appease its players and come off looking better than the National Football League.  But both leagues blackballed players over politics and for daring to break the false narrative of American homogeny and inclusion. 

A real sign of unity and true American exceptionalism would have been to NOT to suspending Abdul-Rauf for his religious beliefs back in 1996. A correcting measure would be the removal mandatory participation.  Without doing so, the NBA just looks like a bunch of hypocrites.  Not as bad as the NFL, but hypocrites all the same. 

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (The Protester Before Colin Kaepernick)

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (born Chris Wayne Jackson on March 9, 1969) is an American former professional basketball player. Abdul-Rauf played basketball for Gulfport High School before enrolling at Louisiana State University (LSU) to play college basketball for the Tigers.

Yes, I am triggered. Triggered by hypocrisy. Triggered by individuals and organizations that would rather turn legitimate concerns into a slogan, t-shirt and empty gestures.  

This overture by the New York Knicks via the statement, like the sight of NFL owners who admonished and blackballed Colin Kaepernick, do nothing to better the situation. It confuses it.

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