Damn, I was pissed at LeBron James when he took his “talents to South Beach.” And I write this from a hotel in South Beach watching the Miami Heat compete in the playoffs on television, as my beloved New York Knicks are finished for the season. At the time, I was pissed because I had hoped LeBron would have signed with the Knicks, but he didn’t and the rest is history. Two championship rings of history. But unlike the former king of the court, Michael Jordan, who in 1990 refused to make a formal political endorsement against North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms, a well-documented racist, when he allegedly said, “Republicans buy sneakers too,” King James has shown that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
When he and Dwyane Wade led their team in raising their hoodies for Trayvon, we were incredibly grateful for their solidarity. And after Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly left a voice mail on his girlfriend’s phone spouting his racist views of black people, Mr. James was quick to grab the mic. Before last night’s playoff game against the Charlotte Bobcats, with Michael Jordan sitting courtside, LeBron boldy told the media, “There’s no room for Donald Sterling in the NBA.” Damn right, LeBron.
But let me take it one step further. Let the Clippers and the NBA study the tape and authenticate that it is in fact the old man’s words (however, if it wasn’t don’t you think we would have heard from his attorney by now? #justsayin). And once the final verdict comes in, not only is there no room in the NBA, but actually there’s no room in America for Donald Sterling.
This isn’t just about how Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Lob City Clippers respond. This isn’t just about how their coach, Doc Rivers, responds. A man who just a few weeks ago wore a black rose pin during a game in support of President Obama’s initiative to uplift young men of color. This isn’t just about how the 450 other players in the NBA respond.This isn’t just about how the Clippers nation responds at the Staples Center on Tuesday night (however, I would encourage them to wear all black in protest). It is not fair to put all of the pressure on basketball to solve the problems of race in this nation. This is about how the people of this country respond. Black people. White people. Latinos. Asian-Americans. Those of mixed race. Us. All of us.
How will we respond after a week where we witnessed a right-wing hero, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, spit his disgusting views about the black community? How will we respond after we were lied to by the Supreme Court when they said race no longer matters in opportunities afforded to the disenfranchised in their decision to end affirmative action in the University of Michigan school system? And now how will we respond after hearing the racist, nasty opinions of an old, rich, white man caught on a voice mail recorded by his girlfriend?
I applaud LeBron and others who have already publicly denounced Sterling’s alleged hatred. But, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to say? What action will you take to fight for an America that is postracist? I don’t believe in postracialism, since I believe we should always recognize and value race, but certainly we can wish for and work toward a country where racism is not nearly as prevalent in America as it is today. For old dudes like Donald Sterling, they and their divisive viewpoints won’t be around too much longer. The death of their vitriol is nearly upon us. A new dawn is breaking through the clouds of the horizon, and it will be led by us. And in our USA there is no room for Donald Sterling. #F**kRacism
Originally posted on GlobalGrind.com.
Michael Skolnik is the editor-in-chief of GlobalGrind.com and the political director to Russell Simmons. He is also on the board of directors of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Previously, Skolnik was an award-winning filmmaker. Follow him on Twitter.