LaVar Ball doesn’t give a fuck. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you will grow accustomed to him not giving a fuck about what Donald Trump—or anyone else, for that matter—says about him.
Giving a fuck is not how LaVar Ball became LaVar Ball. He is on everyone’s radar because he is the antithesis of proper social decorum. He is brash, obnoxious and unapologetic in his aim of maintaining prominence in the spotlight for himself and his children. He is a walking reality-TV show, which is clearly the lane he traffics in and is comfortable with. That, of course, cultivates a particular kind of social network that feeds off and even encourages such behavior.
None of which includes kissing Trump’s racist white ass.
Petty social graces like thanking a U.S. president for negotiating the release of his son LiAngelo and fellow UCLA teammates means nothing to Ball—especially given the fact that Trump is an asshole.
Exhibit A, from Wednesday morning:
Ungrateful fool, huh? This is who Ball was supposed to thank? Really?
Curiously, though, commentators in mainstream media initially chided Ball for his lack of gratitude (translation: “ungrateful” is the new “nigger,” as Shaun King recently tweeted), noting that Ball should be thankful that his kid is not still in a Chinese jail. CNN’s Chris Cuomo said that Ball “disrespected the president’s efforts.” Fox News’ Rachel Campos-Duffy said that Ball’s words are “an example of really bad parenting.”
I get it. Most grown-ups would say, “Thank you, Mr. President, for saving my kid.” Also, most presidents do not have an ego as huge as Trump and would not have demanded a thank-you in the first place. Indeed, you’d expect Ball to be the “bigger person” and say thank you. But that’s never been who he is, so why the uproar now? Because the president is involved?
Grow up, folks.
What is particularly troubling about the pointed critiques of Ball is the lack of accountability directed at Trump himself. It is not uncommon for U.S. presidents to negotiate releases of American citizens (often in worse situations with much higher stakes), so what Trump did was not extraordinary.
What was classically Trump was the toddlerlike form he took in amping up his efforts in a situation that most presidents would have handled with short, dignified remarks or a press release. Most presidents would not have stooped down to Ball’s level in the first place. That is the story, not Ball. Presidential decorum is as elusive to Trump as rhythm is to Miley Cyrus. Trump is “unconventional” and “not a politician,” descriptors that excuse his incompetence. Yet the onus of being respectful is on Ball?
There are plenty of fair criticisms of Ball, but faulting him for not giving a fuck or kissing Trump’s ass (which is what thanking him amounts to) should not be one of them. And let’s be clear: Trump doesn’t want a mere thank-you. He wants Ball to worship him and be one of his many token Negroes. White men—whether Gregg Popovich (who called Trump a “soulless coward”) or Stan Van Gundy (who labeled Trump a “brazenly racist”)—have said far worse about Trump, yet he has yet to go after them.
I wonder why?
Many people have accepted and made peace with Trump as an unacceptable president. But America being America, it cannot allow Ball to be an unacceptable Negro. That’s the problem. The reality is that both men are behaving as they always have: Ball is being his unapologetic self, and so is Trump. Yet it seems that Ball is being attacked more for being what some think is an irresponsible parent than Trump is for being a petulant president.
Let’s be clear:
LaVar Ball is not the focus of a federal investigation over colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election.
LaVar Ball hasn’t said it is OK to grab women by the pussy.
LaVar Ball’s kids did not DM WikiLeaks.
LaVar Ball’s kids aren’t turning the White House into a kleptocracy by hawking their goods on TV with public tax dollars.
LaVar Ball’s kids are not making deals with the Chinese president because their daddy is president.
LaVar Ball isn’t using his platform to back alleged child molesters.
LaVar Ball is not a racist white man who uses his power to bully people who he thinks are not kissing his ass enough.
LaVar Ball is not your Negro. Nor is he Donald Trump’s.
LaVar Ball is being LaVar Ball. Donald Trump is being a racist, kleptocratic dick.
Judge them accordingly.