A white reporter who covers the Golden State Warriors was caught on tape stealing a security staffer’s jacket. It isn’t debatable; it happened. Several news outlets have seen the tape and confirmed that Mike Shumann, a sports anchor for KGO-TV in San Francisco, picked up the jacket, which didn’t belong to him, and walked out of the AT&T Center.
Mike Shumann is white. He’s also a former wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers and has worked covering sports for some time. The majority of the Golden State Warriors players are black. Shumann has barely been punished. The Warriors players aren’t cool with this, The Athletic reports.
What’s at play here is what’s always at play when something happens: race. We can’t avoid it or act as if, in Donald Trump’s America, situations don’t always end up being weighed on an uneven racial scale. In fact, if you’re black and reading this, then you’ve already thunk it; had Shumann been black ...
Race determines everything, from the way children are punished to the level of force used by police; to whether a suspect is detained or is shot and killed. It can be the sole factor in whether police are called about someone sitting in a Starbucks or whether children are thrown out of a mall.
It’s the reason former quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee. It’s the reason black activists shout “Black lives matter!” It’s also the reason Kaepernick doesn’t have a job and the reason BLM activists explain that trying to add value to black lives doesn’t take away value from white lives.
So the Warriors players are demanding that something be done. They don’t want the matter swept under the rug or the situation taken lightly. They want the matter investigated and they want Shumann, if guilty, to be held accountable, because those players who are millions of dollars removed from the rest of us know that if Shumann had been black ...
Well, here’s how Steve Berman of The Athletic explains it:
Despite Shumann’s attempts to apologize to several members of the team, and ABC7 sending him home from San Antonio after the incident—he was not part of ABC7's postgame show on Sunday—several players have told observers that they felt a double-standard was possibly at play.
What if a media member of color had been caught stealing a team employee’s property? Would swifter action have been taken to terminate an alleged thief, and would the incident have gone public sooner?
A spokesman for KGO on Monday issued the following statement to The Athletic: “We are taking these allegations very seriously and conducting a full investigation. As a matter of policy, we do not comment about personnel matters.”
We only know of this incident because prominent Warriors players have pushed for this to come to light. They’re the ones who are demanding that something take place here, and not because the reporter stole something—things are replaceable—but because all of us know how this would’ve gone down if the reporter had been black.