The NBA Finals are upon us and another reason why I should actively practice cutting down my social media time: everyone’s talking about it. I don’t watch sports, it doesn’t interest me. The last basketball game I attended back in college I was counting down the minutes until the game was over.
But it’s what happened in the game 3 playoffs of the Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors that has everyone talking about an incident that happened in that game: Warriors part-owner, (billionaire) Mark Stevens, shoved Raptor’s point-guard (y’all I guessed this position and was right, I’m basically an expert on basketball now) Kyle Lowry who went into the stands after a loose ball.
Before I watched the video and heard it on the news it really bothered me that it happened. Some may think it’s a minor drawback to the culture of sports that includes trash talk and rough housing. Nah, this is a talking point in the double standards that race, social class, and status play in society.
If you watch the video you will see that Kyle didn’t even touch the owner; yet, the owner went out his way to not only make a derogatory statement to Kyle; which he confirmed in the post-game press conference, but PUT HIS HAND ON THE PLAYER.
There are many reasons as to why that was not okay, but at the top of the list is that Kyle—a Black player—would have NOT been treated gently had he aggressively reacted to Mark’s shove. This is
Had Kyle Lowry turned around and slapped Mark Stevens he would have been expeditiously thrown out the game, finned, dropped from the team, called a “thug”, dragged through the mud in the media, and maybe even blackballed from the NBA. The amount of restraint it took for Kyle to remain professional and not throw his sets up should be commended.
I was raised to not put my hands on people and if I did be prepared to go all the way. You don’t want a fight, you don’t start one. Then there’s an entirely different conversation in minority households on how to behave around white people that focuses on nonconfrontational behavior. Black and brown people are consistently made out of an example when they go against the grain (see Colin Kaepernick, see Michael Vick) and when the roles are reversed it always seems to be followed by an inconsequential punishment.
Shortly after Lebron, enlightened the world that the “shover” was a part-owner and should know better, Mark went from being banned from just the remaining game finals to all NBA games and team activities for a year plus a $500,000 fine. And what is a $500,000 fine to a damn billionaire who invests in tech startups?!?!?
Would Mark shove a random person in the street for wearing a Toronto Raptors shirt without the reassurance of security? Hell no. But when you’re privileged you do privilege things. Let this be a lesson to all, keep your damn hands to unless you trying catch hands.