For Immediate Release
August 26, 2020
When the NBA favors one team or a referee makes a bad call, fans are outraged because sports only work if everyone is held to the same rules. So why is the NBA not crying “foul” on a black player who screamed a racially inappropriate term at a white player during a game? Racism is racism regardless of the participants. New Tolerance Campaign is mobilizing activists to call on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to play by his own rules and address this instance of racism as the NBA has addressed others in the past.
During the Aug 21 Los Angeles Clippers v. Dallas Mavericks game, Montrezl Harrell called Luka Doncic a “bitch ass white boy.” After some internet backlash, Harrell apologized to Doncic, but the NBA stayed mum, leading many, including the hosts of TNT’s Inside the NBA and rising sports journalist Gary Sheffield, Jr. to condemn the League’s hypocrisy.
The NBA has recently gone all-in on racial justice. Last year, the league enacted a zero-tolerance policy for fans who shout racial slurs at players. They have also encouraged players to include certain league-approved social justice slogans on their jerseys such as “I can’t breathe” and “Justice Now” (“Free Hong Kong” is noticeably absent from the list). When the altercation occurred, Harrell’s jersey asked “How Many More.” Doncic had “Equality” printed over his number.
It’s no secret that players taunt each other with profane insults during the heat of the game, but as many have observed, if the roles were reversed, the NBA would act publicly in a strong manner. The league would have likely imposed a fine or suspension, as they have on players, owners, and fans in the past.
To quote another NBA-approved jersey slogan: Enough! With just a few clicks, activists can send a message to Commissioner Silver urging him to take immediate disciplinary action and show that his league actually cares about improving race relations in America, not just co-opting slogans to sell more merch.