We live in a very volatile time, no one can deny that. Despite so many advancements in technology and even culturally—how we perceive one another and even our choices—there’s still some clouding and mitigating factors that seem to hinder specific advancements. Racism is one of them.
Sports have always been a place, maybe even a platform form, for social issues to be addressed, and none more prominent than racism and discrimination. We see it now most with the NFL and some of its players and the exercising of their Constitutional rights. However, recently, Matt Barnes voiced some interesting words about racism in regards to the NBA, and his perspective and account they are quite astonishing:
He said: “I heard a lot of racial slurs when I played in the NBA. Especially in Utah. Very racial. More “N” words than black people in the city.”
Matt Barnes recounting of his time as a player and the racism and potential discrimination that he faced as a bi-racial man comes on the heels of him posting on Instagram that “racism is alive & if you don’t believe that, most likely you’re part of the problem.”
The comment has since been deleted, however, Hoopshype managed to grab it before it was taken down. However, it is not Matt Barnes perspective about society and America that may give pause, but what he experienced as a player in the NBA. For better or worse, when it comes to sports leagues, there has been a general sense that the NBA has been the darlings, that somehow, the National Basketball Association gets it right. And maybe for the most part that is the case, but Matt Barnes’ experience as a bi-racial man in America playing in the NBA tells a different story and a different side that many of us do not get to see or hear about. Now, juxtapose that with the NFL and the constant battle of kneeling or not, or even the Major League and the plethora of discriminatory remarks from fans and players, and it would seem that the NBA has been absent of these problems. But that is not true…
Unfortunately, with this revelation, sports fans and enthusiasts alike may need to consider that there is no place safe from social ills, that not even the sports realm, a place that many of us escape to enjoy the thrill of competition and the phenomenal abilities of other, to cheer on a team or an individual that we’ve come to invest in, is absent of this reality. It’s a sobering thought — but we can only hope, as we do with our teams, that we do better. We have to do better.