THINKIN' OUT LOUD...|
Sprewell will win his
law suit against the NBA!
Last week, lawyers for Golden State Warrior Latrell Sprewell called a press conference to announce they were going to sue the National Basketball Association for $30 million. Sprewell's lawyers cited unfair disciplinary practices and civil rights violations in regards to the punishment that Sprewell received after he choked Warrior head coach
P.J. Carlesimo on December 1, of last year.
It was on Dec. 1, that Sprewell snapped and choked Carlesimo at a
Warriors practice after Carlesimo yelled at him. After going down
stairs to the team locker room and changing his clothes, Sprewell went
back to the practice where he got into another altercation with
Carlesimo. The players broke it up and Sprewell left the practice and
the Warriors immediately called a press conference to announce they were
suspending Sprewell for 10 games and fining him roughly $800,000.
Two days later the Warriors voided the remaining two years of
Sprewell's $32 million contract, and they released him. The NBA then
stepped in and suspended him for a year. What followed next was a media
onslaught that would have made director D.W. Griffith (Birth of a
Nation) proud. Despite not knowing all of the facts, the media labeled
Sprewell a thug, a cancer to the league, and became flat out hostile
towards him which also verged on the edges of being racist. This
hostility could be summed up by the words of San Francisco Chronicle
sports columnist Tim Keown.
"Just look at Sprewell," wrote Keown, after the choking incident. "His
appearance has gone full gangster this year, with his braids and wispy
sideburns. He is a hard shadowy figure."
Sprewell was later vindicated by an arbitrator that ruled he was
unfairly let go, and his one year suspension was shortened to the end of
this season. His contractual obligations with Golden State were
reinstated, but Sprewell was out of $6 million dollars as a result of
being suspended for the rest of the season.
Sprewell said he was wrong in choking Carlesimo, and that there was
nothing racial that led to him to attack on Carlesimo. But the leagues
reaction to the choking incident was racial when you consider that 79
percent of the players are black, and the management is predominately
white, and it had to send a message to it's buying public (mostly white)
that it has it's young black players "in check."
When the civil rights lawsuit was announced last week, David Stern, the
NBA commissioner said he was befuddled on the matter and that Sprewell
was "out of touch" with reality. The NBA Players Association announced
in a press release they were not supporting him, like they did during
his arbitration hearing. Sportswriters led by the Chronicle's Keown
immediately called Sprewell a stupid and greedy man who was playing the
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we present Latrell Sprewell, victim," wrote
Keown, last week. "A lawsuit that tosses out the idea that Sprewell was
persecuted in part because of his race? This can only transform him from
a guy who made a mistake into a delusional clown."
So Sprewell is on an island by himself. He is fighting the NBA and
it's massive public relations machine, heís without the backing of the
NBA players association who supported him in the past, and he is
fighting against a full fury of angry white sport writers who are taken
aback by the nerve of this young black man. But despite all of these
obstacles, Sprewell will win his lawsuit against the NBA if he pushes it
all of the way and this is why.
A few weeks before Sprewell altercation with Carlesimo, the exact same
thing happened with a white player in the NBA and nothing happened. Tom
Chambers, who is white, punched and knocked out the strength and
conditioning coach for the Phoenix Suns Robin Pound, and he walked away
from the scene as if nothing happened.
Was Chambers made public enemy number 1 by the NBA? No. Was Chambers
fined or suspended by the NBA? No. Was Chambers vilified in the media?
No. Did writers like the Chronicle's Tim Keown write about it? No. This
incident was quietly swept under the rug and Chambers was traded to the
Philadelphia 76ers were he then quietly retired.
Sounds like a double standard to me. If Chambers would have been
black, he would have been crucified by NBA and the full weight of a
media onslaught, but because Chambers has a white skin privilege, he
could get away with something Sprewell couldn't.
Sprewell and his lawyers know about this incident and they will surely
bring this up in his lawsuit. Sprewell also knows this lawsuit won't win
him any friends and it will create even more hostility towards him in
the public and the media, but sometimes you have to do things that go
against public sentiment to prove you are right.
Muhammad Ali did it years ago when he refused to go fight in Vietnam,
and his boxing title was taken away from him. He took this issue to the
United States Supreme Court and won, despite the fact he was crucified
in the media as a Nation of Islam black militant on the way. Today Ali
is seen as a media darling, and writers like Keown gush over him with
praises of adulation every time Ali is in the public spotlight.
Mark my words, Sprewell will win this case, or the NBA will quietly
settle this matter to avoid an incident that will show the league, just
like every other facet of American life, has a double standard when
things involve blacks and whites.
written by Lee Hubbard
For interview requests, questions or comments call Lee Hubbard at
(415)671-0449 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Look at your nearest
newsstand for his profile on Latrell Sprewell in the premiere issue of
the Source Sports magazine and his profile on Ishmael Reed in the
April/May issue of American Visions Magazine.
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