1) Friendly reminder – Matt Andrews and I posted our first podcast recently, about Colin Kaepernick, and the history of athletes and protest. You can check it out here.
2) Still a dearth of white athletes joining their black brothers to speak out about the ongoing killings by police in black communities. But Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors did have some fairly strong comments yesterday: “No matter what side of the spectrum you are on, I would hope that every American is disgusted with what is going on around the country, with what happened in Tulsa two days ago, Terence Crutcher.” While nodding to the widespread criticism of Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for the national anthem, Kerr called for some much needed perspective about what folks should really be upset about: “Unarmed black people are being killed indiscriminately around the country. And that’s what happened two days ago. That’s the message. That’s what matters. The other stuff you can talk about all day.”
3) Yesterday, Jason Whitlock was full of praise for Cam Newton because Newton, while expressing dismay about police killings of unarmed black men, also said that the black community must learn how to take care of its own. Whitlock especially admired what he regards as this courageous stance when, in Whitlock’s telling, Newton is going to absorb a blizzard of criticism for not standing four-square with those Whitlock likes to mock as the “social justice warriors.” In some circles, Newton will face criticism for failing to denounce police conduct in a more full-throated manner. But it is the height of absurdity for Whitlock to insist that Newton’s position is the courageous one and that Kaep’s position, by contrast, is just a “hustle.” (the word Whitlock used to describe Kaepernick’s behavior two weeks ago on twitter when it was reported that Kaepernick’s jersey had become the top seller of all NFL players). A new poll yesterday by ESPN showed Kaepernick to be the most disliked player in the NFL. He has faced a torrent of the most nauseating abuse on social media, dwarfing anything Cam will endure for his tepid position. Whitlock’s inverted and self-serving notions of moral fortitude are simply staggering to behold.
4) A former student, Taylor Sharp, pointed me to J.J. Redick’s podcast on the vertical. For UNC fans in particular, I’ve got some very bad news: J. J. is a really smart, thoughtful guy. In this episode, he interviews the great retired sports columnist William C. Rhoden. They have a wide ranging conversation about sports, protest and social change. Redick is well read, a good interviewer and is going to be much harder to hold in contempt going forward – despite where he attended college.