Tidbits

It’s finals time at UNC. Hence, it’s grading time. Hence my brief posting hiatus.

The Sterling furor has already died down considerably, but I found two pieces worth reading on the matter.

1) Ta-Nehisi Coates, the great essayist and social critic, wrote a searing column, titled “This Town Needs a Better Class of Racist,” Coates says about Sterling and Cliven Bundy that they are easy fodder:

The problem with Cliven Bundy isn’t that he is a racist but that he is an oafish racist. He invokes the crudest stereotypes, like cotton picking. This makes white people feel bad. The elegant racist knows how to injure non-white people while never summoning the specter of white guilt. Elegant racism requires plausible deniability, as when Reagan just happened to stumble into the Neshoba County fair and mention state’s rights. Oafish racism leaves no escape hatch, as when Trent Lott praised Strom Thurmond’s singularly segregationist candidacy.

Coates views Sterling’s comments in like terms. Sterling, like Bundy, allows us to persist in maintaining our “comfortable view of racists,” while distracting from the much more insidious ways in which racism pervades society.

2) Dave D’Alessandro minces no words describing some of Adam Silver’s “laudable business partners:”

The new NBA commissioner has a business partner in Washington who doesn’t know the difference between a tax code and “class warfare,” who bribes bloggers, slugs fans, bulldozes the neighboring Chinatown population into Virginia so he can help put up more Hooters, and asserts that we should all be grateful for the privilege of subsidizing his team.

He has a business partner in Orlando who is so righteous he has poured millions into anti-gay marriage initiatives, because gays “keep asking for favors” and “special treatment,” and marriage is “not vital to them, in my opinion.”

He has a business partner in Cleveland that made billions in the mortgage business, many of them by passing subprime loans along to the ultimate thieves, Countrywide, which greased the derivative machine that helped destroy the global economy.

D’Alessandro’s got further examples…

On a much lighter note, I see where Jamal Crawford has just won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. It’s his second such trophy. The Knicks’ JR Smith won it last year. I am sure the voters weighed carefully all of Crawford’s contributions to his team and compared those with the contributions of other sixth men before bestowing this honor upon him.

Alternatively, maybe they gave the award to Crawford because he scored more points than any other sixth man. Crawford is a below average rebounder compared to other shooting guards, and is also bellow average with respect to assist-to-turnover ratio. His one real “skill” is that he takes a lot shots, so even though he is an average shooter, he scores a lot of points. (He is, to be fair, an excellent free throw shooter).

It’s nice to see people who cover the NBA for a living so thoughtfully consider what contributes to winning basketball.

To be clear, I have *nothing* against Crawford at all. After all, he’s a Michigan guy like myself. I do find irksome the laziness of sportswriters about such matters.

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