To say the game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Maverick was hotly contested would be an understatement. During the first quarter Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell made a basket and called Mavericks star Luka Doncic a "b*tch @ss white boy" while backpedaling back to get on defense.
"B!tch a$$ white boy”
- Montrezl Harrell to Luka Doncic pic.twitter.com/tlzxIFOerz
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 22, 2020
The easy go-to argument is "imagine if the roles were reversed." Well, Doncic would, at a minimum, be suspended from the league. It's more likely he'd be out the rest of the season and have boos rain down on him at every game with fans in attendance.
Gary Sheffield Jr of Outkick shared his thoughts on the incident and he went much deeper:
The solution here is simple, even if many won’t like it: the NBA has to suspend Montrezl Harrell and send a message that race-based derogatory comments like his on the basketball court won’t be tolerated. The NBA has already set this precedent with gay slurs on the court, why not with racial-based insults as well?
Montrezl Harrell’s comments have already spawned a million “If the races were reversed” conversations on social media and there is no doubt that if Luka had referred to Montrezl Harrell as a “bitch ass black boy,” that the social media condemnation would have rained down from the heavens on Luka. In fact, Luka would probably be suspended for the remainder of the season. He would be crushed, a social pariah in all of sports.
There’s no doubt that the reaction to Harrell is far less condemnatory. At least so far. Which is why the NBA needs to act and explain that equality isn’t just a slogan on LeBron’s sneakers, it’s a way of life in the league going forward. Suspending Harrell would send a powerful message to everyone in the NBA and to all sports fans as well — we have one standard in this league for all players, race-based insults aren’t permitted.
In 2011 the late Kobe Bryant used a gay slur on an NBA referee. It was an ugly situation as the ref eventually came out as gay and Bryant was fined $100,000. But Kobe learned from the moment and even called someone out on Twitter for using a gay slur.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 11, 2013
If the NBA wants to be the social just police they are promoting themselves as then they need to handle all situations of inequality the same way. Many NBA players are wearing the social just message of "Equality" on the back of their jerseys during this season.
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