On basketball, the New York Times heads into Jimmy the Greek territory

Remember Jimmy the Greek Snyder?  The oafish, ignorant sportscaster who went down in flames for this kind of talk in 1988?

"They've {blacks} got everything; if they take over coaching like everybody wants them to, there's not going to be anything left for white people."

Snyder described blacks as being superior athletes because generally, he said, they work harder than white athletes.

Then he added, "the black is a better athlete to begin with, because he's been bred that way. Because of his high thighs that go up into his back. And they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs.

"This all goes back to the Civil War, when, during the slave trading, the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he would have a big black kid. That's where it all started."

Well, now this kind of beyond-icky slave talk around black basketball players is being openly embraced by the New York Times and its columnist, Kurt Streeter.  On Twitter, Christina Sommers spotted this one and gave it the right characterization:

What amazing nonsense is going on over at the Times, reporting on professional basketball as a sort of slave racket.  That's political correctness and grievance-mongering on a very weird group of wealthy people.  In the NBA, the top 400 basketball players, 80% of whom are black according to Streeter, earn salaries starting at $1 million a year at the low end and rising to $43 million a year at the top.

Streeter describes player discontent at the idea of teams having "owners" and players being bought and sold as slaves once were, as if the players never saw a penny of their earnings that came of such trades. 

If this is slavery, sign me up.

I suppose Streeter isn't racist in the sense that Jimmy the Greek was (based on his columnist picture, he appears to be black), but he's nevertheless following the same racist Jimmy the Greek narrative, viewing professional sports solely through a lens of plantation chattel slavery based on the fact that a large number of the sport's stars are black.  He writes:

Much of what transpires in the league can be seen through the lens of race, especially this summer, when players upended the usual power dynamics by forcing a flurry of trades and transformational free-agent signings.

Black people = slavery, something a racist is always going to bring up. 

The Timesman writes of player discontent at the system as it is, with some players not playing on the teams they prefer, as a sort of slave revolt:

But the storm of movement can also be seen as something more profound. Each elite player who bolted to a new team is black. Each had endured years with little control over his destiny. Each played for a team he was forced to join after the N.B.A. draft. Each, for long stretches, had been treated as a business asset, a cog in a machine who could be dumped or traded on a whim.

After that, he cites a bunch of academic bloviators to validate the absurd basketball teams–as-slavery scenario.

He also comments on white team-owners (of team organizations, not actual people) as little more than planters-hatted slave-owners, something even Jimmy the Greek idiotically suggested was a sort of affirmative action for whites. 

Four hundred years on, the sin of slavery continues to haunt. Its repercussions infect politics, art, education, every community, every last corner of American life. The N.B.A. — indeed, all of sports — is not immune.

Basically, it's a nonsense narrative, but now being propelled through the mass media.  As if multi-millionaire basketball players are now the slaves.

What's missing in his analysis is that unlike slaves, everyone is free to leave.  They can start their own basketball teams, with their own ownership, as some do and he describes them as doing, or they can walk away and retreat, Tom and Daisy Buchanan–style, into their money if they want.  No slave in the history of humankind has ever had that kind of privilege.

Basketball in fact is a capitalist enterprise, and capitalism means someone lays down money and takes a risk that a project is going to work or else loses the money.  Labor is the means to do it, and well paid labor ensures that the best performers stay for the ride.  The basketball system's free-agent system is an added goose to the labor market, ensuring that competition for labor drives up salaries to very high levels as team owners compete for talent.  If these people don't like this system, calling it slavery is a pretty absurd way of enacting change.  Not one of these people can be called a victim.

The Times, though, likes this narrative and now is promoting it.  It's not very different from the slave-oriented sentiment of Jimmy the Greek, except that now it's become respectable.  

Image credit: YouTube screen shot.

Remember Jimmy the Greek Snyder?  The oafish, ignorant sportscaster who went down in flames for this kind of talk in 1988?

"They've {blacks} got everything; if they take over coaching like everybody wants them to, there's not going to be anything left for white people."

Snyder described blacks as being superior athletes because generally, he said, they work harder than white athletes.

Then he added, "the black is a better athlete to begin with, because he's been bred that way. Because of his high thighs that go up into his back. And they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs.

"This all goes back to the Civil War, when, during the slave trading, the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he would have a big black kid. That's where it all started."

Well, now this kind of beyond-icky slave talk around black basketball players is being openly embraced by the New York Times and its columnist, Kurt Streeter.  On Twitter, Christina Sommers spotted this one and gave it the right characterization:

What amazing nonsense is going on over at the Times, reporting on professional basketball as a sort of slave racket.  That's political correctness and grievance-mongering on a very weird group of wealthy people.  In the NBA, the top 400 basketball players, 80% of whom are black according to Streeter, earn salaries starting at $1 million a year at the low end and rising to $43 million a year at the top.

Streeter describes player discontent at the idea of teams having "owners" and players being bought and sold as slaves once were, as if the players never saw a penny of their earnings that came of such trades. 

If this is slavery, sign me up.

I suppose Streeter isn't racist in the sense that Jimmy the Greek was (based on his columnist picture, he appears to be black), but he's nevertheless following the same racist Jimmy the Greek narrative, viewing professional sports solely through a lens of plantation chattel slavery based on the fact that a large number of the sport's stars are black.  He writes:

Much of what transpires in the league can be seen through the lens of race, especially this summer, when players upended the usual power dynamics by forcing a flurry of trades and transformational free-agent signings.

Black people = slavery, something a racist is always going to bring up. 

The Timesman writes of player discontent at the system as it is, with some players not playing on the teams they prefer, as a sort of slave revolt:

But the storm of movement can also be seen as something more profound. Each elite player who bolted to a new team is black. Each had endured years with little control over his destiny. Each played for a team he was forced to join after the N.B.A. draft. Each, for long stretches, had been treated as a business asset, a cog in a machine who could be dumped or traded on a whim.

After that, he cites a bunch of academic bloviators to validate the absurd basketball teams–as-slavery scenario.

He also comments on white team-owners (of team organizations, not actual people) as little more than planters-hatted slave-owners, something even Jimmy the Greek idiotically suggested was a sort of affirmative action for whites. 

Four hundred years on, the sin of slavery continues to haunt. Its repercussions infect politics, art, education, every community, every last corner of American life. The N.B.A. — indeed, all of sports — is not immune.

Basically, it's a nonsense narrative, but now being propelled through the mass media.  As if multi-millionaire basketball players are now the slaves.

What's missing in his analysis is that unlike slaves, everyone is free to leave.  They can start their own basketball teams, with their own ownership, as some do and he describes them as doing, or they can walk away and retreat, Tom and Daisy Buchanan–style, into their money if they want.  No slave in the history of humankind has ever had that kind of privilege.

Basketball in fact is a capitalist enterprise, and capitalism means someone lays down money and takes a risk that a project is going to work or else loses the money.  Labor is the means to do it, and well paid labor ensures that the best performers stay for the ride.  The basketball system's free-agent system is an added goose to the labor market, ensuring that competition for labor drives up salaries to very high levels as team owners compete for talent.  If these people don't like this system, calling it slavery is a pretty absurd way of enacting change.  Not one of these people can be called a victim.

The Times, though, likes this narrative and now is promoting it.  It's not very different from the slave-oriented sentiment of Jimmy the Greek, except that now it's become respectable.  

Image credit: YouTube screen shot.