It’s the year 2014, and this type of behavior is inexcusable. When Tristan Thompson kissed Cavaliers sideline reporter Allie Clifton on Friday night, it marked a huge lapse in judgement and a dunderheaded ignorance of women’s rights in this country.
Thompson had a good game on Friday night with 17 points (6-of-8 shooting) and 11 rebounds in under 30 minutes of action when the Cavs lost to the Mavs 107-102. Allie Clifton didn’t have as much fun as Thompson because she had to interview him for her job.
After calling her “Tina,” with a wink, Thompson leaned in to kiss Clifton on the side of head when the interview had finished. Clifton, ever the pro, barely missed a beat, but that’s still no excuse for the sexist display from Thompson.
Listen, some of you are going to poo-poo this as an overreaction, primarily because Clifton handled it with so much grace. But men should never kiss a woman without their permission and they certainly shouldn’t kiss a woman when she’s just trying to do her job.
People forget that less than 100 years ago women didn’t have the right to vote. Universal suffrage for men and women of all races only truly came into being after the passage of the 19th amendment in 1919. Since then, society has slowly opened up more doors for women, like Clifton, to excel in jobs and positions men traditionally hold. In sports, particularly, it’s still a male-dominated world, one Clifton has had to navigate on her way to her present position.
Even after all that progress, all it takes is one awkward smooch by Tristan to remind everyone we’re not quite past the anachronistic chauvinism on display last century. Since the ill-fated kiss, people have turned the 23-year-old Thompson into a meme and made light of his foolhardy exchange. The act was piggishness, pure and simple, and the NBA should suspend him, or — at the very least — fine him for his behavior. Allie Clifton isn’t a plaything, she’s a sideline reporter trying to do her job.
We hope Lance Stephenson blows in Thompson’s ear and kisses him on the side of his head when he’s trying to do his job. We hope the NBA acts to fine or suspend Thompson even though it’s a preseason game and Clifton handled it like the pro. That’s because she is a pro. The kiss was workplace harassment pure and simple, so hopefully the NBA takes a firm stand next week, so we never have to witness something like this again.
(video via @cjzero)
Should the NBA fine or suspend Tristan Thompson?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.