During the depressing Hawks brouhaha over the weekend, which is continuing as Hawks ownership penalizes GM Danny Ferry even while looking for a new majority owner, CNN had Steve Smith on to talk about the culture of hoops in Atlanta. That’s Steve Smith, the 6-7 sharpshooter who spent 13 seasons in the NBA — including five with the Hawks — and made the all-star team in 1998. Not, Stephen A. Smith, one half of the screaming heads on ESPN’s First Take crew.
CNN, in their infinite wisdom, couldn’t differentiate between the two Smith’s. First, CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield introduced Steve Smith as “ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.” Then, after Smith corrected her and CNN before answering her first question, they left a graphic up saying they had ESPN/Radio host Stephen A. Smith on the phone.
Only in the latter part of the interview did they take the Stephen A. Smith graphic away. Whitfield, to her credit, concluded the interview by correctly referring to him as Steve Smith of NBA.com where he’s a commentator and analyst. Despite finally fixing the error, it was poor form for the network, especially in light of what they were discussing.
In terms of what Smith said, we concur with his assessment that the Levenson email, and Danny Ferry’s racial denigration of Luol Deng were unacceptable, but that this is also way bigger than the NBA.
“This is a problem for our nation,” said Smith. “If you start to look at what’s transpired with Donald Sterling and what’s transpired now here with Bruce Levenson, it’s something that has to be taken very seriously.”
Anyone who believes the USA is a post-racial society need only look at the last half year in the NBA, to see they’re wrong. The NBA is the most progressive league — in terms of race relations — of the Big Four in America (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), but anachronistic and sometimes even antebellum attitudes about race still persist, often at the highest levels — ownership — which directly affects the employees and consumers.
This is a problem for our nation.
(video via arydigital)
What do you think?
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