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So we pulled this man in off a vacation after his birthday. Happy birthday to Bomani Jones, because if you've been listening to us for a while, you know that we respect him as a voice inside or outside of sports that resonates more than almost any on the subject of what's going on in America as it regards race. So our thanks to Bomani Jones for being with us. You could check him out at the right time with Bomani Jones. It's a podcast that will help you frame the issues of the day in a way that you have not heard, probably anywhere else, because consistently what you get from Bomani is different from what you're getting from most people.
So we bring him in to talk to him about everything that's going on in America. But let's start with what the NBA players did. What was your reaction to that? I hadn't talked to you about that.
I just don't feel like people are given enough credit to the Dallas Mavericks. Like, I understand that I think it was Wednesday that the Bucs decided that they did not want to play the game, and then everybody, you know, the games got postponed after that fact, but they late the Mavericks started this strike the night before when they went out there and got to be 50 by the Clippers.
Like we all keep talking about how we need allies out here in the game. Maybe the Mavericks went out there saying equality in five different languages and they do nothing. Right. They also broke up whatever in the world was going on. And they were like, no, we're not going to play. Like, they didn't take that next step and say that we don't like not play the whole game, but they damn sure didn't show up. And I just feel like we need to go over there and give them some props for the white man doing everything they can to help us out in this situation.
And nobody said a word about it at all.
I feel like it's inconsistent messaging, given what Luca did from the Black Lives Matter signed the game before.
Yeah, I'm just saying, like, when you when you really think about this man, Paul George, a friend of mine, made his point. Paul George going said he was going through some depression. He was going through all that. The Mavericks are like now, baby Black Lives Matter. They had him out here feeling much, much better after that all went out. I mean, and this is after apparently Montrezl Harrell dropped the most insulting thing on the basketball court, everybody anybody had ever heard in their lives.
But now the Mavs just kept all pushing. And then they're like, nah, we stand with y'all in this moment right here. Give them some credit. You've said you need white people to stand up behind black people to make these appointments. That's right.
Maxey Kluber. That's right.
All six of them.
But I know I know in our any of them American, they go import all their white dudes.
Well, I. JJ Barea is Puerto Rican. So now you're white. He's white.
They got white people in Puerto Rico, you know, like like. Yeah, yeah. Come on now. Know that when you go North-Eastern. Come on now if I showed you a picture that dude is anywhere in the northeast you'd want to be talking by up though. He Puerto Rico now. I'm white.
Now as for the larger NBA situation, I think that this is probably worked out. As best as it could for the players, whether they realize it or not, like I don't think that my observation on that is because they did something full of strategically not my first read when this happened was. When the but said that they were not going to play. I didn't think anybody else, quote unquote, needed to do anything right, like I think that for them this was a particularly local issue.
You know, this is their neck of the woods. And if they decided that this was too much for them to play, I thought that that made the point for everybody. Honestly, that was my first read when that happened. But then, of course, it did come down to an issue of is there for for it. And now the magic have to be like, OK, well, we're not going to play either because we're not accepting the win, which means that they need to hire to gut because the new got to magic damn sure would have been up there like, all right, cool series three, two.
And I'll be honest, the Bomani Magic might have done the exact same thing because what they do and don't really stand out as a revolutionary act unless they got something to lose, I would have given them something to lose, which was that game. But that was my thought. And then from there, it all trickled down. And that's when I realized that this was going on in a week where I don't know if I was detached necessarily, but I would really on top of things in ways that I've been.
And I I did not have a great handle on how this was resonating across the country and that this, for a lot of people, was very similar to George Floyd. It was a bit of a redux of that. And so this wasn't about Kenosha, Wisconsin, anymore. Like this became about America. And then the players just said, we're not going to play. And I think that was some combination of we don't feel like it and we don't have it in us right now, like the levels of exhaustion and emotion of everything else.
I think they just made the call that they were going to do that. And I do think that that was big. And I also think that it was necessary for there to be some level of fear that they might not come back like that. Level of fear that they might not come back is what can give them the leverage to be like, OK, now we can go talk to the rich folks and get rich folks to go do some of these Bitton and probably help us in doing this.
There needed to be that threat. However, it would not have been beneficial for them to leave the bubble. It would not have been beneficial for them to decide that they weren't going to play anymore. And from what we read about Jaylen Brown and what he hit, what he had to say in the meeting, he made the biggest point where he was just like, all right, so are you leaving here because you lonely, right? Are you going to leave and be in this?
You go leave and be in the streets, like, which one is it going to be? And that was a crucial point, because if the players had left the bubble in protest and then just gone home, that would work like like that was that would have been optically such a terrible thing for them on top of the ridiculous financial consequences that they would have suffered. So I think the way it went on Wednesday, you know, a combination of Wednesday through Friday is they made a big point, right?
They did it in effect without permission. They got everybody's attention. In fact, I think them leaving that game validated their decision in the first place to go into the bubble, because if they don't go into the bubble at all, then they can't withhold anything. Right. There's no moment like this if they don't go in the first place. And so I felt like as much people like see, this is proving to Kyrie was right. No, it's not.
No, it's not. Because going ahead was more important to give it the attention than anything else. And Kyrie was wrong about that point. And now that they're in, as we've seen, they've got more of an opportunity to bring attention to what is going on. Now, the other part of this, and I'm bad about figuring out the best way to do this because I don't want to seem performative in the matter. And this is basically the only time I talk about this league.
So it comes off a little weird. But, man, the the women of the WNBA about it, about it in a way that the dudes in any of these other sports are not. And it's not just to me their willingness to do things. It's how quick they move. Like when you look at that team that showed up in the shirt, the white shirts that spelled out Jacob Floyd with the holes in the back like deer, y'all came up with this and executed the idea in less than twenty four hours.
You know, like it's not just that they go hard, they go hard and they get it right every time that they do it. And I wish that the league had more visibility simply because they have demonstrated themselves to be more capable spokespeople on this matter than athletes in any other sport. And they are simply not visible enough because the sport not being as popular was to put them in positions for more people to hear them right. And for people to see them and be like, oh, this is a person that I need to hear.
That's the biggest drawback about the lack of visibility that that league happens to have of man. They are incredible.
Look at the difference between, you know, Pat Tillman and Maya Moore in terms of what they were trying to execute, how they executed it. And one of them just happened to be a man who played football that not a lot of people knew about. But you mentioned fear and the need for people to have fear that the season was going to end. And I feel like the critic is in a no lose position on this. The critic who doesn't watch any of this and says, well, if you leave, I wasn't watching anyway.
And now you've left for a couple of games. But as soon as the money was in jeopardy, you ran back in to the bubble. I don't you know, I you know, I don't agree with that. But it feels like the critic in this spot who's gratuitously critical can't lose because there's always a spot to to crush how the protest is. That's it's just a well versed effort at crushing the messenger, the message or the protest as opposed to listening to it.
Yeah, but the counterpoint is you can you can't say that a loser can never lose a can't lose because they lose this. Right.
Like like we said, we have to stop acting like these people matter. They are losers. Right. And we can't be worried about these losers any more than we absolutely have to. Right. Like if they want to come out here and consistently expose themselves as being losers, then that's fine. Now, one of these losers comes in a place where somebody that I have to acknowledge. Right, like it's somebody that I have to deal with, then, OK, cool, I'll go ahead and deal with them.
But the reason that those losers seem like they can never lose under these circumstances is they're never actually trying to win. They're not trying to play the game. No matter what anybody does, no matter what it is, the loser is always going to have an argument. In fact, if the protests, no matter what protests have to be, is very much so effective. Right. Like that makes things happen like we're talking about the losers are always going to be able to say that they would because they're going to say that the stuff was unnecessary in the first place.
Therefore, why are we even doing this? This is going to wind up being harmful and they're always waiting around the corner to offer their I told you so. And that's why we have to stop acknowledging the losers.
And on some level, we have to acknowledge that some of the people that, you know on these matters that people like me might think are on our side actually turn into losers when they get back around their friends.
But what do you make of of Michael Jordan's role, the role that he played in this entire thing?
I got to say, I have seen a headline that indicated that Michael Jordan help bridge the gap between the players and the owners. But I came off a vacation to do this. I didn't study. What did Michael Jordan do?
Michael Jordan got in the middle of the owners and the players kind of explained both sides to each and really helped, you know, help the players get to a level of comfort where they were said, I'm a black man first. Not a player, not an owner. I'm a black man first. How do we bridge this gap? Because the Lakers and the Clippers had voted to end the season. I actually think more money is the way they did.
This was the best way to do it. You brought yet more attention to it. You showed off your conviction and you didn't actually wreck the next collective bargaining agreement with an anger that would have echoed for a long time from people. Your customer base.
That's what it is. Now, let me run something by you about Michael Jordan that I think a lot of people don't really understand.
And this is very important to grasp about Jordan.
So Jordan grew up in a town called Wilmington, North Carolina. Wilmington, North Carolina is on the east coast of North Carolina. It is the last town on Interstate 40 going to the east. There's something that happened in Wilmington called well, it's been called many different times, but basically the Wilmington massacre of eighteen ninety eight in what you had in Wilmington was black folks won a lot of power in the elections that had transpired right around. So this is post reconstruction stuff.
All right. Black folks had that city, right? They were they were doing all right. It was a majority black city.
Fifty five percent black. Therefore, election with the elections, they could wind up winning it at eighteen ninety eight. There was a coup, a physical overthrow of the government from the local white folks to get the black folks out of power like it's a very Tulsa like situation that is not nearly as famous. But I bring that up to say that is where Michael Jordan is from.
So Mike has made a lot of calls over the course of time where he led with his money. Right. He decided that. I think there's a similarity between he and Clarence Thomas, and that's not to call Michael Jordan an Uncle Tom or to call Clarence Thomas an Uncle Tom just to be safe. But Clarence Thomas is not a dude who, like, loves white people. He's to do that, has a very low opinion of white people. But Clarence Thomas just happens to have a lower opinion of black people.
But he grew up under the staggering level of racism that he has no optimism whatsoever about white folks being any better than he believes that they are to begin with that. And I think that Michael Jordan is wired very similarly and made to call that all I can get from him is this money. That's the only thing I can get from him. Is this money, right? Like, never forget. I was very disappointed. Nobody ever achieve their way out of racism.
As somebody said, Michael Jordan and no Michael Jordan went to go run the Wizards and get himself an ownership share and try to get into the front row and into the big office in there about Michael Jordan down to play for two years, sold out to house, made all that money. And then when Mike was ready to go back to his job, a podium fired. All right. He got used to worn out just like everybody else. So I think that for a lot of people, they look at Michael Jordan as a dude who does not have a social conscience in that part might be true, but he is definitely a man that is very much so in touch with like his blackness and the idea of being a black man.
He ain't never been separated or divorced from that. So I can 100 percent see him being the guy in the room that is saying with players like, look, man, no, I see where you guys are coming from and being the person that could kind of bring this together. The other part of this is I think Mike is also savvy enough to recognize that the money was also in being on the player side enamel. Right.
I think you've got to you got to serve all facets of himself in that moment. And by the way, the money, it would be silly for them to shut this whole thing down. Everybody would lose if they shut this whole thing down, they'd be like just to say you did it.
But but but that's why, though that's why I didn't think they could take it out to that extreme. But I thought we were headed there, at least in part because of the juxtaposition of what happened in Wisconsin. It wasn't just seven times in the back, you know, unarmed black man. Again, we have the video in front of the loved loved ones. But it was also a 17 year old with a giant gun walking across state lines to protect property, shooting two people, getting water from the police officers, and then the police officers drive right past them.
All of this happened at the same time when the Milwaukee Bucks are like, OK, we're out of here.
Yeah, it had I think it had to cool down a little bit. Right. Like, I absolutely believe that. But also, let us be honest about who NBA players have around them, who advises them, you know, who does all these things.
I imagine that there are a whole lot of phone calls that these guys got from agents, managers, everybody else. That's like. Look, man, I mean, I can't put myself in your shoes, I can't tell you how to feel. I just want to give you all the information owners, owners to owners to right.
That's how owners have to be going into this. But the owners can't be the ones to call the players in these times. The owners call the agents and be like, hey, talk to your guy. All right, look, look, look, look, look, look. I say it's all bad out on the streets, whatever, but you got to talk to your guy and then the Asia comes and plays good cop like, look, guys, I mean, I, I, I don't feel the same way you feel.
Right. But I feel how you feel. It just broke my heart watching that on television. But it's my responsibility to tell you that there are a lot of consequences from what the consequences would be and reinforce Chris Paul, Michelle Roberts and all of them.
They're also there to reinforce the consequences. And the question would have come down to what would you have gained in exchange for setting the league on fire? All right. And if they wouldn't have gained anything, then that weren't going to happen, like people always make the argument about. Right. And the whole idea of your burning down your own neighborhood. No, not true. It ain't our neighborhood. We just live here. Right. If people's names ain't on the deeds of that stuff, it ain't theirs.
They just happen to be the residents, OK? You can make a similar argument about the league if you want it to, that it's not really your league except the league is far more invested in players than those neighborhoods are invested in the people who happen to live in them. So for the players to set fire to their own league that so much of what they're capable of doing and the platform and the influence that they have is a byproduct of being in that league.
They could not just sit that league on fire.
They were they were they were angry enough to do it, though, on that first day. They you know, they voted basically the Lakers and Clippers that the anger and the pain actually gave way to rational, smart business decisions because of what you're talking about, the setting fire to, you know, their partners in that league.
Yeah, but I'll tell you, it is the Lakers and the Clippers wanted to do that. It don't sound like everybody else wanted to do that. Right.
Is that like, you know, people would try to explain it in a big huff, apparently at the meeting where what LeBron and holes in the Lakers and the Clippers walked out of the room and all of this stuff. And I guess, like, look, I don't. I will say this about LeBron. OK. I don't know what his intentions are, I don't know what game he is or is not playing, I want to be clear, I can't say what he is is not doing.
But I will say this if I'm LeBron and I know that ultimately everybody else is going to vote to play. It's a pretty good wow, wow, say that you're not going now, that's a very good point. I love that. But here's what here's what this is all I'm saying it is I'm not throwing shade it again. I don't know what you are, but.
No, no, but that makes sense. That's playing chess. It's the same thing. It's Michael Jordan doing the right thing, but also knowing where all the angles are because the angles there's no way that LeBron was going to be the person to lead him into that damn bubble and then beat a person to lead them out that way. Go ahead. You think he was going to look at Chris Paul and say, hey, head of the union, we're out of here.
No chance, no chance that that was going to happen. Now, what possible. No way. And by the way, no way that LeBron would do that if the troops were divided, like LeBron would go have a look like I took half the league with me and half the league state. Like, I just don't think that he's going to wind up doing that. I think he may be really, really wanted to leave. Right. Like, I don't think he would be he would be dishonest in voting that we are going to leave.
Like, I don't think it would be that, but I don't think there's any way in the world that if the majority was saying we go leave, then LeBron would be like, all right, and let's go. You think Alex Caruso voted to leave, by the way?
Let's talk a little bit about voter suppression, because LeBron is doing meaningful things, he's actually doing actionable items that are pretty substantive, putting his money behind, like, for example, getting people to vote. What do you know or what can you teach us about voter suppression and what it is that LeBron is doing? You know, specifically because the black community has been plagued by things less obvious than what has been happening lately, which is you've got mailboxes disappearing and a, you know, commander in chief interfering with the postal system.
All right. So I want you to think about this with voter suppression. And it goes back to what I just talked about with Wilmington. Right. I told you that town of Wilmington was fifty five percent black. That means black people are going to win elections under those circumstances, you saw what happened when the black people then won the elections. You saw the same thing as reconstruction in America. It is the same thing, right? The of the reason that Southern racism looks different than racism in other places is because the South has more black people.
Right. So Mississippi, you got to keep in mind, Mississippi, well into the 20th century, was a majority black. So if you ask the question, why is it that the stories you hear about Mississippi and what we say about Mississippi sound so much more violent and everything else than everywhere else? It was the threat was of a different nature. South Carolina was also majority black. I think Louisiana may have been majority black at that point. And these are the places that you think of as having the strongest levels of racism in America.
Are those right? And it's because of the nature of the actual threat of how many black people there are in those places. Right. So think about something. We talk about South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. I'm leaving now at Texas to Texas. Kind of discount also in this. Even though Texas isn't as black as these other places, we think of them as being red states.
Right. Black people overwhelmingly vote Democrat, right, like over 90 percent black people vote for the Democratic Party. All right. State of Georgia, for example, is 30 percent black. All right.
So we'll call it at 30 percent black, which means that if 90 percent of them are voting for a Democrat, then that right there is twenty seven percent of the vote in Georgia that goes to the Democrats. Do you realize how many white people have to just be voting against black people for it to always be a Republican governor, always be Republican senators, all of those things? You see what I mean just by the sheer math of it, it has to be all these white people on the other side.
And just for good measure, because George is going a little bit purple now, right there, getting a little bit more of the modern suburban white voter now, as opposed to the suburban voter who went there to run away from black people in cities like you. Start now starting to get a bit more of a liberal crowd that shows up into town or whatever. And that's how you start having some different questions about how the races are going to go in Georgia.
But the point that I make here is. Keeping black people out of power. Is really hard to do in places where it's a lot of black people, so then how do you do it? You just make it so that they can't vote. And so up until nineteen sixty five, these places just really had to set up where you couldn't vote at all. And that's how white people then managed to keep out power. You get Voting Rights Act of the Voting Rights Act of nineteen sixty five.
Now all of a sudden for the first time America is a democracy. Right. Always keep that in mind. The United States has only been a democracy for fifty five years, did not happen until then. And it's debatable whether it is right now because they gutted the Voting Rights Act. What was it like eight years ago or something like that? So, so much is done in so many ways at so many steps to stop black people from having a role in participating in the electoral process.
And not just black people, by the way. Right. So the Voting Rights Act in nineteen sixty five.
The big thing that happened was I forget what article of it was rescinded by the Supreme Court, but the article was rescinded and what it took away was something called preclearance, where if you had had a bad track record as state and how you were handling your voting with regards to race, if you were going to make any changes to the voting process, you had to run it by the federal government and then the federal government could decide what to do. That basically applied to the entirety of the South, but to other states that I'm aware of.
Arizona. And Alaska. Both states with very high proportions of non-white voters, and so the reason why this is so annoying when everybody says if you've got a problem with this, why don't you just go vote the white man? Bindon thought of that one man.
Right. There's always been a plan in action to prevent that from happening. You saw what happened in Georgia in the governor's race a couple of years ago. And so. I wrote a piece for Vanity Fair that went up this week and the point that one of the big points that I was trying to make to people need to understand is all these things that college athletes are fighting for are basic, is hip. Right. Like, every time we talk about how momentous the civil rights movement was, all they were asking for is stuff in the Constitution, things that legally we are already supposed to be able to do.
And that's what Labrada, which is voter suppression stuff comes up, is just let us vote. Right. Like and what the larger masses have kept saying in return.
Is. We want elections, we can win, we're not looking for fair and square elections like they're not approaching this from the idea that we need to have an electoral process that upholds the democratic ideal, because long term, that's what's better for everybody. No, they just want elections that they can win. There's a reason that only one party in this country encourages people to vote and one party has done everything it can to stop people from voting. And it's because the party that stops people voting thinks that's how they're going to win.
I'm not making this up. They've said it out loud, has been declared in Supreme Court decisions. And so that's where LeBron is coming from on this. And that's where the importance is, is that there are so many people that our electoral process intentionally tries to make it impossible for them to vote. And that is what takes away a significant level of power from people. It's not just like angry mobs, but the actual laws in the people who applied them.
Why do you think enough people don't understand that? It's not that the system doesn't work, it's that the system works too well, that the system is designed to do these things. Why do you think there's that disconnect where people don't understand that it's not the system that's broken, it's that the values that made the system made it work very well in order to suppress black and brown people?
Because if you've been raised to believe that the system that you grow up is the shining beacon that everybody seeks and people move them all around the world to get here to be part of that beacon, you know?
And so if you come to believe this, you're going to fight, uphold the ideal because the ideal becomes a part of you.
You know, the ideal becomes a part of yourself concept.
One thing that most people in this country can say about themselves with a measure of pride is that they are Americans. And why why are you proud of being an American when it comes into all these other things?
And so I think it's just really, really hard for people to believe. That things are the way they are and they are set up in the ways that they are. I just I don't think a lot of them are able to grasp it. Like I made the point once about this only being a democracy. Since nineteen sixty five, like I read that in a paper in grad school and it was stunning. I remember when I saw that and as I remember seeing how many people were just like, wow, you know, I never thought of that.
And those are people who I think ideologically believe themselves to be aligned with me on these matters by even the people who think this needs to be tweaked. I have no idea like how messed up a lot of things are because who's telling you this? Like, where are you going to go to find this out? Nobody seeking out.
Well, the history books explain that to me. Where was the first time that you picked up a book and were like, wait a minute, the school history books, they're whitewashed. These these stories some of these stories aren't true. Do you remember where it dawned on you that, wait a minute, I'm not getting I'm getting a sanitized version of America. I'm not getting an authentic warts and all version of American my history books?
Well, I don't know if there's any individual moment because I had two parents I had, you know what I mean? So I was always aware, like I explain to people, I think I told the story. It is it is interview GQ did with me once I went to a couple of schools in Atlanta before we move to Texas. Well, it was called the Freedom Institute. It it was called Atlanta Progress Academy. And I could show you a picture of Freedom Institute of us all in dashikis standing up against the wall with Africa painted on it.
Right. Like a picture of the motherland painted on the wall. Right. Like I was coming from a different place. I remember I felt about, oh, like composition books go at the parents house. And I wrote a one page thing about Martin Luther King's life. And I went through and I talked about him. And then the last sentence was and then to Captain the Shadow.
I couldn't have been more than six years old, more than six years old. Right. So I'm not necessarily the best gauge on this, but I will tell you, it is when I was in fourth grade, I went to school in a little town called Wilder, Texas, and.
We were at a chapter about Lee Indo plantation a couple of towns away, a little town called Hempstead that was a pretty big plantation near the end of Plantation. And we focused a lot in our class in fourth grade on Lindow Plantation and the various owners of Lindale Plantation who had been there because we weren't really talking too much about slavery. Right. But we were talking about Lindow Plantation. I remember the teacher who I recall being a fairly liberal lady, you know, and all this stuff.
And, you know, we're really everybody's really into this plantation.
And it was the giftee class. I was the only black person in the class. And I remember at eight years old, sitting in there just being like the plantation.
Right. I like I said, but I feel like where they had slaves, where it was.
And I'll just I'll never forget this for the library.
The teachers, like I've got news like this, she's like, we're going to Lindow Plantation and the whole clan you would've thought we would have to buy and everything else, like would go to a place that was going to be out there and play games and stuff like that. And he said he was taking us to Astral World we wanted to hit. It was like it was like Disney World. Like because that's going to Disney World. Yeah. And I was like, oh, OK.
We we can't get a little different. Oh, wow. You know, and I rode with it because I'm like eight years old.
I don't know what I'm supposed to do here. Oh yeah.
I'm always I guess I've always gotten to a degree that they were going to be limitations. See, one thing my parents did with me and I really recommend this in particular to black people, would probably be good for white people, too.
But I really recommend to black people and I don't really know how much of this stuff there is right now because like kind of in for lack of a better term, the culture, you don't see this so much anymore.
Now, you think about this like publicly, like, you know, I guess you only person here forever. So business like Public Enemy was hot, right? Yeah, like Public Enemy, you ex clan or whatever. That was that was still street culture, right, like Public Enemy was still a group that spoke from the streets, they were still speaking the language of the streets that was still boots on the ground kind of stuff. It was very much so tied to an awareness of like the radicals of the 1960s.
Right. But it was still like a very street level sort of thing. And so at that time, like the emphasis on Africa in those ways was still there and still remain. You don't really have that so much now at this point in those days outside of Harlem, USA, where where where the African stuff, they still always going strong. You're right. But you don't see that so much. But in the 80s, you had a lot more that that was like more palpable, more like right there tangible for people, not just like the quote unquote hot tips that we ridicule on the Internet.
So but I mention that because what my parents had for me and I remember like we moved to Houston, they were real concerned. We moved to Houston. We're moving away from black people by and large when we did that. And I was going to school with, like, lots of white people and so how to retain identity and stuff like that. And I remember especially during the summers, we'd always find ourselves going to places where there were talkers, sweet talkers, speakers are like African history.
And so the basis for me of black people was never from this position of inferiority or whatever that comes from the school books. It was always from the position of this is where we started. This is who we were. These are the things that we have done. I have never had to shake off myself. The idea of black is being lesser because my point of origin was never that of black being lesser. And that's where people wind up losing is that if you do not start as a black person again, I think this applies to everybody else in terms of the way they talk about black people.
If you do not start from a position of blackness that precedes slavery or is just not simply slavery, if you do not start from a position of understanding the magnitude and majesty of the things the African people have done in this world for centuries and centuries and centuries, you will never have a chance because so much work has been done by so many people in so many places to minimize the idea that we ever did anything good.
Look, man, you got people that try to act like white folks, build pyramids, anything to make it seem like we ain't done nothing.
Bomani, I wanted to ask you here and you talk about Wilmington, North Carolina. I wanted to ask you about what's going on in Asheville regarding reparations and the sort of modern twist on reparations, investing in black owned businesses, giving them prized real estate. What do you make of that? And is a sustainable nationwide potentially?
I mean, it's sustainable as white folks let it be, right? Because, again, you talk about talking about Wilmington. What else is fair and square?
People came and burned everything down. Right.
I think on reparations is my adviser and one of my more most trusted mentors. Sandy Darity is a professor at Duke. He was my advisor at North Carolina. And while I was in school there, I took a class from him at Duke called The Economics of Reparations. And this is the big point that I make about reparations for everybody to have.
And this is the thing that I don't think that people realize. Basically, everybody has gotten reparations but us. Like when you go through it and look through American history, lots of reparations have been paid out, the idea of paying reparations in principle is not one that this country is opposed to. It's the idea of paying reparations to us. Right. Reparations paid to the Japanese for the internment camps. There have been measures of reparations that have been paid to Native Americans.
But you can go up and down the board. They just don't want to give it to us. That's the question of why people need to answer for themselves about their opposition to reparations is why is it only us now? I think part of why it's us is damn well that debt is so damn high that they just don't want to pay it. Like we're literally talking about trillions of dollars. Like if you were to really do the math on the losses that have been suffered, not just because of slavery, but then because of housing discrimination and everything else that has happened, we are talking about over a trillion dollars that would be old black people in order to account for that and ask people like, oh, wait a minute, my friend, my family didn't do anything.
You know, they start spinning it around. So any notion of reparations I am generally for and I think saying given prime real estate and stuff like that, I think that's cool. I still think that comes up short of like what the actual debt is. You know, like if you really unquantifiable debt, like I mean, I've seen people do the numbers right before a quantifiable debt. It still comes up short. But I think there's something to be said for the fact that people are at least opening themselves up to the idea of what it is.
Roy, what do you have for Bomani but money?
The National Hockey League has been consistently falling behind on issues regarding racial justice.
And on Wednesday, while everybody was boycotting and everybody was striking and games were being postponed, they had a quote unquote, moment of reflection, which basically is seven seconds of doing nothing. And then the day after the Hockey Diversity Alliance decided, hey, let's get the players together and let's boycott. And the fact that there's a hockey diversity alliance shows you an entirely different story. So what can the National Hockey League do to actually catch up to the other sports when it comes to racial diversity and racial justice?
Yeah, I am fascinated by the NHL in this situation.
By the way, like one hundred percent fascinated because. They think their fans are racist, right? Like like the like the other leagues have kind of had this like the NFL, I feel like it's like a little tinge of that. But the NHL doesn't have to consider at all, at least in their minds, that black people are even watching this. Right. They are just like, yo, how'd you like the way they look at it? We don't have anything to gain from this.
Right. Like, all we stand to do is lose people. I'll just never forget when the islanders put out this statement and everybody put out their Black Lives Matter statement and Alyda put out a statement and the last thing they said and that was, by the way, shout out to the police. Right. You know why? Because the police buys tickets to hockey games. You guys. You know what I'm talking about. I do. Yes, I do.
Right. Like the St. Louis baseball, you've still got wheelhouse in this conversation. Islander's hockey look at the St. Louis Blues and the St. Louis Cardinals put out a joint statement with this all happened and we know how St. Louis gets down. Right. They both put out a shout out to the police in their Black Lives Matter situation. And that's telling me these people are they believe that their base is racist in such a way that they're going to offend them by saying that they stand up for dignity on behalf of like six dudes who like to think of how many black dudes we got in the league.
We go we go set all the money on fire the way NASCAR is doing it with one black dude. I know. That's what I'm saying. I'm fascinated by the positions they're in. But see, NASCAR was in a different place, though, because the hockey people don't have that flag. Right, like hockey doesn't. Hockey has to fight off the idea that it's really white. NASCAR had to fight off the idea that it is antagonistic toward black people.
And so for hockey, they just what they have to do is they got to stay true. And what they and whatever it is they go and do, the big thing they have to do is they got to stand tall on it. Right. And just be like this is a matter of decency. They're also in an interesting place because they are a Canadian league. And that's very easy for us to forget because all the teams are in the United States.
But the NHL is a Canadian league. They're coming at this from a different place. And yes, in Toronto, you could have all the people that are there to watch the Raptors. And that looks like this very left leaning sort of situation. But Toronto is just like all these other cities where the hockey fans of the basketball fans are always in a war that the basketball fans never got invited to never ask to participate in. But the hockey fans are always on the opposite side, right?
So the people in charge just have to, a, understand that this is about, for lack of a better term, branding, you know what I mean? Like this decency level there. But number two, this is the part that hockey has to, like, really come to terms with. Right. And I'm make a little bit of a convoluted example, but I think you'll get where I'm coming from.
There are a lot of people who believe that Long Island's own Jim Brown is the greatest lacrosse player of all time. Right. You guys, I come to understand that you out here coaching lacrosse and probably taking illicit under the table payments that they tried to scam Jim Brown.
I actually had business meetings with Jim Brown trying to get his name on some lacrosse stuff in the inner city.
Wait, you're serious? Yes, yes. Yes. Really happened. We have we have to talk about this on another day. But we shall, Jim.
But Jim Brown was really good. The. All right. So let's think about this. People, right or wrong, generally believe that black people are better at the running football stuff and stuff in football that requires you to do running. We generally believe that black people are better at it than white people, right or wrong. That's what most people believe. And that's the reason why it's also black, because people don't think the white people are capable of doing this.
If you think black people are better at playing football, still got eight lacrosse, just a whole bunch of like football running type stuff, there are very there are a lot of similarities between the two.
Why do you think he was why he was working with Jim Brown? He was close to getting scholarships for like he was very close to making it a substantive business that actually helped a community of people we were going to bring about.
We were going to break Jim Brown into inner cities and try to create interest in the cross, a great scholarship opportunities for inner city kids, by the way, that would work.
But the reason that I bring that up is. Why don't black people play lacrosse if people think that the stuff involved in playing the cross is that the black people are better at doing is good, white folks want to have something to themselves like.
We got to leave some games to play. Like if you subscribe to this logic, then that's the lot, the natural extension. And unlike, say, you got the rest of the lacrosse world is not actively trying to find the best lacrosse players that everybody could play football. Right. If they were actively trying to find the best lacrosse players, lacrosse would be a lot blacker, because the only reason that black people are not playing lacrosse is people aren't really bringing lacrosse to black people.
Now, like we would play lacrosse in the mid Atlantic. Right. Like around Virginia, Maryland, D.C., like in that stretch. And in Long Island. Right. Like places where lacrosse is a thing, you'll get some numbers of black people playing. We have no cultural aversion to lacrosse is the same thing with hockey. I did an interview once with a cane and he used to be the radio voice of the Carolina Hurricanes. And he was like, American hockey will take a jump when they start going into the inner city to get players.
It was something I had never considered. If you offer black people an opportunity to get out here and play hockey, put some money on some skates, put some money on some sticks, what kid doesn't want to skate and fight? Right. Like who doesn't want to do this?
And hockey, if they really want to show that they care, try to get some black people to play your game, because I'm telling you, people are looking for a ticket out anywhere. Like if you're black and you play in hockey, let's say you're black dude in whatever neighborhood you could be, South Side, Chicago, whatever it is, let you be the hockey star. Are we going to be out there right behind you because you are the hockey star.
We hang over just that. What we do we're not going to reject you would be like you turned your back on us. It going to be like, yo. So that's how you're going to get out.
They got more money.
They tried that in Harlem. There was a black team in Harlem. But that sport is so expensive that black parents can't really afford to play high for the kids to play hockey. But that's the thing.
This. When you haven't heard anybody have to spend money on a football stuff. My football, a cheap shoulder pads, they cost money, cleats. They cost money pads. They cost money, medical care that cost money. Somebody always finds a way to pay for it. Right. Like at these leagues really wanted this to happen. They could just spend the money.
And I'm telling you, imagine the boom that American hockey would have if they just started reaching out to black people in order to play. Now we have some unwritten rules. Try to figure this out. Not necessarily sure how we feel about white folks. And black folks have fist fights on television all the time. It could become very divisive as a matter of speaking. Actually, they get rid of white in the black.
You want how you want white, not hockey black people to listen to Stephen Jackson Hockey out. There will be no more fight.
We've got a couple of more things here before we get you out of here, the Vanity Fair piece that you did. We can finally talk about it. Why was it so meaningful for you to do? And what is it that you want people to take from what it is you've written for? Vanity Fair in an issue guest edited by Tallahasse Coates, a hero of yours?
Yes, I must say, I mean, just imagine that you are like at the Y or whatever it is you come to the court.
And I mean, I don't know, Joy, Dwayne Wade, whoever it is, that's, you know, that's the guy for you is on the floor and it's like. Oh, OK, so I got to put together a team right fast and you try to run. What I like, like, like, are you serious, like you're asking me if I'm trying to run and I've never written for publication of that magnitude before. I never have.
And so. To sit down and I do four thousand words in that space on that topic, which just for me was just kind of bananas.
Well, they don't know the topic yet. I don't think they know what the topic is. So tell them why. Writing about what you wrote about you chose that yourself.
Yeah, I chose. So I think I can talk about this part. The initial plan was that I was going to try to get an interview with Roger Goodell because my thinking was that at this time, this would be a great interview for Roger to do and this would be the kind of audience that he cares about or whatever. But the NFL never got back to me on that. And, well, he did what with Emmanuel Acho, so he got it out there, I know say, on that one.
But I know yours would have been more challenging. Yeah, I think so.
But that didn't go. And then I was just like, OK, I have long felt like smart talk about smart decision by Goodell to go the route that he did, by the way.
Yeah, probably. Probably, yeah. But the thing that hit me was I had written some very briefly on Martin Luther King Day a few years ago where they want ESPN wanted me to write something in the spirit of the holiday or whatever it was. And what I wrote was that college athletics was the civil rights issue of the day in sports, that we needed to appreciate the vulnerability that those young men are dealing with, just generally what the circumstances are and of course, the unpaid element.
Right, that they they need us collectively like they need us. And so I never really was like nine years ago now, but I never really put that idea on wrote. And so I say, look, I want to write something about college athletics as a civil rights issue of our time, and I looked at what was going on at the time I was writing it because the lead TIME magazine piece is is way, far out, like you see some on the Internet.
Chances are it was written as like about the Internet is like when you go to a beach town and the fish on your plate was caught that morning. Right. Like, that's kind of what it is. Wired magazine, they had to put that thing in a freezer, you know. And so after I had written this stuff that was all about like the players that were asking for names of buildings to be changed on campuses and what happened with Mike Gundy, with the t shirt, with Shoeb, Hubbard and all of that stuff, I'd gotten all of that.
And then after that, the whole actual revolution started. Right. But there's nothing we could do at this point, like the lead tab wasn't enough. So I was nervous that what I wrote was not going to I was nervous to go stand up in the face of all the new things that it wound up happening. And luckily it did, because the major point that I tried to make in it was these dudes aren't even asking for a lot and we are fooling ourselves and deluding ourselves into talking about these guys are realizing what their power is.
They don't have any power whatsoever. And if you keep talking about what the power is that they have you never going to. Correct. Correct. Excuse me. The circumstances that keep them powerless, you can say, oh, man, they got all social media and it may just happen.
Yeah, OK. But you think if they actually had power that they wouldn't be making no money. Right?
You think that you think of these guys really, really had the power that you claim they had that they would exist under the circumstances that they exist and they don't have any power at all.
And I didn't explicitly say it in the piece, but I really want stuff like that to be a call to arms to my colleagues to recognize that it is shameful that we carry the water of the power structure in this circumstance when we know that these are young men, we know the circumstances that many of them, though not all, come from. And by the way, the ones that come from nice neighborhoods shouldn't be treated like this either. Like we know all of these things and we still carry the water for the man every single time.
And that's pathetic. You know, like, I don't think I think I can responsibly do my job. And still, I don't know if advocates the right way to put it, but I'm very concerned about what happens to college athletes. And it disappoints me that the other people in my line of work or not.
Bo, I often wonder, usually it's after conversations with you and I think Chris probably feels the same way. What is it like? Because I would like to feel like this for just one second of my life and I have a feeling I never will. What does it feel like to be this smart and this informed?
What's it feel like? Is there a book I can read? What do we do, like seven minutes or less? Explain.
Please just help me, Bomani. Help me.
And fortunately, you'll have to get a book called Why Didn't I Have Different Parents? I that's that's that's unfortunately the direction that, if you like, going to have to wind up in journalism.
I'm good with blaming other people, so I'll just play mom and dad. I'm fine with that.
I parent my daughter, like what do I do to her now?
And a couple of years, like how do I make my daughter can you explain in one and a half times speed give her other parents.
Actually, I got to tell you something. This is a this is a big point, Chris, that you might want to keep in mind here, where I had a we had a friend of my parents had a friend when I was growing up and they had a son and my brother was not necessarily that fond. That was father. But they were reasons to have questions about that. Right. Like he you know, those people who become better people was they have kids because they got to bring it all together.
Right. Like he was one of those times. And I was talking about brother about it. I was like and I was like twelve. And I was like, yeah, well, you know, it's good that my man is, you know, there with his son, you know, just being there. And my brother said I should have in him is better than having no daddy at all.
He's all right. I say that. I say that to say, Chris, that the best thing for you might be to move Chris.
You might want to, but just write on a piece of paper and then the capitalist shot him or something, because that's what that's what my mommy was doing at six years old. Beau, thank you for the time, sir. Check out both the right time with Bomani Jones. It's a podcast you need to have in your life if you want to understand the things going on in America and also if you want to do some reading. The vanity, the Vanity Fair piece is really good.
Stuart and Chris will not be doing such reading, but thank you both for being on with us. We appreciate the time.
Good stuff, guys. You can move to. I know that might be a little too late for those girls, but you know, it's too late, Bob.
I mean, do you want to move in? I mean, how about that?