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Montrezl Harrell Should Be Suspended For Calling Luka Doncic A “Bitch Ass White Boy”

LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell and Dallas Mavericks Slovenian star Luka Doncic got into a scuffle last night that ended with Harrell calling Doncic a “bitch ass white boy.” The exchange went viral last night. If you didn’t see it, here it is:

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. 

Period.  

The NBA’s ratings are tanking, at least in some part, because much of America doesn’t consider the NBA players, who make hundreds of millions of dollars a year, to be victims. Black NBA players have free rein to not only be upset about the impact of racism’s long shadow in our country, but also to simultaneously act in ways they wouldn’t accept from other races, citing the fact that they are racism’s victims as a defensive shield.

Harrell’s comments calling Luka a “bitch ass white boy,” will be defended by many who claim to care about social justice. Yet if Luka had called Harrell a “bitch ass black boy,” almost no one would defend those comments. That discrepancy isn’t healthy for our country or the NBA. We need to work towards common standards for all, regardless of race. If Luka’s comments would be unacceptable and greeted with a suspension then so should Harrell’s. (The irony here, by the way, is that Harrell is the far weaker player. If anyone’s the bitch in this battle of basketball combatants, it’s Montrezl).

No one’s here to argue we should hit our black community with Will Smith’s memory-erasing device from “Men In Black.” We can’t erase or forget the past, but we have to attempt to apply even standards to all in sports, our nation’s best example of fairness and equality among the races, in order to grow as a nation. 

Otherwise we risk remaining perpetually lost in the past. Race relations have became so polarizing in the United States that we have many in the black and white communities believing anger will heal this country. Doubling down on anger to heal our racial sins is ultimately self defeating, however, because it prolongs our racial discord. 

In my opinion, the best way to move this country forward is to discuss how we can improve things for all people, instead of bickering over what we’re all owed. Hatred won’t open the eyes of our white community, they’ll shut the game off. And our black community won’t ultimately win by being able to hurl racial insults at white players, we all lose instead. 

If Luka screamed a hateful message rooted in race to Harrell would the black community lend an ounce of defense for him? Not a chance. So we shouldn’t do it for Harrell either. We all need to try and treat everyone equally, not setting up a scoreboard of acceptable sports behavior based on the race of the speaker.

If the NBA wants to truly live up to the ideals they espouse on their jersey messages and open the eyes of all sports fans to true equality both on and off court, there’s only one result that makes sense: suspend Montezl Harrell and send the same message to him that they would have to Luka.

Equality can’t just be a slogan in the NBA, it has to be a promise too. 

42 Comments

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  1. What he said IS racist, but he likely won’t be disciplined because this type of racism against white males is condoned and accepted. I watched LeBatard say on Highly Questionable yesterday that the word Thom Brennaman used came out like he used it all the time (which is such crap BTW). I wonder if he will say the same thing about this incident because it sure looked like Montrezl meant exactly what he said. It also looked like a phrase he says often.

  2. Gary, strongly written piece. The only thing I believe will drive some discipline for this is who the black player that said it is as it relates to his standing in the league? Who is this racist cat? I don’t consume the NBA, I’m not wanted but if someone like oh, I don’t know um LeBron threw that out how harsh would the penalty be. A bumbling locker room remorseful in name only few words would clear him. Getting the Jewish Money post, making some dated Latino Speedy Gonzalez sound on taco Tuesdays didn’t matter neither would this. If Luka said something comparable the plantation master, Silver would bring the heat. If Luke dropped the N word he would probably already be dead.

  3. This will be treated like “Free Hong Kong”. Silver will look the other way knowing the liberals will not blow up social media about the racism in the NBA. Throw Mark Cuban in the mix as well since all your players have Equality on their jersey. What a racist and hypocritical league!!!

  4. At the end of the day, Montrezl Harrell is Montrezl Harrell, and Luka Doncic is Luka Doncic. The former will NEVER be the latter. And Harrell has to live with the fact that he is calling someone else a bitch who could drop 50 on his ass on any given night.

  5. What does Montrezl have on his jersey? White people blow. Seriously you want some warmly served equality kick this racist to the curb yesterday. Like my earlier post on this he may get slapped a bit because as near as I can tell he is a nobody. Without watching (I do know several NBA players names, but I don’t watch because I’m light complected and extremely racist apparently) I’ve never heard of him and his first name is unique so if there was some game to his game I’m thinking I would know who he is.

  6. I grew up playing basketball in and around the projects. I have been called every derogatory name white people can be called. It just fuels me to be better than the idiots that called me names. Most of the time I was because typically it was only insecure dudes that I was better than who called me the names in the first place. Just like with Harrell and Doncic. Doncic will be an all time best, who is Harrell? At any rate, its the NBA so if you didn’t report this I would have never even known about this event.

  7. The NBA is just like the rest of liberals in America, they think racism can only be a one way street. Take it from a guy who played high school & college basketball, it is a two way street. I had racist comments hurled my way almost every time I was on the court simply because I dared to be white & play basketball.

  8. I think the officiating (both on the court and at the executive level) in this one will have to be looked into at some point. Every game there has been controversy (KP ejection, Luka fouls, Montrezl) that has gone in the Clips’ favor. As well, there has been an overall permissibility of physicality (specifically towards Luka) that has not been seen since the ’80s. Again, Mark Cuban gets screwed by the NBA…on the other hand, he deserves every bit of it.

  9. If the NBA does (or says) nothing what it will show is everything you already know. This respect racial identity only goes to a certain point. That being you are on your own light complected. A complete nobody (with apologies to the nobodies of the world) spouts this and nothing is said. You could ban this guy and would anyone care?. I don’t advocate, but nothing? Let Luke drop the N word on a player and his box is being carried overhead thru the streets of his homeland because he literally would be killed.

  10. Gary,
    Very thoughtful perspective you share at the end. I’m with you, brother. Let’s do that instead. Everyone is created in God’s image, which gives everyone the same inherent dignity and value. Let’s use that criteria and the world will be more like we desire it to be.

  11. Spot on. Let me start by saying I’ve always liked Montrezl – liked him when he was at Louisville, wanted my team to draft him, and would welcome him on my team anytime. The man can hoop. All of that being said, he needs to have a timeout to ponder his actions and send a message that any and all racially charged language is unacceptable. The NBA is truly at a crossroads on this – Luka’s game winning buzzer beater had all the drama of March Madness and could help save the NBA from their dismal ratings slide. Being silent on this matter merely reinforces the NBAs hypocrisy on matters of social justice. Either they stand up and do what’s right, or drop the pretense. Sadly, I doubt they do either and will continue to turn off fans with their proselytizing and double-standards…

  12. Show me the Logic:
    — Kobe calls REF a “f——g f——t” on National TV. Gets fined, but no ejection, no suspension.
    (Broadcaster Steve Kerr laughed it off.)
    — Joakim Noah calls fan a “f—-t” on National TV. Gets fined, but no ejection, no suspension.
    — Thom Brennaman calls KC a “f-g” town. Gets FIRED.
    — Mike Milbury jokes that NBA players had “no women (in the bubble) to disrupt their concentration.”
    Gets FIRED.
    — Montrezl Harrell calls Luka a “bitch-ass white boy.” No fine, no ejection, no suspension.

    Charles Barkley and Jay Williams had the courage to call this out as a double standard.

    • Great context, Herb. How ridiculous that we need to keep a running account of past transgressions, though, to highlight the wildly different reactions to and treatment of the perpetrators. Fines and suspensions seem about right for offensive language (not termination), IMO, but now we’ve got athletes dropping F-bombs and S-bombs while referring to testicles, often on live TV, because they’re mad at law enforcement. The major sports leagues deserve every ratings and popularity decline they get, even though they’ll only blame the virus issues and broken habits of viewers. They’ll pretend the politicization has no effect whatsoever. LOL.

  13. Hypocrisy anywhere is hypocrisy everywhere, or something like that. Notice how we went from Harrell’s racist remark (and Mulligan treatment of it) to Morris intentionally stepping on Doncic’s injured ankle. Is Mark Cuban so “woke” that he’s fine with his franchise player being physically targeted that way? Is the NBA just fine with a bright young European star, ideal to sell to its international audience, maybe getting intentionally injured so he misses games or requires surgery? We go from politicians looking the other way on street violence — not just gang warfare but rioting, looting and arson now — to the NBA looking the other way on racial taunting and physical targeting. ONLY because of the races involved. Guess this league decided it needed a bigger shovel for its bigger grave.

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