“It’s a position that makes me a symbol for a lot of things, for a lot of people.”
NBA player Kyle Korver apologized for his “white privilege” in an essay published Monday – and rejected his fans who he suggested are racists.
Writing in The Players Tribune under the one-word headline “Privilege,” the veteran three-point specialist said he was embarrassed by his reaction to two recent incidents involving his black teammates.
In 2015, his friend and teammate Thabo Sefolosha had his leg broken during an arrest outside a New York nightclub. After Sefolosha was found not guilty of any crime, he sued the NYPD and won a $4 million settlement. This year, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook complained that a Jazz fan made racist comments to him during a game, leading the man to be banned for life from Utah games.
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Korver, a 38-year-old member of the Utah Jazz, admitted that he initially wondered why Sefolosha was at a nightclub during the season and that he partly attributed the abuse of Westbrook to the player’s combativeness. But he has since decided that those thoughts were a product of his skin color, he said.
“What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I’m still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it,” Korver explained. “Every day, I’m given that choice — I’m granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin.”
Korver promised that “as a white man, part of this systemic problem” he would “do better,” including by holding his “fellow white men accountable.”
In that spirit, Korver called out fans who he implied support him for racist reasons.
“I know I’m in a strange position, as one of the more recognized white players in the NBA. It’s a position that comes with a lot of….. interesting undertones,” he said. “And it’s a position that makes me a symbol for a lot of things, for a lot of people — often people who don’t know anything about me. Usually, I just ignore them. But this doesn’t feel like a ‘usually’ moment.”
Korver continued: “I believe that what’s happening to people of color in this country — right now, in 2019 — is wrong.” He then listed statistics about the relatively low average wealth and high rates of poverty, unemployment, and incarceration among African-Americans – calling each data point “wrong.”
Korver has been showered with praise since his woke confessional went live.
“As white people, are we guilty for the sins of our forefathers? No, I don’t think so.
But are we responsible for them? Yes, I believe we are.”
Kyle Korver with one of the best pieces EVER by a white man on white privilege. READ IT. NOW. https://t.co/VtvdeOeAZ5
— Exavier Pope (@exavierpope) April 8, 2019
Former teammate Lebron James, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, tweeted: “Salute my brother!! Means a lot.”
Salute my brother!! Means a lot. And like you said I hope people listen, just open your ears and listen. ??‼️‼️ https://t.co/qBrd2H27x0
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 8, 2019
However, not everyone was convinced.
Headline should read “NBA Cuck, Kyle Korver sells out his race to virtue signal. Still least respected player in entire league” pic.twitter.com/lp3PXEC9RR
— derek schwartz (@derek_mafs) April 8, 2019
For critics of today’s progressivism, a growing cultural emphasis on racial injustices comes as racism in the United States is at an all-time low. Given this reality, some have argued, fixating on race is unhelpful at best and counterproductive and divisive at worst.
One prominent maker of this case, liberal African-American linguist John McWhorther, recently wrote in the Atlantic that lingering anti-black U.S. racism is a challenge worth confronting.
“Progressives shirk that challenge, however, in fashioning a new kind of activism based on performance and display,” he said. “They should not do less; they should do better.”
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- Kyle Korver.: Screen grab