Saturday, October 12, 2019

Suddenly, Now Is Time To Keep Silent

Steve Kerr was trying to avoid being controversial when, drawing a false equivalence between the use of the AR-15 for murder in the USA and the mainland Chinese regime, he excused the latter.

But when guys are outspoken, court controversy, and go on the offensive, they leave no doubt, and who they stand with.

Houston Rockets' general manager Caryl Morey simply tweeted "fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" and veteran sports journalist Stephen A. Smith, aghast at Morey's public support for liberty, vigorously remarked

What happened to us as a society? I'm talking about this addictive, insatiable appetite to express every damn thing. What were we doing before Twitter? I got a damn cold. I'm sick and it still drives me crazy. What the hell were we doing before Twitter?

You mumbled something under your breath in the privacy of conversation with friends or whomever. Does it have to be disseminated to millions? What the hell is wrong with us? I don't understand it. And anybody who curtails your speech, they're like an oppressor, right?

Well, if they're so oppressive, what the hell are you taking their money for?

But Morey is not taking their money, any or all of which would be taken by the guy Morey works for, the team owner:

That is the fellow who wouldn't mind a little blood money from the Communist- uh, er- mainland Chinese.  Yet, Smith continued

This is the thing that drives me nuts. I had one idiot stop there and say to me "I mean, years ago you wasn't comlaining when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fist." I said "wait a minute. First of all, they were black.  Secondly....

Wait right there. "Houston, we've had a problem here" and it's not Morey, though later he deleted his tweet under pressure.

The issue should not have been how Smith and Carlos were born- black- but what they were doing and the values it reflected. The Morey/China matter may have been the first time that the outspoken Stephen A. (as he is affectionately known to many admirers) had any problem with an individual "express(ing) every damn thing."  Over the course of his career on radio, ESPN, and as a newspaper columnist, Smith has assertively given, usually shouted, his opinion with no reluctance that it be "disseminated to millions." 

More quietly, with the eloquence of a trained actor, in 2014 the sports personality would not have his speech curtailed when Donald Sterling, then the owner of NBA's LA Clippers, expressed racial bigotry in the privacy of a conversation with a friend, as Smith now advocates.  After explaining why Sterling's remarks would have bothered and offended blacks, on ESPN he argued (beginning at 4:41 of the video below)

You have a head coach who is now also in control of basketball operations, who is black.  You have no problem saying these things because they're making you money.  But you don't really want them around. They're basically labor to you. It's been validated. It's been substantiated forever. He has to go. He cannot be an owner in the NBA.

Back then, Stephen A. Smith had no problem with publicizing his opinion to a large audience in opposition to a guy who made reprehensible remarks privately.

His perspective obviously has changed radically. It may be because, as he himself put it, "first of all, they were black." (That applied to Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos, also to the subject of Sterling's comments.)  Though race- an inherited characteristic- is likely a factor, there may be others, such as an antagonism toward Twitter, on which he appears to be fairly active, privately mumbling with 13,800 followers and others.  

Steve Kerr made a foolish remark. However, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, and with Stephen A. Smith it blows toward hypocrisy.

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