If you logged on to any form of social media today, you probably saw Kyle Korver’s Players’ Tribune piece. Somebody probably shared it or commented on it. It was mentioned on ESPN five minutes ago when I was flipping through the channels.
The former Sixer wrote an article called “Privileged,” which dives into racism in the NBA and American society as a whole. He starts by telling a story about Thabo Sefolosha, who was drafted by Sixers in 2006 before being traded for to the Chicago Bulls. Sefolosha was involved in an incident with New York police several years ago, when they broke his leg in an altercation stemming from a nightclub stabbing.
Anyway — on the morning I found out that Thabo had been arrested, want to know what my first thought was? About my friend and teammate? My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??
Yeah. Not, How’s he doing? Not, What happened during the arrest?? Not, Something seems off with this story. Nothing like that. Before I knew the full story, and before I’d even had the chance to talk to Thabo….. I sort of blamed Thabo.
I thought, Well, if I’d been in Thabo’s shoes, out at a club late at night, the police wouldn’t have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong.
It’s not like it was a conscious thought. It was pure reflex — the first thing to pop into my head.
Sefolosha went to court and was found not guilty on charges of obstructing government, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He sued the city of New York and won $4 million a settlement with the NYPD.
Korver continues by relating that story to the recent incident involving Russell Westbrook and a fan in Salt Lake City, where both Korver and Sefolosha now play. He talks about being a white guy in the NBA and how his views on systemic racism have evolved over the years.
He explains what he believes to be the difference between privilege and guilt, saying this, after the jump:
When it comes to racism in America, I think that guilt and responsibility tend to be seen as more or less the same thing. But I’m beginning to understand how there’s a real difference.
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.
And I guess I’ve come to realize that when we talk about solutions to systemic racism — police reform, workplace diversity, affirmative action, better access to healthcare, even reparations? It’s not about guilt. It’s not about pointing fingers, or passing blame.
It’s about responsibility. It’s about understanding that when we’ve said the word “equality,” for generations, what we’ve really meant is equality for a certain group of people. It’s about understanding that when we’ve said the word “inequality,” for generations, what we’ve really meant is slavery, and its aftermath — which is still being felt to this day. It’s about understanding on a fundamental level that black people and white people, they still have it different in America. And that those differences come from an ugly history….. not some random divide.
I would have changed the wording of that fourth sentence, because I don’t think it matches the last paragraph there, but I get what he’s saying.
Anyway, it’s a good read, and if you have a minute I’d recommended checking out the article. It’s not too long, it should only take a few minutes.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) April 8, 2019