On ABC's This Week Kareem Abdul-Jabbar raises the specter of racism, as you can read in the interview, Kareem says "More whites believe in ghosts than racism." Kareem''s spooky comments come in an interview with ABC and were evoked by George Stephanopoulas who referred to the "scacthing essay Abdul-Jabbar wrote last week in Time magazine (which I reviewed in the link in the update). Kareem responded that Sterling did not seem like a racist when he worked for him in 2000.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And what do you think the league can do now? We saw Adam Silver come out. You supported his ban, his lifetime ban. But you know Sterling a little bit. It sure appears that he's likely to fight this.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yeah, if past performance is any indication he's going to fight it and do whatever he -- take whatever legal recourses he has to avoid the sanctions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And do you think the league can force him out?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I think they have the legal leverage to do that. Have to see, you don't know for sure, but the way things are going now I think that they have a very good chance of keeping him away from the game.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about the underlying issues that Ryan brought up in his piece, did you bring up in your piece, the kind of idea that the league for a long time turned a blind eye to his actions and that the country is still struggling with lingering racism.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, this is a problem. I did a little bit of research, more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism. That's why we don't have -- that why we have shows like Ghostbusters and don't have shows like Racistbuster. You know, it's something that's still part of our culture and people hold on to some of these ideas and practices just out of habit and saying that well that's the way it always was. But things have to change.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I was struck by a piece in the New York Times by Tim Egan who called sports the most progressive force in America and says that if you want to find racial progress in America look to the games we play. Sports has been in the vanguard in -- certainly in the past of promoting racial reconciliation. What more can the NBA do right now?
ABDUL-JABBAR: I think all -- the NBA has to do now is just keep the issue in people's minds when it's appropriate. It's not something you can constantly be harping on, but when it's appropriate and they see people doing things that don't line up with how we're supposed to be feeling about things, then people have to speak up. It's -- got to keep you -- it's like watching the temperature. You know, somebody gets a temperature something might be wrong, you've got to deal with it quickly.
We can not predict long will America continue to be haunted by racism. We can say that that time will be shortened by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's intelligent, and articulate commentary raising are awareness and sensitivity to the issue.
End of Post
The first article prior to the interview transcript is here:
Polly David Doig, of Newser writes, Karem Abdul-Jabbar: 'More Whites Believe in Ghosts Than Racism,' reminding us that racism still haunts American.
I'll get the ABC original, and also a link to the post I did on this "outrage of our outrage" op-ed last week and post them in an update.
(NEWSER) – Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spent more than a day or two in the NBA, and today he dives right into its racism problem, telling ABC that though the problem is widespread, "more whites believe in ghosts than they do in racism." Yet it's "still part of our culture and people hold onto these ideas and practices," he said, as per Politico. And the NBA must gauge the "temperature," and "keep the issue in people’s minds when it’s appropriate."
Abdul-Jabbar hasn't exactly sat on his hands as the brouhaha over Sterling, his old boss during a brief coaching stint at the Clippers, exploded. In Time last week, he penned a pretty scathing op-ed in which he admits that, yes, he's outraged. But not because of the reason you'd think: "What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism. I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise." Sterling discriminated against minorities for years in his apartment buildings, and "this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend is what puts you over the edge? That’s the smoking gun?" Sure, "Sterling is the villain of this story," but "racism is the true enemy. (Sterling is) just another jerk with more money than brains." His whole piece is worth a read.
10:11 AM PT: Replaced first story about ABC interview with full transcript of ABC interview.