I have more to say about Russell Westbrook. If you missed my column last week, do me a favor and check it out. Today, I want to talk about Russ’ far-reaching impact beyond his explosive on-court performances.
I prefer to save this space for discussing issues vital to society. I seek to illuminate intersections of sports and race and politics to demonstrate larger themes present in our country and our world. For these reasons, I am going to use all of my remaining words to highlight one of the greatest scandals perpetrated by the media, ever. Yes, I am talking about the utter lack of coverage of Russell Westbrook’s 2017-2018 season. In case you haven’t noticed, Russ has just averaged a triple-double for an entire season. The only thing more remarkable than this fact is that it is he has done it for the second year in a row. Here is the list of all NBA players, besides Russell Westbrook, who have ever averaged a triple-double for a full season: Oscar Robertson. Here is the list of all NBA players, besides Russell Westbrook, who have averaged a triple-double for multiple seasons, either consecutively or not:
The NCAA should be nearing a breaking point. But in reality, things are going exactly as planned. Recently the NCAA has been confronted by its hypocritical, unethical behavior ranging from lax observance of rules to maliciousness all the way at the top. The upshot is that Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, is ignorant, insidious or both. Either way, he needs to go.
“Must they run their mouths like that?” she spat, the condescension dripping from her mouth. It sounded like a parent bemoaning a misbehaving child, or perhaps a president complaining about fake news media. Surely, whoever had run their mouth must have said something awful. Right?
I was skeptical when North Korea joined the Olympics. I still am. What I’m really struggling to wrap my head around, though, is the disciplined, dainty 229-women strong squad of cheerleaders. By now I’m sure you’ve seen their chants and songs, sometimes singing and swaying to them even while other music blares over the loudspeakers.
Yesterday morning I excitedly talked with a friend about the flurry of trades the Cavs pulled off to pretty much swap their entire backcourt for a new one. We were yapping about how the Lakers stole the Cavs’ first-round pick and debating whether they had enough time to integrate their new players, when another guy commented how the whole trade system “didn’t make any sense.” He is a soccer (or as he would say, “football”) fan, and he thinks it’s silly that teams have to actually trade players to acquire new ones, as opposed to simply buying them. While the soccer system of rich teams buying all the players they want is ridiculous to me, it is “more like the real world,” as this “footballer” claimed. Trades in general, highlighted by a furious surge of exchanges right before the trade deadline, are weird things. And they make it easy to lose sight of the people who are actually getting traded.
Please: don’t stop now! The news that the NFL is pledging $89 million over seven years to sponsor social justice work is heartening. When I last wrote about the NFL protests, I was dismayed by what I saw as a lack of direction. I wanted you, the players, to make specific demands of the NFL and society at large. The Players Coalition, led by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin, has done just that, negotiating a plan for owners to donate millions of dollars every year, escalating from $5 million this year all the way up to $12 million from 2021 through 2023. And that’s just for national causes. On the local level, owners would donate $250,000 per year, with players matching that amount. This proposal from the NFL is a win. It is not perfect, and I will address some of its flaws below, but first it is crucial to acknowledge this victory. When Colin Kaepernick first sat for the anthem over a year ago, his prospects for effecting social change seemed slim. This proposal represents the culmination of protests from all of you, from all 30 teams across the league. It shows that you, our athletes, have the power to improve society. It shows that sports can make a difference. And it shows that the NFL is desperate to preserve its image.
Houston, your sports teams have a problem.
First, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair made a huge mistake nearly a month ago. His mistake, which came to light only last week, was referring to NFL players as “inmates,” as in, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” McNair realized his mistake and said he was sorry: “I apologize to anyone who was offended.”