Stop Hating. The Clippers Protest Was F*cking Awesome. Get Over It.

You know I couldn’t stay quiet long.

Unless you’ve been living under the biggest rock known to man, you’ve heard of the latest racial controversy. Donald Sterling, owner of The Clippers, candidly remarked that he didn’t want his sugar baby girlfriend bringing Black people to his games.

His words reveal the dark underbelly of the capitalist racist complex that’s extremely pungent in sports. The NBA and basketball are indelible fixtures in Black culture, with over 76% of NBA players being Black and millions of fans identifying as African American. Black dollars literally fuel the multibillion dollar industry. But never mind the fat paychecks … Sterling doesn’t want us there.

In the era of social media, the response has been swift. President Obama (y’know, the first African American POTUS) registered his opinions. So did Snoop Dogg. Endorsement deals are already falling through, and fans are calling for Sterling’s dismissal. This doesn’t seem like a controversy that’ll die down soon.

But the most anticipated response came from the Clippers themselves. The team protested their owner by warming up in shirts sans Clippers logos. During the game, they wore black arm bands and socks in a showing of solidarity.

Photo Cred: Tumblr

Photo Cred: Tumblr

Some feel this isn’t enough. Many ridiculed their form of social expression, saying that it wasn’t enough. As the criticisms grew in number, I felt the need to respond.

No one defines protest. Any and everyone is entitled to stage their form of political expression in the way they see fit. As a vocal cultural critic, I would’ve loved to see the Clippers boycott and refuse to play. But such actions aren’t feasible. NBA players are confined by strict rules. I won’t get into the politics of sports, but I imagine that boycott would’ve done nothing but choke them in hefty fines.

Money aside, athletes are pinnacles of the community; literally inspiring generations of people young and old, Black and white, male and female. Athletes are exceptional examples of physical exertion, mental strength, and relentless tenacity. And while the caricature of the athlete is one of the womanizing partier, the truth beneath the facade is one of extreme physical will, and constant strategizing. Athletes push their bodies to abnormal limits, both physically and mentally. Athletes are exceptions, not the norm. And that’s why they’re inspirational.

Add this to the fact that it’s not easy getting into any official sports league. Anyone can boycott a game, but not anyone can be a Clipper. The Clippers, and all athletes in official leagues, beat the odds. And the choice to disavow their accomplishments in the face of a fleeting conflict is a difficult one to make. Furthermore, given their social status and financial clout, they could potentially affect more change on the court than off of it.

This is context in which The Clippers, as a unit, removed their gear and singlehandedly sent a resounding message to millions.

The capitalist racist complex is fascinating in how it limits the extent to which a person can effectually protest. The CRC is so dynamic and entrenched in everything we do, touch, and see. Sure, you donate to the starving children of Africa, but you made your donation with your smart phone; a device enriched in coltan. The precious mineral fuels violent human rights conflicts, and the mining process is rife with environmental hazards. Coltan mining is particularly volatile in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the same DRC where you’re sponsoring a child.

The capitalist racist complex makes us perpetrators of contradiction. I speak from personal experience; I despise the way MNCs ravage third world villages and instigate regional conflict, but I’m always strapped in Apple garb. And if you’re honest with yourself, I’m sure you’re faced with the same conflicts too.

Capitalism is ubiquitous. It’s not an option or a choice; we’re all kegs in the lucrative capitalist machine; a mechanism that’s been doused in racism.

So when The Clippers protest, despite their restraints, I don’t feel anger or frustration. I don’t feel the need to critique, mock, or undermine their actions. Instead, I feel compelled to respect their choices, even though it’s not a choice I would’ve made.

We’re in the midst of great socio-political change. Social media and the growing size of the capitalist racist complex has simultaneously narrowed our options while expanding them. Does wearing an empty shirt or black arm band change the racism embedded in the NBA? Of course not. But this gesture, almost brilliant in its simplicity, told us everything we need to know about The Clipper’s political leanings.

The Clippers affected change more than a tweet of disapproval ever could. And for that, I support them.

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12 responses to “Stop Hating. The Clippers Protest Was F*cking Awesome. Get Over It.

  1. Pingback: Soccer Star Does The Sexiest Thing With A Banana | Black Millennial Musings·

  2. The fans need to protest by not watching the games….or coming to the games….what better message then having an d@mn near empty arena.

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  3. I agree with this SOO MUCH! Just had this discussion yesterday. People are begging fans not to show, players not to play. They don’t see that they are contractually obligated to do so, and further forget that these die hard fans that have payed for these exceedingly expensive play-off tickets will show up anyway. And there’s a stance to take by not showing up, but the money STILL goes to the organization you are taking a stance against, because you already paid for it.
    I think what they did, in protest, showed people that they don’t believe in the owners views, but they still have a job to do, and are professionals, even though they are boiling inside. They want to win the championship as well, we can glorify the owner but it’s not about him, it’s about the fans, the millions of mixed raced fans that love basketball. And by standing together they show more than they ever could by falling apart, or dividing themselves.
    Great work here!

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    • “I think what they did, in protest, showed people that they don’t believe in the owners views, but they still have a job to do, and are professionals, even though they are boiling inside”

      Your summation won the internet today. Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and sharing!

      Like

  4. I feel this post but I’m like this the whole world is watching to see what you’re going to do…..it would be inspiring to oppressed people all over the world if they had refused to play..Sterling said “I hate n*ggers” and the response by the clippers was to turn warm up shirts inside out and come to work…some things are bigger than basketball and money and that was one. If they refused to play imagine how inspiring that could have been……what the F*** is a silent protest? I guess that’s like wearing black socks or making a black square your facebook page….at the end of the day who cares? and what does it change? how is that powerful?

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  5. I am so glad the NBA did the right thing and got rid of his stupid ass!! I wish they could have hit him with more than 2.5M though! I agree that the players could have done more, one guy on CNN suggested the entire NBA should have refused to play until he was removed! A show of standing together like that would have really been powerful!

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  6. The capitalist machine wasn’t “doused” in racism it was BUILT on it.
    I wasn’t expecting the final ruling to ban Donald Sterling for life… He has to pay a fine too but then some university he pledged to donate to, decided not to accept his money as their form of protest… and what strikes me was that his pledge to the school was a far greater amount than the fine he’s required to pay, essentially giving him back all of his money and now he’s not even helping a school. I’m glad he got ousted, but it feels like a drop in the pan. I mean big deal he doesn’t get to go to games anymore.

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  7. AT least the Basketball Commissioner Mr. Silver banned this douche for life plus fined him really well $2.5 million dollars (which wasn’t enough, it should be more). Basketball is influenced and get their money from African-American communities. Without that kind of money it would be a bland, sour and boring game.

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  8. People forget struggle requires struggling…..turning your shirt inside out isn’t doing anything…take a d@mn fine…the world would have had their support…that’s worth a fine!!! I thought Ali gave folks the blueprint???

    Like

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