A Whites-Only Basketball League in 2010? Seriously?
A new basketball league has been announced that focuses on the old-fashioned fundamentals of the game of basketball. It’s a league that would play a simple game, in a family-friendly environment, without all the “crotch-grabbing” and athletic antics of the NBA today.
Oh ya….and the players are all white.
And no, this isn’t a story from The Onion
Don “Moose” Lewis is commissioner of the All-American Basketball League, which will only include players who are “natural-born U.S. citizens, with both parents of Caucasian race”.
Lewis claims that the league is not racist, citing the fact that although players and coaches must be white, owners can be of any color (although they, too need to be American-born). He says that the goal of the league is to return to a more “fundamental” style of basketball, without the “athleticism” we see in the NBA, which features predominantly black players who, according to Lewis, are playing glorified “streetball”. The league would create positive role-models in the [white] community, and have stricter standards than the NBA–like players can’t have tattoos, or a criminal background, and it will use conventional rims and nets.
In a radio interview with Bomani Jones, host of “The Morning Jones” on Sirius’ Hardcore Sports Radio, Lewis adamantly denies that there is anything racist about his idea, stating that, in his mind, it is a representation of American freedom and in a free country, you shouldn’t be chided for doing something other people might disagree with. He also says that he doesn’t condone racism and wouldn’t allow racist signs at the games. He claims that although some people who attend the games might be racists, that’s not the audience they are aiming for.
Despite claims that the creation of a whites-only league is not racist, and that the focus on the league is the return to the “fundamental” game of basketball, the notion that only white players are capable of this “fundamental” game, and that including black players will inherently lead to un-fundamental playing, along with “crotch-grabbing” antics, tattoos, and criminal records, subscribes to an outdated and ignorant picture of wholesome americana.
When Jones asks Lewis what’s wrong with having black players on the team, Lewis only replies “it’s just something that we’re not doing.” He also uses the words “theoretically”, “athleticism”, and “middle america” a lot: hinting at an air of evasiveness that begs the question–is this for real?
One wonders if Lewis actually believes that this league is focusing on the “fundamental” game of basketball and is completely blind to the race issue at hand, or if he is playing on racism to create a money-making spectacle. He says that he has already been approached for a reality series, the finale of which would feature his white all-star team playing black all-stars.
The feature would be titled “Sno Ball vs. Bro Ball”.
The All-American Basketball Alliance plans to start in June. It is based in Atlanta, and is currently looking for places to play in the Southeast–which hasn’t been easy. It is astounding that such a blatant attempt at segregation would be considered in this day and age. And for Lewis to vehemently deny that it’s racist is a testimony to the careful facade of self-awareness, and the tip-toeing around racist issues, that social standards have mandated. No one (almost) wants to claim that they are racist or that they support racism, but when something like a whites-only basketball league emerges, the issue of modern racism and segregation seems to have landed right between our eyes.