Is LeBron James' New Coach, David Blatt, Racist Just Like Donald Sterling?

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Photo by Keith Allison via Flickr cc
During the Donald Sterling racism debacle, LeBron James was quoted as saying "there is no place for [then LA Clippers owner] Donald Sterling in our league." But as it turns out, when he made the bold move to return to Cleveland, he perhaps didn't know about the potentially bigoted skeletons that lurk in Blatt's closet.


Cavaliers Coach David Blatt has openly supported the Israeli assault on Gaza. The victims in this case (the UN reports that three-forth of the 1,900 deaths were civilians), were simply unfortunate enough to be born into the wrong ethnic group in the wrong place, wrong time.

Sterling, by comparison, justified his racist lecture by claiming that racism is normal in Israel. As journalists Max Blumenthal and David Sheen note in a video short for The Nation, there is also a rising anti-African sentiment in Israel, stoked and justified by the idea that it violates the ethnic purity of the state.

But this just compounds an already complex issue regarding minority rights in Israel proper. And taking into consideration the actual brutality occurring in Gaza over the past month, supporting the actions of the IDF reflects upon how these men see non-Jewish minorities.

It is in this context that Blatt said recently, "There's no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all and we can live in peace." It's as if the prior 66 years of expelling much of the Palestinian population and ruling over the rest with a military occupation, the slow theft of Palestinian land, and periodic massacres would lead to peace.

By comparison, listen to Sterling's racist exchange with his mistress, saying:

Donald Sterling: It's the world! You go to Israel, the blacks are just treated like dogs.
V. Stiviano: So do you have to treat them like that too?
DS: The white Jews, there's white Jews and black Jews, do you understand?
V: And are the black Jews less than the white Jews?
DS: A hundred percent, fifty, a hundred percent.
V: And is that right?
DS: It isn't a question -- we don't evaluate what's right and wrong; we live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.

You get the idea he believes that race intrinsically has the value that racial ideology assigns it. And he's wrong.

Similarly, justifying the Israeli occupation -- as Blatt did -- is not right. Ending the occupation for real and granting full and equal citizenship to all cultural groups inside of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza is the right thing to do. Calling for a military assault on a captive civilian population, rockets or no rockets, is more than hard to justify.

MIT professor, linguist, famous Arab sympathizer, born to Jewish parents, Noam Chomsky makes the point that:

"When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like; it's not defense."

And that sums it up pretty concisely.

As for LeBron. If he is taking his legacy seriously, especially after being so vocal about the Sterling tapes, he may want to have a longer discussion with his new coach, because he may end up not playing in a league not just with a racist owner, but on a team with a coach of questionable values.





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26 comments
lee021
lee021

Brilliant article, sir. Kudos to you and the New Times for running this piece. 


I can imagine that during the Shoah, abolition of slavery and South African apartheid people had to make choices based on morals. I salute you for following in those footsteps that lead to equality.

atruzmana
atruzmana

Also, learn how to spell "fourth", antisemite.

Anonymous
Anonymous

What a waste of space. What does Mr. Blatt's viewpoint on the conflict in Gaza have to do with your job? Not to mention the fact that you probably don't have the slightest clue about Middle Eastern history or the conflict itself. I would recommend you first research the horrible atrocities perpetrated by ISIS as we speak.

atruzmana
atruzmana

Al Qaeda Community College is hiring hacks that can't grasp big words like "journalistic integrity"

They'd love to have you.

atruzmana
atruzmana

Evan, you should know its the decidedly antisemitic tenor of your comments that make Jews want to get up and move to Israel. It harkens back to Nazi Europe, Blatts desire to protect Israel has zero relationship with anything Donald Sterling has ever said. The only thread that connects them is the fact that they're both Jewish. Also, being that the UN houses Hamas weaponry, their figures are slanted like your reporting. You strike me as someone who knows little about basketball and rode Lebrons coat tails to get a shock piece in a desperate plea for attention. You're really no different thanso many Middle Eastern despots who beat up on Israel when their repuation lags. Why dont you go look up and see whats happening to Jews in France to get a better idea of what the impact of your type of journalism has.

I hope you find it easy to live with yourself.

dabears
dabears

So the expert is an 80 year old asshole with Alzheimer's whose gold digger girlfriend (who recorded him) is part black but bragged on a good digger show that she doesn't date blacks. That and an anti-Israel BS clip. Israel is 20% Arab Muslims, plus Arab Christians, and Arab Druze. It has about 200,000 Ethiopian Jews. All in a country of 8 million (6 million Jews). The stats cited "from the UN" come from Hamas and have been debunked by, among others, anti Israel outlets BBC and NY Times. In past conflicts Hamas admitted long after that their stats were lies. They have killed any of the civilians with errant rockets, executed dozens, and then used others as human shields. The only real African issue in Israel is about refugees who snuck into the country. It is a problem but they came to Israel cause or was the only country that wouldn't kill them or send them back immediately. Keep in mind many Arab countries support slavery and genocide of blacks to this day, including the Arab Sudan regime that killed millions in South Sudan and Darfur. Go to Institite for Black Solidarity for Israel for real info.

davfina
davfina

The editor, if there is one, of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times should have made you rewrite this article for clarity and to better express your opinion. Could have read something like this: "I hate Jews. Burn in hell Jews. Jews are evil. I'm making a non-existent, self-contradictory, hypocritical analogy that is racist to accuse a filthy disgusting Jew of being racist. My premises do not support my conclusions but I'll still get a few equally bigoted commenters (who are really me with different user names) to join my hate fest." And then throw in a picture of Lebron James so that someone might accidentally read your trash article. That would have been an honest representation of your opinion without all the logical fallacies and subterfuge. 

sgutmn
sgutmn

How does it feel to be an ANTISEMITE Mr. Rowe? The context in the Israeli Palestinian conflict is complex and often manipulated by the media- depending on particular stance. Hamas is bent on turning the world against Israel - and if it means burying ammunition in school basements at the expense of children's lives: they will do it. Taking the high moral ground re: Hamas is absurd. The bottom line is: Hamas is a terrorist organization and Israel is dealing with them the best way they can- imperfectly- yes- but what would you do if someone wanted to annihilate you? Pardon Israel's over reaction- after all during WWII I did not notice anyone coming to the aid of the 6 million (300 plus were my family) as they were slaughtered like sheep. What is happening in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is terrible- but to not understand it in the greater context and use it as an excuse to propagate more antisemitism is abhorrent. Where are all my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins? Take a look at Auschwitz

and then continue to complain about what Israel is doing.

zeveljones
zeveljones

Evan Rowe, have you ever even been to Israel?

I am an American and have lived in Israel for several years. I now live in New York.

I can tell you that for a fact that your view on this is completely distorted.

Of course there is racism if you look for it, but where isn't there?

The truth of the matter is that the vast majority is Israel is not racist or at least open to accepting other cultures and people. 

There are over 1.5 million Arabs in Israel, living as citizens and with full civil rights, voting rights and opportunity. 12 of the 60 parliament members in Israel are Arab. There are Arab doctors, professors, businessmen, lawyers and even an Arab supreme court judge.

I, myself, lived in Haifa, the 3rd largest city in Israel, in a building with Arab and Jewish neighbors. We all got along fine and it was not an issue. We all fled to the same shelters when Hezbollah fired rockets during the 2nd Lebanon War (Is Israel occupying Lebanon?).

The video you show about the tens of thousands refugees coming to Israel shows a very unfortunate situation, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be much different in any other country. How do you handle that? At least Israel is trying. Why does Europe refuse to take them? Why do you not ask bout Egypt, where they just get raped, tortured and kidnapped for ransom?

This is not a case of racism in Israel but rather a problem that that has to do with 60,000 refugees trying to enter a super small and conflicted country of 8 million.

Regarding Sterling, he is a complete jerk and a racist, but please save yourself the embarrassment and don't compare him to David Blatt. You have no idea what you're talking about.

There is racism in France, so are all French racists?

There is racism in Brazil, so are all Brazilians racists?

There is racism in England, so are all English racists?

There is racism in the US, so are all Americans racists?

Apparently you have some strong preconceptions about Israelis without much first-hand knowledge.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII topcommenter

Carry the torch Evan. The amateur zionists will wail away at you, but their validations border on the absurd.

gradystewar
gradystewar

Because if america were under rocket fire from mexico, we wouldn't fight back......sure Evan whatever you say

fmjuice
fmjuice

why would a Floridian care at this point?

whimptiessir168
whimptiessir168

Once upon a time there was a shepherd boy who was bored looking after sheep all day, so he cried "Genocide! Genocide!" and everyone came to help, and were angry with him. The next day he got bored again, so he cried "Genocide! Genocide!" and everyone came running. The next day a wolf came, but no one believed him. 

Anonymous
Anonymous

Another anti-Semitic post by Evan Rowe...amazing! Evan once again ignores that Israel completely left Gaza in 2005 and donated billions in infrastructure to Gaza for their economy.  In return, they got Hamas who sent suicide bombers to Israel, so Israel closed the borders.  As a result, Hamas brought in rockets, so Israel has blockaded Gaza.  Evan ignores the facts that Hamas used millions of dollars, concrete, and food, to build tunnels into Israel to commit terrorist acts.  Evan ignores what all "legitimate" media outlets are reporting, Hamas uses human shields.

Evan loves Hamas so much, maybe he should move to Gaza.  I assure you he will not enjoy his freedom of press, academic freedom, freedom of speech, gay rights, and/or women's rights that he supports in the United States.

dabears
dabears

I forgot to mention that the people Hamas killed (both those executed for, among other things, holding a protest, and those who died like children at 2 schools from errant Hamas rockets) have been included on the stats and initially blamed on Israel by world leaders until it was proven to be bullshit (but of course no retractions of the condemnations). Meanwhile, while Gaza (which had 350,000 ppl in 1970 and has 1.7 million today) is attacking Israel using smuggled weapons and tunnels that used billions of dollars in foreign aid that was meant for civilian infrastructure (and Hamas leaders are multi billionaires), hundreds of thousands of Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis are dying in Syria, Iraq, and in Africa with hardly a word.

chuck.strouse
chuck.strouse moderator editor

@davfina Funny thing, Davfina. The editor of this piece IS Jewsh. And it seems to me that there are significant flaws in the way that Israel has managed the situation in Gaza. Bombed schools and dead kids are just the start. That is not to say Hamas is blameless -- they are a big part of the problem -- but I wish the Israelis showed more restraint. 

davfina
davfina

@sgutmn you can't make a logical argument with this guy. Logic is not part of his game.

dabears
dabears

Lmfao. Validations like that no country in the world would ever be held to the standard Israel. You speak like a true biggot and moron. Basically you sound like the skinheads who say, never mind all their "words," just keep up twisting facts and pumping your hate.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII topcommenter

@gradystewar Dumb ass analogy and misguided validation. The US is the main advocate and perpetrator of invade and occupy. Chomsky nailed it.

dabears
dabears

Chomsky, the guy who defended the Khmer Rouge forever (where 2 million out of a country of 6 million were slaughtered and others were tortured in re-education camps? The guy

The guy famous for being a linguist but who talks politics and has been caught in so many contradictions? The guy whose specialty is setting up straw man arguments? Lmao! You are just a bigoted hypocrite who likes to wear a keffiyeh and show how edgy you are with no care about actual facts or fairness!

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