Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by Simon Trabelsi – gentleman, scholar and IMAGES Account Coordinator. Thank you, sir!
Bloggers and civil rights activists were up in arms recently when a press release was distributed stating that random rich guy (and former pro-wrestling promoter) Don “Moose” Lewis is forming a professional basketball league called the All American Basketball Alliance (AABA). Unfortunately, the name is an inaccurate description, considering not all Americans can play – only players that are natural-born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible for the league.
Of course “Moose” rationalizes this by telling an Augusta Chronicle reporter that it is a league for those wishing to get back to playing “fundamental basketball,” not the “street ball” that “people of color” enjoy. He also poses the question, “Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?” The fact that Moose doesn’t see the racism in hinting that the aforementioned would not occur with White players is just comical and unrealistic, especially considering Caucasian NBA player Jason Williams’ multiple suspensions for shouting obscenities and derogatory slurs at fans on numerous occasions in 2000 and 2001.
Or maybe we could use the Caucasian American Chris Andersen’s 2006 expulsion for testing positive for substances in the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” category. I’m sure the latter’s two appearances in the NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Competition also counts as “fundamental basketball,” right Moose?
Ok, so we get it. Moose is a closet racist who doesn’t want Blacks or foreigners in his basketball league. It’s discrimination, it’s a travesty, and it’s a disgrace. We have established that, so does it really need to go much further? R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP has stated that “if [the NAACP] can do anything to stop it, we will.” Though I understand the concern, is this the most efficient use of the NAACP’s time?
Let’s consider this from a Darwinian standpoint in terms of marketing, using some very general statistical assumptions. Though the 2010 census has yet to be published, many think it will reveal that upward of 35% of the US population is non-white. That means increased purchase power for minority groups, and new segments that big corporations want to win over. Winning over these consumer groups is more than just putting a Black or Latino face in a commercial – it takes an understanding of the consumer’s culture, values and purchase decisions.
Although not all corporations have made large investments in winning multicultural consumers and even fewer have truly figured out how, I doubt many of them are foolish enough to endorse a racist basketball league and offend their non-white patrons. Most companies will probably play it safe and keep themselves far away from any association to the AABA. Considering all professional sports leagues rely heavily on sponsors to finance their operations, how long will the AABA be able to sustain itself (I feel like they should be betting on this in Las Vegas)? To put it in Darwin’s terms, the AABA is simply not fit to survive in today’s politically correct-mongering climate and will soon be extinct.
So returning to the topic of fighting this league’s existence – is it necessary? I could flex my Sociology degree and spend hours ranting about how and why the league and this Moose character are racist, but I think I have already exceeded the number of brain cells I allocated to this topic by writing this blog post. My advice to the NAACP and whoever else is losing sleep over the AABA: spend your time on something more productive than providing publicity to a brain dead project with the life expectancy of the XFL. If you’re so adamant about sticking with sports, tackle the NFL’s useless Rooney rule or another issue with possible longstanding racial repercussions. The natural selection of corporate sponsorship should sort out this whole fiasco by itself.