Shaq: Kyrie Irving "Idiot" and Has Twitter Gone to the Dark Side?
DeSantis Lies about Crime, Pelosi Attack Is Funny to GOP Candidates, The Frauds Pushing Voter Fraud, & More
I spent close to four hours this week on my mail-in ballot. I researched every candidate, proposition, and judicial nominee. Even on propositions I was certain about, I did a deep dive just to make sure I hadn’t missed some nuance in the fine print. Even after all that research and filling in my ballot, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure about everything. You never can be in life. All you can do is use reason, logic, and facts to come to the best conclusion.
Laziness is what is threatening democracy. It’s easier for people to join a political party and regurgitate their policies than go through the effort of researching, agonizing, and deciding. Political ads are a joke, usually twisting the facts into some half-truth clothed in an emotional appeal meant to bypass critical thinking. The theory behind political ads is to make you vote for something that makes you feel good about yourself the way dogs are rewarded with a treat when they do what we ask.
From what I can tell, many people use midterm elections to punish rather than forge a better future. For example, there are issues with the economy right now and polls show voters want to blame Democrats. But the facts about the economy show the exact opposite. The deficit has been reduced, even though it had ballooned under the previous Republican presidents. Yes, there’s inflation, but that inflation is worldwide. Do you seriously think that a Republican Congress will do anything vastly different concerning the economy than the Democrats? The real issues are about domestic freedoms and protecting the rights of the marginalized.
With that in mind, I’ve gathered stories that address some of the people and issues in next week’s election in which the country will define its values and its belief in democracy.
Sports & Politics: This Is Why They’re the Best NBA Commentators
Summary: On Inside the NBA Tuesday, Shaq and Barkley expressed their disgust with Kyrie Irving’s continual antisemitic posts and disappointment that Irving is not more harshly punished by the NBA. Barkley mentioned players who have recently been suspended for homophobic slurs and believes Irving deserves the same treatment. Shaq added, “When you’re as great at basketball as he is, people listen to you… It hurts me that we have to sit up here and talk about stuff that divides us. We have to sit up here and answer for what this idiot has done. I stand for equality of all people.”
Reggie Miller also commented on the lack of NBA players denouncing Irving’s antisemitism: “In years past, this league has been great because the players have led the way and they have strong voices. When (former Los Angeles Clippers owner) Donald Sterling stepped in it, when (Phoenix Suns owner) Robert Sarver just recently stepped in it, our voices in the basketball community and our players were vocally strong in some type of discipline being handed down – or be gone. The players have dropped the ball on this case when it's been one of their own. It's been crickets."
My Take: I couldn’t be prouder of Shaq, Charles, and Reggie for their bold and straightforward comments. They are at the forefront of Black athletes that are condemning the recent antisemitic social media posts by Kyrie Irving and Ye (Kanye West). It’s a genuine “I am Spartacus” moment.
The NBA Players Association also released a statement on Nov. 1: “Anti-Semitism has no place in our society. The NBPA is focused on creating an environment where everyone is accepted. We are committed to helping players fully understand that certain words can lead to hateful ideologies being spread We will continue to work on identifying and combatting all hate speech wherever it arises.”
Yet, Irving has been defiant about his postings. You can read his long, rambling, at times contradictory defense here. Mostly he reveals his lack of awareness of how history works. It’s not an all-you-can-eat buffet from which you can pluck just the dishes you like without any understanding of the context.
His inability to understand why his posts are news can be seen in this statement: “There’s things being posted every day. I’m no different from the next human being, so don’t treat me any different. You guys come in here and make up this powerful influence that I have (and say) you cannot post that. Why not? Why not?” If he really thinks someone with millions of followers spouting hate speech is the same as Jim in accounting posting on Facebook, then he really is out of step with reality.
The Nets finally forced Irving to acknowledge the damage he’s done and donate $500,000 to groups opposing hate speech. In his statement you can almost hear his arm being twisted: “I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day. I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility." But there was no explicit apology—which tells us everything about what he really believes.
Honestly, there’s little hope that he will change because he’s insulated by fame and money and surrounded by yes-people. There is no motivation to learn how to distinguish propaganda from facts. All that’s left is for the world to decide how it should respond to him.
Kareem Note: The problem of antisemitism is much bigger than Irving or Ye. They are merely the unwitting spokesperson for the right-wing political movement that is blatantly taking over the GOP. (For the full story, read “Jewish leaders call on GOP candidates to reject antisemitic comments”). Many Republican candidates running for some of the most powerful positions in their states and in the country—such as Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano—feel perfectly free to publicly spout antisemitic statements without fear of reprisal from their own party or the voters. That should be a very troubling sign for all marginalized groups because fascists always start by demonizing one group—right before they go after the others.