When Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry dove into the high price seats in an attempt to save the basketball from going out of bounds, what was a routine hustle play quickly escalated into something else.
Golden State Warriors part owner Pat Stevens took his hand and shoved Lowry. Once again “White Privilege” was on full display, but this time it was at the forefront of the NBA Finals. NBA elected to fine him $500’000 dollars and ban him from the NBA for a year.
Lowry was visibility upset and rightfully so. He complained to the officials and the referee ejected Stevens from the game. In the post-game press conference, Lowry was asked about the incident and he had this to say:
"I don't think there is any reason," Lowry said. "For me personally, I don't know him. I don't care to know him. He showed his true colors at the time. A guy like that shouldn't be a part of our league. Being honest with you. That's my personal opinion."
Here we are once again a white fan sitting court side thinking it’s ok to not only say obscene an obnoxious things to black players but it’s ok to put their hands on them as well. A few months back you had a white fan in Utah get banned for life for his racist comments he directed towards Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
What makes this even more unacceptable and despicable that this isn’t a regular fan. We now have a man that has a financial stake in the team exhibiting this kind of behavior. Ironically the Warriors has been seen as a progressive forward thinking franchise.
This is in large part to the players and the head coach Steve Kerr. They have not be afraid to discuss social issues. Just two years ago while speaking at Harvard Draymond stated we should no longer use the term “owner” in sports. Green had this to say about the term owner:
“Just because someone was taught that 100 years ago, doesn't make that the right thing today. And so, when you look at the word 'owner,' it really dates back to slavery. The word 'owner,' 'master' - it dates back to slavery. ... We just took the words and we continued to put it to use."
He went on to say that we should refer to owners of sports franchises as a “chairman”. His comments sparked a national debate with Mavericks major stakeholder Mark Cuban who demanded an apology from Green. Green stood his ground and didn’t back down from his comments even when Cuban questioned his intelligence by taking a shot at the quality of education Green received at Michigan State University.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver who since taking over for David Stern has been seen by many as the best commissioner in all of pro sports definitely dropped the ball with how he decided to punish Stevens. To say the punishment was too lenient is an understatement.
The fine should’ve been much higher and the ban much longer. A message has to be sent that just because you pay top dollar for court side seats or have a financial stake in a team does not give you the right to behave like a jackass.
Who is Mark Stevens?
Mark Stevens is a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital. Sequoia Capital is an investment firm that mainly focuses on the tech industry. They control over $1.4 trillion dollars worth of stock. Stevens net worth is in the neighborhood of $2.3 billion dollars. He made his fortune with the company by focusing on software and systems-related investments.
Sequoia Capital has made successful investments in large corporations such as Google, Yahoo, and YouTube. So the question one should ask commissioner Silver what is $500’000 to someone worth $2.3 billion? And what kind of message does that send to someone who has that kind of wealth and privilege?
Now people are clamoring for Stevens to sell his stake in the Warriors. For the record if he does sell he can make an estimated $180 million dollars on his investment is that justice? No it is not and that is the true essence of “White Privilege”.
Stevens privilege allowed him to believe that it was acceptable to put his hands on Lowry. As result of his actions, his punishment can potentially net him $180 million dollars. That is how “white privilege” works in a nutshell.
It is a shame that something like this has diverted our attention away from a great NBA Finals. The Warriors are trying to make history winning their fourth title in five years, and the Raptors are trying to win their first championship in franchise history.
The issue of “White Privilege” is something that is found in all aspects of American society. It is systematic just like its evil sibling racism. Due to the fact that it is woven into the fabric of America just like apple pie makes it hard to fight against. For that reason, I don’t see it ever being eradicated in my lifetime, but attention needs to be continuously brought to this issue if there is any hope of ever destroying it for good.