The Utah State Legislature attempted to pass a bill in May that would ban the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in classrooms. However, Gov. Steve Cox refused to include it on the agenda for a special session. Shortly thereafter, Senate President Stuart Adams cited backlash from corporations and persons of interest as a pivotal reason why the bill failed, even calling Mitchell by name.
Footage released Wednesday afternoon brought Adams’ comments to Spida‘s attention, but the Jazz guard didn’t care much to make a response.
Utah State Senate President Stuart Adams said elected officials need to “educate” Donovan Mitchell and others on critical race theory
Donovan Mitchell was again injected into state-level discussions on critical race theory after a video surfaced of Adams making remarks at the Council for National Policy’s 40th Anniversary Meeting in May.
Mitchell had previously expressed dismay at the State Legislature’s efforts to ban the teaching of CRT, per Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune. Adams said someone texted him those comments, adding his belief that public officials need to connect with Mitchell and other prominent public figures.
“When you get very popular sports stars like that that are pushing back, we’ve got work to do to try and educate them. Let’s go tell him what we’re doing because I don’t think he really understands what happened,” Adams said, via Bryan Schott of the Salt Lake Tribune.
Adams and the Legislature responded to the blockage of the bill by passing independent resolutions. He told Schott the resolutions canvassed numerous persons.
“We adjusted the resolution to reflect input from constituents and stakeholders to focus on three concepts, which I believe we can all agree on: That no curriculum or instruction materials should include, that one race is inherently superior or inferior to another race, that an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of the individual’s race, or that an individual’s moral character is determined by the individual’s race,” Adams wrote, via Schott.
However, Adams’ remarks from May, the ones name-dropping Mitchell, rose to the forefront in public discussion on Wednesday. The All-Star guard had little interest in reflecting on Adams’ statement and the resolutions passed in May.
Mitchell refused to respond to Adams
Mitchell, in particular, has close ties to classrooms in Utah.
The Jazz guard is partnering with Clorox and DonorsChoose to give teachers in “high-need communities” the resources they need to be successful. He was asked Wednesday what he made of Adams’ comments but instead focused on the mission at hand.
“I’m really focused on helping teachers…I don’t really want to answer him,” Mitchell said on The Zone Sports Network, per Sarah Todd of Deseret News. “I will speak to that but this is something I’ve put my heart in.”
However, Mitchell did make sure to reference the importance of sharing his experiences as a Black man in America.
“Some people don’t understand what’s 30 minutes down the street, so seeing others speak about certain issues…being black in this country is a job,” Mitchell said, via Todd.
Mitchell might not have wanted to make Adams the story of the day, but he received support from members of the Jazz organization.
Jazz governor Ryan Smith chimed in on the critical race theory discussion
Utah Jazz governor Ryan Smith was quick to issue a statement of support for Mitchell and the rest of his players.
The Qualtrics founder, who just purchased a majority stake of the Jazz last season, tweeted, “we have to start from a position of listening” on important national issues like race. He added that taking others’ personal experiences into account is part of that listening process.
Mitchell is hardly the only athlete to use their voice to speak about critical race theory and other issues that have become part of the national dialogue. LeBron James has consistently used his platform to enhance voting rights for disenfranchised Americans while also introducing new campaigns on criminal justice reform. The WNBA has taken the lead on social activism and issues such as race and gender equality for years
Yet, athletes who have a tangible impact on their communities continue to be discredited or painted as “uneducated” when their agendas differ from controlling government bodies.
Mitchell said he would eventually take the time to tackle Adams’ comments and dive back into the dialogue on critical race theory in Utah’s schools. But he’s also laying the groundwork for underprivileged youths to be successful.
Needless to say, Spida has the full support of his organization in his ventures both on and off the floor.