When Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell got tangled up in Game 3 of their Western Conference playoff series Friday night, things turned ugly. Doncic accused Harrell of flopping. Harrell, after scoring on him, called Doncic an “(expletive) white boy.” In a league that’s plastering racial equality all over the place – from its hardwood floor to players’ jerseys – why hasn’t the NBA punished Harrell?
Reactions to Montrezl Harrell’s comment
After scoring a basket Friday night, Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell turned to Dallas Mavericks star guard Luka Doncic and called him an “(expletive) white boy.” The comment was made after Doncic appeared to have tripped up Harrell moments earlier and then accused Harrell of flopping. Harrell’s comments created a firestorm and drew reactions from all over.
Former NBA player and current NBA analyst Jay Williams called out Harrell for his racist comment that was witnessed on national television. “I’m no liberator,” Williams tweeted in a video Saturday. “But damn Montrezl, I can only imagine if Luka Doncic had said something like that to you and it got caught on tape. I can only imagine during Black Lives Matter how much of a big deal that would’ve been considering today’s climate. It would’ve been a massive story. Luka would’ve lost all credibility. People would’ve asked LeBron about it. People would’ve asked Kawhi about it. Everybody would’ve had some kind of statement about it.”
On the other side, former NBA player Matt Barnes defended Harrell. “There is nothing off-limits on that court,” said Barnes, who said he wasn’t sticking up for what Harrell said. “People’s moms, sisters, wives, brothers, kids, colors, it’s all talked about. Does it came from a place of hate? No. It comes from a place of competitiveness. Does it make it right in society? Not in society, but on that court is the one time where it’s a war of physicality and manhood and a war of words.”
Montrezl Harrell apologized to Luka Doncic
According to USA Today, Montrezl Harrell apologized to the NBA Saturday for his comment. He did the same to Luka Doncic prior to their Game 4 meeting Sunday. On the court before the game, the two were seen talking and then hugging. Doncic said the issue is not a big deal and he considers the matter over and done with.
“It was OK. No worries,” Doncic said. “A lot of emotions on the court, especially with the playoffs. Sometimes you say things you don’t want to say. He apologized. I respect that. So no problems.”
Doncic, who had later turned an ankle in that Game 3 and was questionable to play in Game 4, turned in quite the performance Sunday. He scored 43 points, pulled down 17 rebounds, and dished out 13 assists as the Mavericks evened the series at two games apiece. Not only did Doncic put up his second straight triple-double, he drained the game-winning shot as time expired with a very deep 3-pointer.
Should Harrell be punished?
The NBA has been all about racial equality since the restart. The court reads “Black Lives Matter” down the sideline and players have been given an option of wearing league-approved social justice comments on the backs of their jerseys. Teams have kneeled in unity during the national anthem to help bring awareness to racial equality. Since the restart, that’s been the primary message.
With that said, Montrezl Harrell should absolutely be punished in some way for his racist remark. Something has to be done – fine or suspension – otherwise, the league’s mission can’t be taken seriously. Matt Barnes’ comments defending Harrell are beyond ludicrous, especially when he says, “there is nothing off-limits on that court.” So when the game is going on, racist comments are allowed to be hurled at each other? If that’s true, then don’t have “Black Lives Matter” on the court and don’t have “Anti-Racist” on the backs of players’ jerseys while the game is going on.
Under normal circumstances, Harrell’s comments would likely be brushed off. Nothing is normal anymore. If the NBA’s new normal is kneeling during the anthem and wearing ‘racial equality’ messages, Harrell’s comment is a problem. If the league wants to show it’s truly pushing for racial equality, Harrell should absolutely be punished.