The Sacramento Kings have made their decision: “All lives matter” is out, and “all cops are racist” is in.
The Kings hired Mark Jones from ESPN to serve as their new play-by-play announcer. Jones is most notable for melting down after the announcement of the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case. He said that the police had never helped him, had in fact pulled guns on him, and that he was going to reject having the police protect him when he called college football games because they would just shoot him.
It’s not clear if Jones was sincere in his ridiculous assertions or just trying to signal just how much he cared about systemic racism, given that he had previously praised the police multiple times during his time at ESPN.
Jones was picked to replace longtime Kings voice Grant Napear. Napear resigned from the organization under pressure (and was also fired by the radio station he worked for) after he committed the grave sin of claiming that all lives mattered last June.
The “controversial slogan” was enough for the Kings to part ways with Napear after 32 years. Jones deeming all police officers as racist and saying that they would shoot him if they got scared was enough for him to ace his job interview. Jones also mocked NFL player Nick Bosa over his season-ending injury (Bosa is widely considered to be a Trump supporter) and thinks that Trump is a “white supremacist terrorist.”
Increasingly, there is no place in the NBA for anyone who runs afoul of the social justice platform of the NBA. Those who do are shamed for it, such as Orlando Magic owner Dan DeVos, Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, and Magic forward Jonathan Isaac. Unfortunately for Napear, he was much more expendable.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the league would scale back its in-game social justice promotions, but they have clearly already had the desired effect. There is no place for any sentiment that is even slightly off-message from the Black Lives Matter movement, whose support has continued to drop since its summer high.
It is not a great start to the NBA’s attempt to win back disaffected fans that had tuned out the league even before the pandemic. Between this and the desire to ignore the human rights abuses of the Chinese Communist Party for continued access, the NBA is continuing down its hypocritical political path.