White NBA Player Kyle Korver's Letter To White People Goes Viral For All The Right Reasons
The Utah Jazz player is receiving mixed reactions for his recent essay on racism.
April 09, 2019 at 6:40 pm
Utah Jazz player Kyle Korver penned a powerful essay demanding white people understand their role in the systematic oppression of Black and brown people.
The veteran NBA player said he struggled to write about white privilege for some time. In the recently published essay entitled "Privileged," the 38-year-old recounted two incidents involving two high-profile NBA stars in The Players' Tribune.
The first regarded friend and teammate Thabo Sefolosha. In 2015, the then-Atlanta Hawks player was arrested after leaving a night club in New York. While in police custody, Sefolosha suffered a fractured fibula and damaged ligament, forcing him to prematurely end his season.
"My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??" Korver wrote, referring to games on consecutive days. "Before I knew the full story, and before I'd even had the chance to talk to Thabo..... I sort of blamed Thabo."
Looking back, Korver realized he blamed his friend for enjoying a night out instead of questioning authorities.
Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.
"The police wouldn't have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong," he wrote in the piece.
Sefolosha was found not guilty by a jury. "He settled with the city over the NYPD’s use of force against him. And then the story just sort of…disappeared, " Korver recalled.
Last month, Korver saw how privilege and racism intersected firsthand. Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook was confronted with heckling fans who made disparaging and seemingly racist statements toward him. The white Utah Jazz fan -- and confirmed Trump supporter -- was barred from the arena due to harassment.
"This wasn’t only about Russ and some heckler," Korver wrote. "It was about more than that. It was about what it means just to exist right now — as a person of color in a mostly white space."
At this point, the NBA vet understood that the world looked at and treated Black people differently because of their skin. White people benefited from a system built to elevate them and oppress others.
"I have to listen," he wrote. "I have to support leaders who see racial justice as fundamental — as something that’s at the heart of nearly every major issue in our country today. And I have to support policies that do the same. I have to do my best to recognize when to get out of the way — in order to amplify the voices of marginalized groups that so often get lost."
The Jazz player received a lot of support for his bold stance against racism, but among the supportive tweets were critics who could care less.
“I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America....I have to listen...as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable. We all have to hold each other accountable.”
Powerful, courageous, needed truth, @kylekorver.https://t.co/UfsxrEHJqJ
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 8, 2019
One thing you can do, and you should not do unless you really want to be depressed, is go to Jazz Facebook groups and comment boards and read people who are upset about Kyle Korver’s piece from today. I even saw someone who said they want him off the team.— Andy Larsen (@andyblarsen) April 9, 2019
Thank you, @kylekorver, for recognizing white privilege and for using your platform to speak out against racism. Most of all, thank you for publicly promising to be part of the solution. Who’s next? #gamechanger https://t.co/QKBAnpsdCW— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) April 9, 2019
But not all white people are racist. Let's start playing identity politics and start judging people as individual instead of the color of their skin. Hate and racism comes in all colors— D.T. (@1233ride) April 9, 2019
Whiteness is bad. I am part of the problem. POC are good. I will always be an ally to POC. I must check my privilege. The USA is white supremacy. pic.twitter.com/crI04MnJuK— Joshua Byrd (@CaviarEmptier) April 9, 2019
Throughout Korver's career, he played on various teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James. The longtime player has used his platform to bring awareness to several issues such as global slavery. He shows no sign of stopping.
Everybody inviting Kyle Korver to the cookout now....you see it dont take much to please black people. Ignorant ass statements like "invited to the cookout" shows you who are the weakest. All Kyle had to say was "racism is bad" and yall dont know how to think all of a sudden.— Jihad Lee (@HeatJimbo) April 9, 2019
"I know that, as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable," Korver wrote.Now check these out:
New York Couple Missing After Vacationing In The Dominican Republic
St. Louis Police Want A Judge To Remove Restrictions On Using Mace And Tear Gas On Non-Violent Protesters
Gabrielle Union Takes Her Family To Miami Pride In Support Of Her Gay Stepson