Written in Ink

Here we go again...Thuggate part 2

For those who don't know, Marcus Smart, a college basketball player for Oklahoma State University, pushed a Texas Tech fan in the closing moments of a game at Texas Tech. It is reported that the fan either called him a N*gger, or told him to "Go Back to Africa N*gger", or some variance of those two statements.

I don't know what happened (Marcus Smart claimed the fan called him N*gger, the fan had a screenshot of a text which he stated that "he said something he shouldn't have said", and then claimed that "it wasn't vulgar or the N word"- the latter of the fan's statements wasn't screenshot though). However, if it is true that the "superfan" (who previously flipped the bird to another player at another game) said some racist shit, I don't fault Marcus Smart at all for pushing his ass.

What's troubling me about this is the whole "well Jackie Robinson didn't fight back" defense. That defense makes no sense, and continues to further the narrative that Blacks have to be perfect in the eyes of the world to elicit a base level of respect. If we do anything wrong, we are damaged goods and horrible people. It was true over 60 years ago when Jackie Robinson played, and it is still true today when people wanted to hate Richard Sherman forever and now call a 19-20 year old Marcus Smart, who got caught in the heat of the moment after a trying game and season, a "thug" or someone with no character or the good ol' phrase in sports, "character issues". God I cringe at that term -"character issues".


Ironically, this incident occurred right when "42" premiered on HBO. If people would watch it, they'll learn that Jackie Robinson wanted to fight back, he battled with himself on whether or not to fight back, and he damn near fought back against an opposing manager who hurled racist insults in his ear the whole game. Jackie Robinson wasn't a robot who let racist shit slide off his back, he was a real person. He also was a grown man older and probably more mature than Marcus Smart. If he reacted in an unsavory way, would Robinson be less than a man than what we think of him to be?

I just think this whole thing is bullshit. Black people have to be perfect in every facet of life. I assume this is the same for other people of color. Although it could be different, as the one of the main stereotypes of Blackness is criminality, and any behavior that can be quantified as aggressive can be placed in the "Black people are thugs" category. But this is unfair to Marcus Smart. Even if the fan didn't call him a racist term, Smart is a young adult trying to navigate a high profile life. It is illogical to expect him to get it right all the time. If JJ Redick pushed a fan who threatened to rape his sister (apparently this was said to Redick while he was at Duke), we would be praising Redick for his composure and pushing for regulations against verbal harassment from spectators.

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