Monday, October 24, 2005

NBA Dress Code Is Racist

OK, so maybe this isn't of interest to many of you, but it's another way in which the corporate nature of American sports reveals itself. Perhaps you've heard of it, perhaps not. But the NBA has announced a dress code for its players. The announcement has not been received very well, and with good reason. Jason Richardson hit on the hypocrisy of the dress code by saying that clothes don't make the man. He says:
"You wear a suit you still could be a crook. You see all that happened with Enron and Martha Stewart. Just because you dress a certain way doesn't mean you're that way. Hey, a guy could come in with baggy jeans, a do-rag and have a Ph.D. and a person who comes in with a suit could be a three-time felon."
This is what gets me. We see news of people being laid off, of businesses sending American jobs overseas, of the increasing disparity between the wages of CEOs and the average worker, and yet still the corporate model is seen as the ideal one. I understand that NBA players are not paupers and they are party to the economic inequity themselves, but to attempt to try and clamp down on their dress, and enforce a corporatized (read: white) image on the (largely black) NBA stinks of racism. Clothing is certainly racially influenced, and to prohibit these guys from wearing chains outside their clothes, banning throwback jerseys, forcing them to wear jackets if on the bench, well, it just continues to re-affirm the racial overtones which are offensive to many of the black players who make many white execs rich.


At 1:04 AM, Blogger Pondo69 said...

You are an intellegent, well informed person. However, I can't begin to understand where your point of view is coming from. I have seen racism first hand, and the whiny-ass NBA players should shut the hell up and toe the line. Why is it that it's OK to bash/insult/disrespect rich people, but as soon as a few black millionares whine about something, there's racism poking it's head up? It's racist to expect highly paid employees that represent your corporation in public to dress as professionals? Or are you saying that any restrictions (I would say expectations) placed on black employees is racist? I work 2 jobs, one in a tool shop (factoy-like) and one in an office setting. If I dressed in my shop clothes at my office gig, I would probably be sent home and may face disciplinary actions if I refused to dress appropriately. Is this racist --- NO! And I don't have any dealings with the customers. THAT is what the dress code is about. The NBA is concerned about its image (Artest, AI-who I like-, etc.) and want to change the perception that most of the players are thugs. This isn't racist, it's common sense. If the players look respectable, they will change that perception.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger t said...

In the post I acknowledged that these guys are not paupers and that they are obviously well-paid, but as someone (dunno whom) said, clothes don't make the man. Richardson made that same comment. When a bunch of little white bureaucrat-types in the league office are trying to enforce their line, well, yeah, as I said, they are making money, but speaking as someone who's been a teacher for a while, I see how (minority) kids are treated simply because of how they dress, and it's infuriating. Quite frankly, I think that this is a subtle form of racism, yes. I understand what you're saying, and sure, perhaps in a more mixed, or conventional workplace, a dress code is reasonable-personally I don't care, but I understand-but to me, this ruling by Stern, to appease big white advertisers has the whiff of racism.

At 12:42 AM, Blogger Pondo69 said...

God bless Rosa Parks.
She fought real racism with more courage than I can imagine.
I guess that's the point I'm trying to convey. To call a simple dress code racist because the majority of those affected are black (or is it Effected? -you're a teacher, let me know) just doesn't ring true to me. It just makes too much sense to have a dress code in that situation. Here's a thought for consideration - if a sensible decision made by a white man that affects black men is considered racist, then isn't any decision he would make be racist? I see his decision as making sense on many levels, so I don't see the racism as existing. As far as being a decision "to appease big white advertisers" I would have to disagree. With all the bad publicity lately, it is an attempt to change the image given to the fans -the customers. Stern made a good business marketing decision. If it is a good decision, then it is not racist.

P.S.-What do you teach?

At 5:35 PM, Blogger t said...

Pondo, I do admit, I agree with ya to some degree on this issue. You're right-and I admitted it myself-these guys are not paupers. Many of them (Latrell Sprewell, Pat Ewing complaining several years ago before the PA got a new collective bargaining agreement, countless others, are whiny, spoiled, ungrateful, practically any other adjective you wanna throw out there) are immature spoiled babies. I still don't see why David Stern though, at least to some degree needs to throw his weight around to satisfy some crooked, dishonest business execs. Yeah, they're not starvin' but still, given the racial dimension in this issue, it strikes me as a bit shrill and Napoleon-ish. I'm a history teacher.


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