Mavs Doncic Accepts Clippers Apology For Off-Color Remark
The NBA probably doesn't wish to deal with this. So ... Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell and Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic dealt with it on their own.
The issue? As Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix notes, in Game 3 of this Round 1 NBA Playoffs series, layup. Harrell appeared to call Doncic a “(expletive) ass white boy.”
I saw the exchange live, pondered it for hours, and have been bothered by it for days. My inquisitive tweet:
In the environment in which we're all living, with a modern civil-rights movement at the fore of the NBA's actions ... it was at best a bad look.
On Sunday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers told SI.com's Mannix that he has addressed the incident with Harrell.
“You just have to be careful,” Rivers said. “They both were talking. I don’t think Luka was saying anything racial, but he was swearing. So they both were doing it. It’s an emotional game. It’s a playground game out there in the playoffs.
I said to him, ‘Hey, I don’t think you meant anything racially by it.’ He said 'white boy,' but I don’t think there was anything racial intended. But we are in a very heightened climate and you have to be careful. Trez was the first one to say that. He said, ‘I didn’t mean that racially.’ And I said it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s perceived … make sure you do the right thing.”
Mannix was told by Rivers that Harrell reached out to Doncic to apologize, and before the tipoff of Sunday's Game 4 in the bubble in Orlando, the two exchanged pleasantries and and hugs.
None of that mandates that Mavs fans, or the world in general, be quite so accepting of what reads like an agenda-driven response by Doc Rivers.
"I don’t think Luka was saying anything racial, but he was swearing. So they both were doing it ...'' No, they were not "both doing it.'' Doncic called Harrell a "flopper'' after Harrell flopped. That's hardly in the same ballpark as using a racial slur.
"It’s a playground game out there in the playoffs. ...'' No, it's a "playground game'' out there in the real world. And in this "very heightened climate,'' in the real world, we are demanding of one another that we don't address our neighbors this way. Indeed, the NBA - to its credit - is at the social-justice forefront of these demands.
Basketball is not harder than the real world.
"Make sure you do the right thing ...'' This is where Harrell is going to stay in the clear here. A reprimand from the NBA to the "apologetic Harrell has been issued, a league spokesman told Mannix. And maybe, as Luka Doncic is willing to let it go, for the greater good, so should the rest of us.