by John Walters
The Bucks Stop Here
The Milwaukee Bucks become the first major pro sports team, at least in our memory, to refuse to play a game. The Bucks skipped out on their playoff game with the Magic last night to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisc., over the weekend by police. Blake was unarmed and it was broad daylight.
The Bucks’ action sparked a reaction all over sports. All three NBA games last night were not played and chances are that all three of tonight’s playoff games will also be called off. Certain Major League teams, including the Dodgers and Giants, also opted to not play.
The entire NBA postseason is in jeopardy. And why not? Players must be tired already of being part of the NBA Truman Show and meanwhile incidents like the Blake shooting continue to transpire.
If you read this space, you know we’ve been calling for black athletes to boycott playing for a variety of reasons over the past year. They do hold power and their leverage is their abstinence. Knowing how much the Bucks’ act must have pissed off POTUS on the third night of the RNC last night already makes it worth it.
We hope (perhaps selfishly) that the NBA players vote to end the season. It’s never mattered anyway after the mid-March interregnum. And those arguing that the players’ power comes from having the platform of playing are either being disingenuous or fooling themselves. Nothing would be more powerful than these players not playing and then being visible in communities extolling people to vote.
Finally, we loved Charles Barkley on CNN last night: “It’s exhausting being black, especially when you’re a celebrity. You know, I love Tom Brady, but nobody asks him about what’s going on in white America.” Yes. Damn!
This Is What ‘White Privilege’ Looks Like
I get tired of hearing “white privilege” used as a cudgel over and over, but to deny its existence is pure willful ignorance. This video clip from Kenosha is as pure example of it as you’ll ever see.
You can skip ahead to 2:30 of the video to get to the meaty part.
I imagine the Tucker Carlsons of the world will whitesplain that Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was under attack by the mob and was only defending himself. I guess the questions I have are why Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Ill., drove some 30 miles with a long gun to be a part of this scene. And why, if he was supposedly “defending businesses,” was he out in the middle of the street with his gun.
What is truly horrifying takes place after the shootings. There’s Rittenhouse walking down the center of the road as three police vehicles slowly approach. People are screaming “He shot somebody,” the gun is clearly visible, and the cops are apathetic. They clearly do not see Rittenhouse as a threat (in an earlier video Rittenhouse and other “vigilantes” are being given water bottles by the cops).
As Don Lemon asked on CNN last night, “What would happen if he had been Muslim, black or Latino?” I think we all know, Don. I share your frustration that the guest to whom you asked that question chose such a milquetoast response.
This was on the same night that AARP Ken Doll Mike Pence pledged “law and order.” How about law and justice, for once?
Oh, and of course, of course, this kid was in the front row of a Trump rally or two. Of course.
You’re Dead To Me, Lou
Here’s former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz speaking at the RNC last night:
You can listen for yourself. What we here don’t understand is how Republicans are able to overlap their “values” with the glaringly obvious failings and/or corruption of Donald Trump. Here’s Charlie Kirk on Monday night:
“President Trump was elected to defend the American way of life…The American way of life means you follow the law, you work hard, you honor God, you raise your kids with strong values and you work to create a civil society.”
As Frank Bruni of The New York Times reacted, “Excuse me? Trump doesn’t bow to the law, not to go by the tax returns that journalists have gotten their hands on, by the hush money paid to a porn star, by his rescue of Roger Stone. The examples abound.”
This is what Trump Republicans don’t seem to get. It’s not (all of) their values that are so misplaced. It’s that they actually believe that Donald Trump is a gatekeeper of such values. It’s laughable. As are they.
By the way, pity the Republicans. In just four short years, Trump, a Democrat most of his life who only a dozen or so years ago seriously considered running for president as a Democrat, has completely hijacked their party. During the first three nights of the RNC speakers America has heard included Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Tiffany Trump, Melania Trump and Donald Jr.’s girlfriend.
It’s like one of those King family Christmas specials from the 1970s when you didn’t quite know who the King family were, you just knew they were wealthy and they were going to occupy your screen for the entire hour.
Never mind, by the way, that the White House is not supposed to be prostituted out as a campaign backdrop or that the Secretary of State is not supposed to take sides in an election.
Man, I cannot wait until Biden is president and all of these same Republicans remember decorum and protocol and emoluments clauses and the like. It’s going to be rich, the irony. And they’ll be unapologetically shameless about it.
More Fun From The Graham Norton Show
Here in America, British expat James Corden attempts (or before Covid-19, attempted) to recreate the magic of The Graham Norton Show, but it just does not translate. How Norton manages to wrangle big stars (I believe the show airs just once a week) and then make them so comfortable with one another (I believe alcohol is involved) always amazes me.
Here, in just a two-minte clip, are two very funny anecdotes. Enjoy. And all four of the celebrities are clearly enjoying themselves. That’s what always stands out about the Norton show and what makes him such an extraordinary host: the guests want to participate and are clearly having a blast.
The first of the two hurricanes slated to hit the Louisiana and Texas coasts, Laura, made landfall last night (love that word: landfall). Laura is a category 4 hurricane and its effects will be exacerbated by a pandemic that will cause locals to think twice about fleeing to a crowded shelter (thanks, Obama… that’s what I’m supposed to say when anything goes wrong, right? Even if none of the crisis is of his making?).
Anyway, more death. More property damage. More loss. But it’s mostly poor black people so don’t worry about it. You’ll probably hear little about it in the president’s remarks tonight from the RNC.
Tesla stock, like the crime rate in New York City as described in the Rolling Stones’ “Shattered,” keeps “going up, up, up, up, up!”
You could’ve owned Tesla (TSLA) for as little as $805 on May 28th, or three months ago. Today, after yet another morning of the stock rising more than $50 (third consecutive day), it’s above $2,200. That’s nearly 200% up in three months.
Now, while we do hear you, Susie B. (“Tulips!”), you’d be wise to remember that the stock’s 4-for-1 split coming on August 31st is going to put the stock price back in the $500 range. And while it doesn’t technically change the value of the stock, you tell that to a millennial with a Robin Hood account who doesn’t care too much about EPS or P/E ratios.
Seeing the price of Tesla stock back at around $500 will stimulate more buying. Will Tesla, after the split, be up near $1,000 in value by year’s end? We think so.