I love the NBA so what I’m about to write will sting a bit.
The game needs an overhaul or at least a closer look at itself in the mirror.
I get that we just lost an NBA legend, one of the top ten players of all-time. I get that players are hurting and struggling to come to grips with the tragedy that just punched them in the gut. They are not alone.
But certain behavior is inexcusable. Enter Marcus Morris.
The other night, in an otherwise meaningless game where the Memphis Grizzlies led the New York Knicks by 18, there were fisticuffs. But those fisticuffs paled in comparison to what transpired in the Knicks locker room shortly thereafter.
With fifty seconds left in the game, Memphis’ big man Jae Crowder broke one of the NBA’s unwritten rules. With an insurmountable lead, Crowder took a three-point shot, only to be shoved immediately out of bounds by New York’s Elfrid Payton. A fight broke out and players were ejected but like I said, that was just the tip of the He-Man-Woman-Hating iceberg.
In the locker room afterward, New York Knick big man and former Kansas star (shocker) Marcus Morris had a few choice words for Crowder.
Here’s the clip of Morris’ timely comments.
“I think dude is just, he plays the game a different way. A lot of female tendencies on the court. Flopping, throwing his head back the entire game. It’s a man’s game and you just get tired of it at the end of the day… His game is soft. He’s soft. That’s how he carries [himself]. It’s just very woman-like.”
So, let me get this straight. We just witnessed the passing of an NBA legend, who lived his last day championing the growth of women’s basketball, and three days later Marcus Morris denigrates another player for his “female tendencies?” Way to keep it classy, Marcus. I’m sure your mother is uber-proud.
The Knicks are owned by James Dolan who has been criticized by many, often fairly so, as one of the worst owners in professional sports. His team hasn’t been competitive for two decades whilst the man parades around the country in some blues band wearing a fedora and pretending to be a rock and roll star. It’s a shite state of affairs for any self-respecting New York Knicks fan. If Dolan really wanted to gain a modicum of respect from the rest of us, and his highly disillusioned fan base, he’d suspend Morris in his own right, but he won’t, because he’s James Dolan and has little to no idea what’s going on with his own team.
It’s unfortunate that this kind of thing still goes on, that equating “woman-like” to being “soft,” to use Marcus Morris’ words, is still a thing, especially in a league that bends over backwards to promote its all-female counterpart.
I don’t watch the WNBA but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the game, the work these people have put in and the opportunity they’re being granted. Adam Silver is generally considered a no-nonsense commissioner yet he only fined Morris an additional $35,000 for his comments. Morris makes $15,000,000 a year. If you want to stop this sort of talk and prove this is behavior you will not tolerate, then make Morris sit through some mandatory sensitivity training, for if playing the game “like a man” means degrading others including the opposite sex, then I want no part of it.
Perhaps more than any other league, the NBA is generally commended for its forward-thinking. That doesn’t mean that certain players (and yes, owners) within the league aren’t sorrowfully backward-thinking. Television ratings are down enough. This kind of activity that will further turn off the fringe fan and most certainly the female ones.
Elfrid Payton received a two-game suspension for his role in the scrum, Crowder and Morris received one each but if you ask me, Morris’ post-game antics were far more offensive than any pushing and shoving. If you don’t like the way Jae Crowder plays the game, call him out, call him weak, call him soft but don’t associate those words with the opposite sex that birthed you, especially when I’d bet my bottom dollar most of the women in the WNBA have a considerably better jump shot than you… and likely far more class.
Look, I’m gonna get off my pulpit. You don’t need me to tell you that Marcus Morris just dug his own grave. I guess that’s going to have to be punishment enough.
And to Commissioner Silver, you missed a golden opportunity to put your money where your mouth is and to ensure Morris did the same. Keep it up and you’ll become Major League Baseball in no time.