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.
Well put, man.
I never played sports on a professional basis. But I was a two-sport jock at the collegiate level. But I will tell you this. What Morris said is a sanitized version of what gets said during play outside of the earshot of non-combatants who have a far different sense of what is acceptable.
In terms of your points, here’s what that means:
1) James Dolan is the worst owner in sports. Dubsism said that ten years ago…look at who it took to finish in front of him…
2) “Progressivism” in sports is a canard designed to be “sensitive” to the current prevailing winds. I have a hard time listening to anything coming from the NBA and Commissioner Nosferatu about anything human-rights/sensitivities related after they tip-toed around criticism of a government that turns political prisoners into organ donors.
3) Specific to the issue at hand, Morris is an idiot for speaking “inside” to an “outside” audience. The reality is that those two languages are significantly different, regardless of what the sensitivities of the time may wish for.
4) Even today among “modern sensitive non-toxic masculinity” athletes, those are “fighting words.” In my day, those comments would have resulted in sitting on your chest breaking every bone in your face with both fists.
Not like I may have done that at one point…
Just because a woman may have less upper body strength doesn’t mean that she’s not tough. I have heard studies that prove that women have much higher tolerences for pain. I’d like to see Morris pass a basketball sized object from one of his orifices.
Like I said before, I wish the female reporter interviewing him would have used her knee jerk reaction to call him out on it immediately but that is yet part of the larger problem. In her mind, I’m sure she instantaneously weighed the odds and chose against it, knowing she would have to face her own consequences as a female. It’s sadly how it works…but also, being the WNBA players are only appearing for the first time in the game NBA 2k20, just reminds me that the NBA isn’t as progressive as some think.
Speaking of woman-like tendencies, Billy B and I will be chillin’ in the ‘Ville this Thursday to Durand Jones at his old place of employ.
Sure wish ya’ could make it.
Seems to me Morris stopped one step short of saying “fag” which is probably what he wanted to say but knew the reprimand would have been considerably worse had he.
Note: we should also remind everyone at this point that Kobe Bryant once got in deep trouble with the league for shouting that word at another player while on the bench.
My question is, had Morris said that word instead of another in front of a microphone, would the fine have been steeper?
That’s something that I would actually NOT like to see if you catch my drift.
B 2 The Cole…
Fair thought on the video game, I hadn’t heard they were doing that. I wonder how that will sell and how much banter we’ll hear about the woman’s ranking in the games compared to the men’s. We already heat professional athletes gripe about where they rank in video game land, which has to be one of the most firstest world problems ever.
I really tried to work your comment into the post, when we first heard the reporter’s follow up question together, but I figured it would work handily into the comments section.
I am with you for sure. Why did the female reporter at that point not ask what the hell Morris meant by his comments? Maybe she was shocked. Maybe she works in an industry that still caters to the opposite sex. I just can’t help but think had she countered, we might have had a far more electric interview.