In the June installment of HBO's Real Sports Tuesday evening, host Bryant Gumbel and a supporting cast of progressives looked down their noses at whites and conservatives while discussing the racial tsunami sweeping over America. There was no shortage of accusations -- including slavery -- aimed at white people, and Gumbel closed the program by claiming African Americans pay a "black tax" year in and year out.
In his opening remarks, Gumbel spoke of a perfect storm and said the sports world is in chaos and buffeted by global forces beyond control.
Those associated with Gumbel's monthly program "are feeling strangely unmoored" and trying to figure out how to deal with the coronavirus and racism. His solution to all this is to listen to his parade of Black Lives Matter-supporting guests.
Early on in the hour, Gumbel (appearing in photo above) interviewed Los Angeles Clippers basketball coach Doc Rivers, who invoked the "S" word in the present tense:
"I don't think America understands what we go through on a daily basis. We live in a country of slavery. And yet we don't talk about it. It makes us uncomfortable."
Maya Wiley, an activist and the senior vice president for Social Justice at The New School, in New York, appeared in a brief exchange with Gumbel, too. She said the coronavirus crisis shows whites that the people on the front line are largely black and Latino. They are losing their lives to the virus and to police violence.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was a friend of the late George Floyd, also had a harsh message for white folks:
"To my white brothers, I love you. Every race here, I love you. But it comes to a point now, where if you love me, and you not standing on the side of me, then your love don't mean shit."
Steve Kerr, the white coach of the Golden State Warriors, tells Gumbel that whites must look way back and try to "learn the real history of the African American experience and why what happened 400 years ago still impacts the lives of African Americans today."
Gumbel complains to author Malcolm Gladwell that the silence of NFL owners speaks volumes. Gladwell responds that they are "probably the least progressive group of white guys in America," they make their entire living "off the hard work of young, black men" and they ought to align themselves with black players' interests.
Assailing the sport of pro golf, Bryant says the public image of PGA touring pros is that of "privileged white guys who are way right of center and don't give a damn about the concerns of black folks." David Feherty, a white golf broadcaster, agrees with him.
Former tennis great Billie Jean King assures us that we as a nation have an opportunity to achieve equality -- but only for the first time.
Finishing the program with his black tax matters commentary, Gumbel says it is not an IRS thing:
"... It's the added burden that comes with being black in America and its routinely paid. No matter how much education you have, how much money you make, or how much success you've earned. The 'Black tax' is about more than just the added stares, whispers and suspicions when you're out and about. It's about the many instances of disrespect and incivility your color seems to engender. Being expected to somehow always restrain yourself, lest you not be what white Americans are never asked to be, a credit to your race."
Gumbel says he and every person of color in the U.S. pay the black tax daily, he's been paying it for 72 years and it is exhausting trying to "explain the obvious to the clueless," he moans.