76ers' Doc Rivers Uses Training Camp to Teach Players About Racism

October 5th, 2022 2:43 PM

This season, the Philadelphia 76ers training camp isn't just being used as a time to prepare for the 2022-23 NBA season; it’s also serving as a time to indoctrinate players in progressive ideologies.

Head coach Doc Rivers is prioritizing teaching players and staff about the racism that has been a part of American history, and telling his players that politicians that operate by the slogan “America First” don’t have black people’s best interests in mind.

“When you hear, ‘America First,’ that scares me, because I’m a Black man and that’s not including me,” Rivers said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I want us to all be included. I want us all to function with each other.”

Mind you, this is coming from a guy that spent 15 years playing in the NBA, won a title as the skipper of the Boston Celtics in 2008, and has spent over two decades in the league coaching some of the most iconic franchises in the sport -- and is now telling a group of people that make millions in the same league he has thrived in that somehow America purposefully excludes them from succeeding. 

If “America First” was really a slogan for a society that excluded black people from having the same opportunities as other demographics, none of these men would be in this position.

But Rivers seems set on convincing them that because they’re black, they’re still victims of oppression based on what some of their ancestors experienced hundreds of years ago. The 76ers skipper even took team personnel on a field trip to the Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, SC, to learn about the slave population that existed there hundreds of years ago.

Rivers said he wanted to incorporate this as part of his offseason experience because it’s not mainstream content in public school history classes.

Related: Richmond Schools Reject Youngkin's Policy For Parental Voice In Education

“Teaching American history is under assault right now. And it’s not Black history or teaching about slavery, it’s American history,” Rivers said. “And so I was amazed. The first thing that I was taught the other day was, how many players, and not only players, coaches, came up to me and said, ‘Wow, I never was taught that in my history class.'”

Rivers might not realize it, but what he is doing is actually a microcosm of how American history is being radically altered. Rivers, like most public school education systems, is teaching that America is a country that was founded upon slavery and that the nation as a whole still operates on this reality. While the United States certainly has had periods where certain parts of the country engaged in the shameful practice of slavery, the language written in our Constitution and the general trajectory of our country has been one in which we have sought to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans. 

Have we been perfect? No. Do we need to dwell on the past and make black people feel like victims in the present? No. Do we need to make an NBA training camp a place where this lie is perpetuated?

Apparently, Rivers thinks so.