In an Undefeated feature story on Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers, author Roger Reeves slammed America as a nation that prefers its African Americans dead in this “killing season.” Rivers is labeled anti-American, but only in the spirit of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Cong. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for regarding the nation as one that peddles a lie of freedom to the world.
Reeves contended that Americans love watching Black people like Rivers fall. They also enjoyed seeing failed princes like Ali, who was sentenced to five years in prison after refusing to serve in the Army. Other failed princes include Black Panther Huey Newton (convicted of manslaughter in the 1967 shooting death of a police officer), who was shot dead in Oakland by a Black activist. Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were murdered. They all “became too uppity, wanted too much for themselves or their people,” Reeves writes, adding:
“America prefers its Black men and women dead. And, if not dead, low. Abject. Strung out. And if none of these options are available, then, at least, failed. In that place where we can say, ‘I told you so’ or ‘That’s just the way it is’ or ‘That’s just the way they are’ or ‘That’s their problem. They always squander opportunities.’ ”
Failure feeds the American ego, Reeves said.
All of this led into a focus on Rivers (appearing in above photo), a man who is real and doesn’t wear a figurative mask. A few months ago, Rivers told reporters, “We love this country, but this country does not love us back.”
The coach made these remarks right after Kenosha, Wisconsin police shot and crippled alleged sex offender Jacob Blake and the sports world shut down for brief boycotts. To Reeves, it was also a time when fearmongers at the Republican National Convention whipped up sentiment about “unruly and riotous Black folks.”
Rivers was a Black face asking the United States to become the myth of itself, said Reeves. He’s also a coach who was previously fired by the Los Angeles Clippers despite a high level of success. To Reeves, it was a matter of Rivers being his best “while being whipped and castigated.”
A few years ago, the NBA removed Donald Sterling as owner of the Clippers for making racist remarks. Rivers had vowed not to coach the team if the owner remained, and Reeves compares him to Ali refusing to fight the Viet Cong. Rivers’ refusal to coach under a racist owner evinces the opposite of ego.
The Undefeated story said Rivers “should not have to always address the racial unrest and unfair treatment of Black folks in America," he should only have to coach basketball.
Reeves interjected that he hears and sees the exhaustion of men and women who must excel in a world that wants to kill them. “They, we, must be excellent in dodging death and addressing ourselves to freedom. To be and be and be.”
Rivers really has it tough because he must coach against a hateful America and his NBA rivals.