Kyle Korver, a player for the NBA's Utah Jazz, wrote an op-ed for The Players Tribune calling for other white people to take responsibility for the "sins of our forefathers."
Who is Kyle Korver? Korver is a longtime player who has played on five teams since he entered the league in 2003. He was a member of the Atlanta Hawks along with guard Thabo Sefolosha in 2015. Sefolosha had his leg broken by police during an arrest outside a club in New York City.
Sefolosha was not convicted of any crime and received $4 million in a settlement of his lawsuit over false arrest and excessive force from the city. But that incident stuck with Korver and led him to write this op-ed.
What point is he trying to make? Korver said he felt guilty that after Sefolohsa's arrest, his initial reaction was to blame Sefolosha before figuring out all the facts.
That, coupled with recent incidents of Utah Jazz fans allegedly hurling racial insults to players, led Korver to acknowledge that while he can choose to be an ally to oppressed minorities, he also has the privilege as a white man of opting out of that battle and ignoring any injustice. Korver writes:
What I'm realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I'm still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I'm given that choice — I'm granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin.
What's his solution? Korver wrote that he believes he needs to begin holding other white men accountable both for misdeeds and for "inaction" that "can create a safe space for toxic behavior."
Additionally, Korver said that while white people of today aren't technically guilty of the racist sins of their ancestors, they should bear some responsibility for the damage that was done.
As white people, are we guilty of the sins of our forefathers? No, I don't think so.
But are we responsible for them? Yes, I believe we are.
And I guess I've come to realize that when we talk about solutions to systemic racism — police reform, workplace diversity, affirmative action, better access to healthcare, even reparations? It's not about guilt. It's not about pointing fingers, or passing blame.
It's about responsibility.