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Fearless: Whitlock schools Jalen Rose on real reason Kevin Love named to Olympic basketball team

Op-ed
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Jalen Rose's ignorant comment smearing white NBA player Kevin Love as a "token" member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team is just another example of why ESPN's athletes-turned-broadcasters need to shut up and drivel.

They should drivel about Xs and Os, not complex societal or racial issues.

Rose is well beyond his depth. He wants to be provocative, edgy, and militant. He failed.

Earlier this week, USA Basketball announced that Love, a veteran power forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, would be added to the 12-man Olympic roster. On his ESPN podcast, Rose slammed the decision.

"Kevin Love is on the team because of tokenism," the former NBA player said. "Don't be scared to make an all-black team representing the United States of America. I'm disappointed by that. … Anybody that watched the league this year knows Kevin Love did not have a stellar season, was not the best player on his team, and did not necessarily deserve to be on this squad."

In an injury-marred season, Love, 32, played just 25 games and averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds. It's the worst season of his career.

But USA Basketball isn't doing Kevin Love any favor by placing him on the team. Love, more than likely, is doing USA Basketball a favor by agreeing to play on the team.

Here's why: Since the 2016 Summer Olympics ended in mid-August, American sports changed dramatically as it relates to patriotism and the issue of race. About a week after the 2016 Olympics, Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem. He sparked a fad that is still with us to this day.

The 2016 men's Olympic basketball team featured 12 black players and no white players. USA Basketball had no fear of an all-black team before Kaepernick. Now it does. Its fear is driven by concern for the reputation of the 11 black players on the roster and the NBA's domestic popularity.

Because of Kaepernick, social media pressure, and Black Lives Matter pandering, the men's Olympic basketball team will be under enormous pressure to do some sort of anti-American protest during the Games. The smart, well-intentioned people who run USA Basketball don't want an all-black team of ungrateful, pampered millionaires protesting America on the world's biggest stage. That would be terrible optics and a nightmare scenario for the NBA.

USA Basketball needs an ungrateful, pampered white millionaire player willing to take one for the team. Options are limited. The best white players hail from faraway countries and wouldn't be dumb enough to take a dump on the country that made them filthy rich. Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Domantas Sabonis, Nikola Vucevic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic.

The best white American-born player, Gordon Hayward, injured his foot in April. He's had a rash of injuries. He's not going to risk his rehabilitation by rushing back to play in the Olympics.

So here are your other take-one-for-the-team white candidates: Joe Harris, J.J. Redick, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Kevin Huerter, and Alex Caruso.

Oh, Olympic head coach Gregg Popovich, who is white, could take one for the team. Popovich pretends to be a woke warrior. But the 1970 Air Force Academy Soviet studies graduate and intelligence operative draws the line at protesting during the national anthem. Pop will pour out some liquor for fentanyl activist Rev. George Floyd King Jr., but that's as far as Pop will go.

You starting to understand why Kevin Love makes perfect sense?

His reputation is sturdy. He's earned nearly $200 million. He's savvy and experienced enough to handle any questions the NBA approves an American journalist asking. Love is the NBA's Joe Biden. He's the perfect Manchurian candidate.

Jalen Rose is incapable of deducing what's really driving Olympic decision-making. Plus, he likes to race-bait. Many black men who are guilt-ridden about marrying outside their race mask their guilt with public militancy.

I have zero problem with interracial relationships. None. My problem is with the hypocrites who pretend to dislike the white tree while pleasuring themselves with the fruit. Cut it out.

Kevin Love does not deserve to have his Olympic experience smeared so that Jalen Rose can sound like a tough guy on a podcast. It's unfair to Love. He's doing his NBA brethren a solid.

One last point. Rose is arguing for merit to be the lone criteria for selection to the Olympic team. OK. I like it.

But someone from ESPN's diversity and inclusion department might want to reach out to Mr. Rose and re-explain the Worldwide Leader's position on hiring. Merit takes a backseat to equity.

ESPN, put a muzzle on your race-baiters. They're not nearly as bright as they think they are.
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