The Fray Won't Wait
Well, they did it. Or as Eric joked, we did it. Last night, long after the East coast had gone to bed, the following tweet-string came across the official Steve Nash account:
RT @RealGranthill33: RT @loyaloneforlife: @JaredDudley619 unite the city in light of what is going with the government immigration issues.And the hashtag, present only on Hill's tweet: #sportsuniteeveryone.
First, the play-by-play. Can't decide if this is more chain of evidence, Tinkers-Evers-Chance, or espionage plot. Jared Dudley tweets it first, but now it's gone from his account. Then comes Amar'e's manager (or something like that), then Hill, and finally Nash. Nash is, of course, the big fish—if you recall, Eric Freeman and myself spent a while trying to figure out if that expectation was reasonable or even founded. The pressure never came, but he did say something. Then again, with thousands in the streets, it was no longer a principled outsider piping up in a vacuum. That hashtag suggests a desire to both keep it cool while expressing solidarity with the protesters.
Twitter activism—what does it mean? Makes you long for the days of text message relationships.
I would also like to call your attention to my slightly fantastical suggest, over the weekend, the Stern would be the one to voice disapproval. MLB's players have that vested interest, the D-Backs owner to go up against, and too strong a case for the league itself to ignore. Maybe "sports issues" are totally fragmented, mattering only on a sport-by-sport basis. But this brings together several interests of recent Stern: Latinos, "vulnerable" conservatives, and maybe even his own politics. It was crazy, so I was told by someone who knows this stuff better than I, but at the time, it made a certain amount of sense to me. Stern is the master of the withering aside and the veiled threat. This would have been his stage, where the difference between his shadowy business interests and vaguely uplifting initiatives might start to dissolve.
So, up to the minute, where do we stand? Judging from the Twit-chives, Dudley has apparently dropped out—that's in keeping with my sense that's it's always danger for unestablished black players to get a rep as too political. Travis King, Amar'e's dude, fits with the "hey, doesn't this seem like something Stoudemire would be moved to speak on." Remembering, of course, that he's shown a marked interest in not standing still and shutting up—one that's only deepened with age. Grant Hill is bright, worldly, and sensible. That hashtag has his fingerprints all over it, as coverage for a grown man's obvious outrage at what's happening. But again, only with the marches does this position become tenable, as in "they started the fire." And Nash, well, he's piggy-backing.
I hope someone does some follow-ups on this. Here, I'll say that again, AZ folks: I HOPE SOMEONE DOES SOME FOLLOW-UPS HERE. I don't really know what I'm looking for here. Some clarity? An indication that these athletes are in on this issue between RT-ing? Of course, this was the easy part, and the crowds in the streets were analogous to the crowds in the stands. They buoyed athlete solidarity, and however briefly, defused the "going against the people" concerns. Still, though, I would like to see them say more. Nash has stepped up. Hill is unimpeachable. Amar'e can leverage his return, if he really wants. Are these more likely options than a snide series of utterances from Stern? No idea, but I like to think this just got a lot more interesting.
This might comfort or further inflame you: Bill Russell, longform as ever. Also, Thunder farewell post with theological underpinnings, and much Jazz.