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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / February 24.
  • Redick Doesn’t Buy Perceptions of White Players

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    NEW YORK — J.J. Redick is aware of the widespread perceptions of white basketball players.

    They are generally described as slower, less athletic and less “talented” than their African-American counterparts.

    “I don’t buy into all that,” he said after scoring 7 points in the Magic’s 114-102 victory Sunday over the Knicks at MSG. “There’s perceptions, obviously, if you’re a white player. I think you just deal with it from the time you’re 8 on. It’s second nature, you don’t think about it.

    “There’s a perception, who cares? Let’s move on.”

    Redick played for Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was told by a reporter after Friday’s win here against UConn that ESPN announcer Doug Gottlieb had called his team — which starts three white players — “alarmingly unathletic.”

    “I don’t think they really care what Doug Gottlieb says, to be honest with you,” Redick said.

    When told of the comments after Friday’s win, Coach K said:  “He [Gottlieb] should be an expert on alarmingly non-athletic. So I’ll have to take a look at that a little bit closer because it comes from an expert who actually knows what it feels like to be alarmingly non-athletic.

    “Actually, we’re pretty athletic; we’re just not as athletic as UConn. [Kyle] Singler is a really good athlete…But I wouldn’t call us like this athletic team, but we’re not amazingly non-athletic. And I would rather not get into a discussion with Doug because I have respect of his stature and he should have his arguments with people of similar stature. That would be a good thing.”

    Duke point guard Jon Scheyer said that Duke is considered “unathletic” because it features several white players.

    “Without saying too much I think that’s a possibility,” he said. “I think there’s definitely a thought of that. We have some really athletic [white] guys like Miles and Mason [Plumlee], for example, and I don’t really hear people talking about them being great athletes. So I don’t know what that means. But I do know that.”

    Redick added that the Plumlee brothers and Singler are all pretty athletic.

    “I think Kyle Singler’s a pretty good athlete,” Redick said. “I’ve seen some dunk mix tapes of Mason and Miles, they look pretty athletic to me.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • Why put words in Jon Scheyer’s mouth? I think you can make your point about the race/athleticism issue without twisting his words. According to the quotes you’ve posted in at least two articles, Scheyer never used the word “white”. Not once. He did (tentatively) agree with the theory that was put forth to him, but he used very qualified language. Yet you made a headline out of it, and flat-out attributed a belief to him that he never truly stated: “Duke point guard Jon Scheyer said that Duke is considered ”unathletic” because it features several white players.”

      It’s a shame you feel the need to drag Scheyer into a potential controversy, because there could be some actual substance to this discussion. But it won’t be framed that way as long as rabble-rousing is the angle that’s taken.

    • Scheyer was asked if Duke is considered “unathletic” because they have white players. He responded: “Yeah, that definitely could be.”

      He then added:

      “Without saying too much I think that’s a possibility. I think there’s definitely a thought of that. We have some really athletic [white] guys like Miles and Mason [Plumlee], for example, and I don’t really hear people talking about them being great athletes. So I don’t know what that means. But I do know that.”

      He made the comments to several national media outlets, including Fox, ESPN and SI.

      http://msn.foxsports.com/cbk/story/10440300/It-might-not-look-like-it,-but-Blue-Devils-have-athletes

      Where is the rabble rousing you speak of? Seems like it’s in your comment more than anywhere else.

      • What white players lack in “athleticism” they make up for in “intelligence” and an astounding ability to play the game the “right way”. I think it’s an even trade, no?

      • I’m not disputing that he said what he said. I’m saying that the way you’re framing his comments is the rabble-rousing. The headlines (and tweets) have made it sound as if Scheyer made a pronouncement on the perception of white players. The truth is that he was asked about it, seems to have tried to avoid directly answering the question, and then landed in the headlines, anyway.

        I haven’t heard audio of the Q&A, so I’m going strictly on the quotes that you (and Jeff Goodman) published. But for him to say “definitely could be”, “there’s a thought of that” and “that’s a possibility” is not the same thing as “Duke point guard Jon Scheyer said that Duke is considered ”unathletic” because it features several white players.”

        But the more egregious offense, in my opinion, is your addition of the “[white]” in the other quote: “We have some really athletic [white] guys like Miles and Mason [Plumlee], for example, and I don’t really hear people talking about them being great athletes.” Why add the word if he didn’t specifically say it? Why not let readers interpret his meaning for themselves?

    • SLarkins,

      Do you realize what a boneheaded and prejudiced comment you made? “Make up for with intelligence and doing things the right way” implies that: 1) White players always have those attributes and 2) Black players don’t have those qualities equal to white players

      ______________________________________________________________
      What white players lack in “athleticism” they make up for in “intelligence” and an astounding ability to play the game the “right way”. I think it’s an even trade, no?

      • WildcatMarc23:

        I don’t think you got what SLarkins was saying. I “think” what he was getting at is that generalizations exist (positive and negative) about both black players and white players. He was simply pointing out that white players are not the only victims of unfair and offensive generalizations. As for Mr. Zagoria, I agree that he should include (I only saw the article above that covered Redick’s comments and mentioned Scheyer’s earlier statements NOT the earlier Scheyer article) the context of the quotes in his article. By this, I mean, that it would be stronger journalism and less tabloid-like to mention that the quote was in response to a reporter’s question and not an unsolicited statement on the subject. However, I do not agree that inserting “[white]” in the article is improper. The practice of bracketing words not specifically in a quote for clarity is commonplace and an acceptable practice in journalism to the best of my knowledge. Just because the subject is controversial does not make Mr. Zagoria’s use of brackets improper as long as he accurately represented the context of the quote. That being said, I think it is obvious that Mr. Zagoria correctly used the bracketed word to clarify the gist of Scheyer’s statement.

    • We still got hockey …..till they pry my stick from my cold dead hands …..just kidding hahaha ….

    • WildcatMarc23:

      I don’t think you got what SLarkins was saying. I “think” what he was getting at is that generalizations exist (positive and negative) about both black players and white players. He was simply pointing out that white players are not the only victims of unfair and offensive generalizations. As for Mr. Zagoria, I agree that he should include (I only saw the article above that covered Redick’s comments and mentioned Scheyer’s earlier statements NOT the earlier Scheyer article) the context of the quotes in his article. By this, I mean, that it would be stronger journalism and less tabloid-like to mention that the quote was in response to a reporter’s question and not an unsolicited statement on the subject. However, “livehead16” I do not agree that inserting “[white]” in the article is improper. The practice of bracketing words not specifically in a quote for clarity is commonplace and an acceptable practice in journalism to the best of my knowledge. Just because the subject is controversial does not make Mr. Zagoria’s use of brackets improper as long as he accurately represented the context of the quote. That being said, I think it is obvious that Mr. Zagoria correctly used the bracketed word to clarify the gist of Scheyer’s statement.

    • pasta-

      That may have been the only post of yours that I’ve ever read and actually enjoyed. That was a good one. Props to you. No joking, either.

      There are 2 ways to handle a situation like this: take offense to it (livehead) or laugh about it (pasta). I prefer the latter. For a nation that’s come so far in terms of race relations, we sure do have a long way to go. And I don’t mean that in the sense that most people think of.

      I don’t think that people understand that it’s OKAY to laugh at yourself every once in a while. I’m white, and have many friends who are black. We honestly sat around one time and tried to figure out why people tried to be “politically correct” by referring to black people as “African American”. They’re not African American; they’re AMERICAN, plain and simple. I don’t get offended when people call me “white”. Why do people feel as though calling someone “black” is offensive?

      People say whites are unathletic? So what? I think that’s funny. It doesn’t bother me one bit. When I played basketball in high school with my aforementioned friends, they’d laugh at the fact that all I did was bomb trifectas all the time. You know why? I’d get swatted every time I tried to take it to the trees. And plenty of swats were accompanied with a friendly “Get it that out of my house, white boy!” and laughs.

      My point is this: many people who try so hard to “fix” racial tension in the U.S. are only making it worse, in my opinion. Racial differences don’t need “fixing”. Everybody knows I’m white, everybody knows Kobe is black. Kinda tough to hide. There’s not too much to fix. Granted, I do realize that there is a very distinct line between embracing racial differences and racism itself, but I don’t think that this is one of them.

      Okay, well I’ll hop of the soapbox now… gotta go try and pry the hockey stick from pasta’s hands…

    • PS-

      I wonder why JessieWildcat never refers to Duke as “GangsterU”?

      Only kidding…

    • The situation with Dook and that lacross thing is concerning.

      The many,many Dook lawyers involved in that case was a significant number.

      Is Dook making more of an effort ? Yes. (with all various type players.)
      But, Recruits have to trust you and be able to relate to the coaches.
      How effective is the coaching staff in this area?

      Dook “WhiteChocolate U”….

      • JessieWildcat:

        What Duke “lacrosse thing” are you referring to that “is concerning?”

        • JessieWildcat:

          Are you referring to the case involving an African American woman who fabricated (putting it nicely) a story about how she was raped by three (innocent) white Duke students whose names were dragged through the mud for months until ultimately being exonerated?

          What is your point in bringing that up?