Longtime NCAA coach and former player Kermit Davis just left Middle Tennessee State University to start a gig as coach of University of Mississippi’s Ole Miss Rebels men’s basketball squad.
But instead of focusing on his successes in leading his previous team to NCAA tournaments and what strengths he’ll bring to the Ole Miss team, many headlines are focused on the nasty case of who-the-hell-asked-you-itis that Davis came down with.
During his inaugural speech to his new school on Monday, dude felt the need to hop in some very controversial waters for reasons unknown.
“We’re going to try to get easy baskets. We’re going to try to play with great body language,” he said. “We’re going to be a respectful team that respects the flag and the national anthem. All those things from culture is what we’re about. It’s who we’re going to be.”
I’m the definition of a layperson when it comes to coaching men’s college basketball, but I wonder where in the manual it says anything about controlling the ideology of individual players. And apparently, Davis brought up the flag on his own. Literally, nobody asked him about it.
Of course, Twitter had their say on the matter:
Woooo that’s a dogggggggggggg whistle. And ole boy probably should worry about that confederate flag more than anything else. https://t.co/tJexvukkWa
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 20, 2018
The thing is anthem protests haven’t even been an issue in college basketball. Kermit Davis just couldn’t get through one (1) press conference without his racism shining thru lmao
— • (@swilson502) March 20, 2018
Alternate headline: ‘Old, white coach that needs to recruit young, black men to do his job takes a ? on Black Lives Matter.’
That’s on Day 1. Good job, Kermit.
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) March 20, 2018
First off, none of this should surprise anyone. Davis chose to coach a team in Mississippi. Like, have you ever been to Mississippi? If the country were a body, the whole state would be one of those skin tags on your granny’s neck that she’d smack your hand for pulling on as a kid.
All Mississippi is known for is racism, alligators, overly-conservative deodorant usage, and, as of this week, ass-backwards abortion laws. No one actually vacations in Mississippi…we’re all just passing through on our way to New Orleans, stopping only if we’re unfortunate enough to need gas or have to visit loved ones we actually care about who live there. And of course Mississippi’s state flag features a Confederate symbol.
And then there’s Ole Miss itself: It’s confronted a legacy of racism that’s as old as the university, but it still has a long-ass way to go. The name of the damn team is Rebels, it just stopped flying the Confederate flag on its campus in 2015, mainly because of the national condemnation of the flag after a psycho white kid massacred several folks in a Black church while draped in it. Only in 2010 did it replace its mascot General Leb, a straight-up plantation owner who’d be slingin’ all the N-words if he were real. In 2010.
Should it come as any surprise that a 58-year-old white dude born and raised in the dirtiest of southern states should insist that his team – which is loaded with young Black men like damn near every college basketball squad – will without a doubt “respect the flag” and not participate in a nonviolent protest for their rights and personal health?
Same Sh*t, Different Day
There’s also an ass-ton of irony to be found in the fact that a school, whose chancellors and elder statesmen almost certainly have the rebel flag hanging up above the toilets in their homes, has a coach who insists that it will respect the flag of the side who whipped that ass in the Civil War. It’s like one of Saddam Hussein’s still-living children hanging the American flag in the office of her job and insisting that everyone who walks in respects it.
Davis’ bullshit statement is just another in a shamefully long and embarrassing line of white people in power attempting to control Black people who disrupt the nationalism status quo. That Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed while several inferior free agent quarterbacks get gigs is proof of this.
It should enrage anyone who legitimately cares about the constitutionally protected freedom to protest (for all Americans) that professional sports players have to, in some cases, choose between engaging in the most innocuous of protests and securing the bag for their families.
Factor in the fact that NCAA players are at the losing end of one of the grimiest for-profit industries ever, and Davis really should focus more on how he’s going to get past Mississippi State’s defense and less about his players’ political statements. Especially since nobody asked his alabaster-colored ass to begin with.
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. Miraculously, people have paid him to be aggressively light-skinned via a computer keyboard for nearly two decades. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at his own site, wafflecolored.com.