January 20, 2010
A former pro wrestling promoter — man, we should just stop there — is starting an all-Caucasian basketball league that hopes to start some sweet two-hand passing in June.
According to a press release from the All-American Basketball Alliance, "only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league."
But don't worry! Don "Moose" Lewis, the "commissioner" of the new AABA, says the reasoning behind the league's roster restrictions has nothing to do with blatant racism.
From The Augusta Chronicle:
"There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," he said. "I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."
Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas'(notes) indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans' dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.
"Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."
The Atlanta-based league, which will operate as a single-entity owning all of its teams, is looking for local contacts to pay $10,000 to become a "licensee" in one of 12 cities throughout the Southeast. Thankfully, Augusta, Ga., Mayor Deke Copenhaver has already declined the "invitation," which was probably printed with white ink on white paper:
"As a sports enthusiast, I have always supported bringing more sporting activities to Augusta," he said. "However, in this instance I could not support in good conscience bringing in a team that did not fit with the spirit of inclusiveness that I, along with many others, have worked so hard to foster in our city."
But back to Lewis' comments above. "Fundamental basketball," "street-ball," "guns," "grabbing their crotch" ... The Sporting Blog is spot on: Has there ever been so much racial coding in so few paragraphs?
Here's the thing: If "Moose" was actually worried about the quality of play, then he'd start a league where the rules were different — i.e. no dunking, you have to pass the ball at least three times per possession, mandatory Mark Eaton-like beards — not a league that's limited to the color of one's skin.