Stephen Jackson on DeSean Jackson: ‘He’s speaking the truth’

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Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted a quote incorrectly attributed to Adolph Hitler: “because the white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep America’s secret the Jews will blackmail America. They will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.”

That was obviously an insane and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

The Eagles called Jackson’s statements “offensive, harmful, and absolutely appalling.” Jackson apologized. Then apologized again. He also spoke to a rabbi and pledged to educate himself.

Meanwhile, former NBA player Stephen Jackson is defending DeSean Jackson’s initial comments.

Stephen Jackson in a series of Instagram videos (including one deleted):

So I just read a statement that the Philadelphia Eagles posted regarding DeSean Jackson’s comments. He was trying to educate himself, educate people, and he’s speaking the truth, right? He’s speaking the truth. You know he don’t hate nobody, but he’s speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others. But y’all don’t want us to educate ourselves. If it’s talking about the Black race, y’all ain’t saying nothing about it. They killing us. Police killing us and treating us like s—. Racism at an all-time high. But ain’t none of you NFL owners spoke up on that. Ain’t none of you teams spoke up on that. But the same team had a receiver that  said the word, to say n— publicly! And they gave him an extension! I play for the Big3. We have a Jewish owner. He understands where we stand and some of the things we say, but it’s not directed to him. It’s the way we’ve been treated.

With all this I be saying, and all these facts I be saying too, I try to make everything understandable for y’all, how it ain’t rocket science, how it’s simple, right? And it is people that’s on the side with us. It is people that understand what we saying and not hearing to respond or not hearing to debate what we’re saying. It’s a lot of people that’s listening to us that understanding what we’re saying is right and understanding, we’re not saying that to demean another race. We’re saying it to educate people and understand why we’re hurt, why we want equality. And a lot of people know what’s been done to us. They just ain’t never had the conversation and ain’t never had the guts to admit it. I want to salute Steve Kerr for reaching out. I want to salute the coach from Minnesota for reaching out. I want to salute Mark Cuban for reaching out. I want to salute Adam Silver for reaching out. Because they understand. It ain’t about hate. We just want equality.

Let me say this, too, to finish that last message. I don’t give a f— who I offend. Ain’t nobody gave a f—about offending us all this time. Ain’t nobody standing up when people are saying s—, racist s—, about us. So, no. I don’t give a f—about offending nobody. And that’s just what it is. If you know me, you know I love everybody the same way. But what I’m standing for now – if you don’t understand it, then you never knew me. You was just around me for the wrong reasons. Love for all who have love for all. It’s that simple. If you don’t love everybody, then so be it. That’s on you. But I’m looking to offend you. I’m looking to piss you off. The days of you being comfortable and treating people like s—is over. Big facts.

Jackson also posted a since-deleted message that included:

I don’t know  nothing about hitler and didn’t read d jack message. I’m not reading all that fam. [F—] hitler

Stephen Jackson said DeSean Jackson was “speaking the truth.”

How would Stephen Jackson know DeSean Jackson was speaking the truth without even reading what DeSean Jackson posted? That’s an absurd explanation, one way or the other.

At best, Stephen Jackson ignorantly defended DeSean Jackson. If that’s the case, Stephen Jackson should apologize, and we can all move on with Stephen Jackson merely losing credibility for speaking so strongly about something he didn’t even read.

Instead, Stephen Jackson doubles down.

Calling Big3 owner Jeff Kwatinetz one of the good ones doesn’t excuse Stephen Jackson’s offensive remarks. In fact, it’s remarkably similar to how white people sometimes problematically single out black people deemed acceptable. I wish Jackson would see that.

Stephen Jackson has led in the current movement for racial justice. He raises legitimate concerns about people not caring enough racism, including when former Eagles receiver Riley Cooper said the n-word in 2013.

But the Eagles condemned Cooper’s behavior and fined him. Yes, they later gave him a contract extension. Should they have cut him? There’s room for debate on how teams should handle players who say and do wrong things. It’s happening right now with DeSean Jackson.

The solution to bigotry toward black people, though, is not bigotry toward Jews.

Jackson also went astray when he said racism is at an all-time high. That is completely untrue, and saying otherwise demeans everything people have done to reduce racism. There’s still plenty of work left, but there has been SIGNIFICANT progress. That should be recognized.

Lastly, I don’t think Stephen Jackson knows Ryan Saunders’ name.

Report: Udoka used ‘crude language’ with female subordinate prior to improper relationship

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The Boston Celtics handled the Ime Udoka investigation and suspension by the corporate handbook: They kept the woman’s name out of the news, kept details confidential (not even telling the players much for legal reasons), and acted swiftly and decisively.

But as the team on the court starts defending its Eastern Conference title, there has been a concern that details leaking out about the investigations — and responses to those leaks — could turn this into a season-long drama and distraction for the team. That first started on Friday when Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported this:

The independent law firm probe into Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka found that he used crude language in his dialogue with a female subordinate prior to the start of an improper workplace relationship with the woman, an element that significantly factored into the severity of his one-year suspension, sources told ESPN.

Those investigative findings — which described verbiage on Udoka’s part that was deemed especially concerning coming from a workplace superior — contribute to what is likely a difficult pathway back to his reinstatement as Celtics coach in 2023, sources told ESPN.

A few thoughts here.

• “Crude language” is just part of a more detailed and damning report, league sources have told NBC Sports. There is much more uncovered by the independent investigation, including about the power dynamic in play. It was enough that the Celtics thought the best move was to suspend for an entire season a coach loved by players who led the team to the NBA Finals (it’s not something the Celtics organization did lightly).

• As Wojnarowski and others have noted, it’s increasingly unlikely Udoka returns to coach the Celtics next season, even if that is not yet official.

• While some pundits and people around the league have said Udoka is “done,” the NBA has seen unexpected turnarounds before. Never say never in this league.

• About the only sure thing is that this story is not over.

Lillard poised to pass Drexler as Trail Blazers all-time leading scorer

2022-23 Portland Trail Blazers Media Day
Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images
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Damian Lillard could have done what a lot of NBA stars have done — what a lot of them told him to do while recruiting him — and has chosen to stay in Portland. He wants to be remembered as the greatest Trail Blazer ever.

One good way to do that: Become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. Sometime around Thanksgiving or a little after, Lillard will do just that, passing Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler and his 18,040 points (Lillard is 531 back).

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports spoke to Lillard about when he knew the record was within reach, during Trail Blazers training camp in Santa Barbara, California (go Gauchos!). It was when Lillard got to 10,000 points.

“I was like, ‘Damn, I got 10,000 already?’ ” Lillard told Yahoo Sports he recalled at the time. “It was my sixth season in the league. That’s when I started thinking, if I could be consistent, I could score into the high 20,000-point range. As a scorer, 20,000 points is always looked at as a special mark. From that moment, I knew it was possible, but it’s also when I first researched Clyde Drexler’s [scoring] record with the team.”

Drexler is good with being passed by Lillard.

“You and I know records are made to be broken, but I can’t think of a better player or person to break the record than Dame,” Drexler told Yahoo Sports. “He exemplifies being a team player and going about his business in a professional way. I have nothing but admiration and respect for him. When he comes close to getting the record, and if our schedules align, I would love to be there to help out in any way I can. That’s a nice milestone to achieve. I am looking forward to him accomplishing that.”

Lillard is on a lot of front office people’s watch list this season, as in “how long before he is unhappy and asks for a trade?” The thing is, Lillard has been on that list for years and he keeps choosing Portland — he isn’t looking to leave. Of course, the $120 million extension and a retooling of the roster around him helped with that decision, but Lillard always had other options if he wanted them (and at times it felt like he would take them).

The Trail Blazers brought in Jerami Grant, re-signed Anfrenee Simons, and will put them with a solid core of others such as (a finally healthy) Jusuf Nurkic, Josh Hart, Gary Payton II and others. It’s a good roster, the question is how good in a deep West?

There are a lot of questions about how this season shakes out in Portland, but the one seeming sure thing is Lillard becoming the Trail Blazers’ all-time leading scorer. And that seems fitting.

Suns update: Ayton blames Sarver for contract, Crowder conflict, Johnson to start

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Phoenix went to the NBA Finals two seasons ago and had the most wins in the NBA last season, yet dark clouds seem to be blocking out the Suns heading into this NBA season.

Here’s the latest on three situations with the Suns: Deandre Ayton‘s contract frustration, why Jae Crowder is asking out, and who starts at the four now.

• Ayton ended up signing a four-year, $132.9 max contract and will be back with the Suns to start this season, but the road to get there was rocky. The Suns would not offer Ayton a max five-year contract extension, his name kept coming up in Kevin Durant trade rumors, so Ayton went out and got a four-year max offer from the Pacers — which the Suns instantly matched. Phoenix saved $40 million and a guaranteed year, but the process left Ayton a little bitter.

Ayton blames outgoing owner Robert Sarver — a notorious penny pincher as an owner (among other, much worse things) — Marc Spears and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN discussed on NBA Today (hat tip Real GM).

“That is certainly something that caused the ire of him,” said Marc J. Spears. “I was told that it was Robert Sarver who didn’t want to give him that fifth year, who wanted to save the money.”

“My understanding from talking to people close to Deandre is that he thinks this was Robert Sarver’s decision as well. And Robert Sarver’s not going to be the owner anymore. So there is some healing that can happen there. But I know there were some hurt feelings over that contract and how that played out.

“If they were going to instantly match an offer sheet that he signed, why not just give him the max contract? Yes, it saved them a year and $40 million but as somebody close to Deandre told me ‘There’s a karma to this. Why do that to your No. 1 overall pick?'”

Shelburne hit the nail on the head — the NBA is a business, but it’s a business of relationships. Not only did the Suns sour theirs with Ayton, but you can also be sure every other agent around the league noticed how that was handled. It doesn’t help when recruiting players. The eventual new owner, whoever it ends up being, has a lot of work to change the franchise’s perception.

• Jae Crowder remains away from the Suns during training camp awaiting a trade (which reportedly will not be to Dallas). Crowder started 109 games for the Suns during the past two seasons and was a key part of their run to the NBA Finals, so how did things deteriorate so quickly? Marc Stein lays it out in his latest Substack newsletter.

Entering the final season of his current contract at $10.2 million, Jae Crowder let the Suns know that he was seeking a contract extension. League sources say that the Suns’ messaging, in response, was to let Crowder know that, at 32, he was no longer assured of starting or finishing games ahead of Cam Johnson. That gulf between the parties led Crowder to seek an exit from the desert that has landed him on indefinite mutual leave from the team until Phoenix can find a trade for him.

While Miami gets mentioned as a suitor a lot, it’s next to impossible to put together a trade that works for both sides right now (at the trade deadline, maybe, but Crowder isn’t going to be with the Suns that long). Cleveland is currently the hot name in league circles when talking Crowder trades, and Stein also mentions the Milwaukee Bucks, who have been looking for a P.J. Tucker-like replacement for P.J Tucker. But, do any of these teams want to extend Crowder at age 32?

• Suns coach Monty Williams confirmed what Crowder heard — Cameron Johnson will start at the four for the Suns this season.

Johnson brings better shooting to the table — 42.5% last season on 3-pointers — and is more athletic at this point, but Crowder brings better defense, toughness, and veteran savvy that can be trusted in the playoffs. The Suns may miss that when it matters, but Johnson will get the chance to prove us all wrong.

Blake Griffin agrees to join Boston Celtics on one-year deal

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According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Blake Griffin has agreed to join the Boston Celtics on a one-year contract which will be fully guaranteed.

The Celtics were desperate for frontcourt depth following injuries to Danilo Gallinari and Robert Williams, as Luke Kornet was even getting some run with the starting group at training camp.

You do have to wonder just how much the 33-year-old Griffin has left in the tank though. Last season with the Brooklyn Nets, Griffin only managed to play 17.1 minutes per game and his 3-point percentage dropped like a stone to 26%. He was also a major liability on defense, and the Celtics surely know that after Jaylen Brown drove by him with ease time and time again during the postseason.

Griffin was still an effective playmaker and that may make him a good fit with the second unit alongside the likes of Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White and Grant Williams with all of these capable of handling the ball. Injuries and Father Time have zapped Griffin’s athleticism, but if anyone can squeeze the last bit of value out of him, I’d bet on Brad Stevens and the Celtics.