April 28, 2014

Hash Tag Mining: NBA Clippers vs. Owner Donald Sterling

DeAndre Jordan Clippers protest

We’re a black league, Ernie. We are a black league.

— Charles Barkeley, TNT Halftime Crew. Excerpt from TV conversation about Donald Sterling’s racist remarks

If you’re a basketball fan, chances are you’re sickened by the remarks attributed to the LA Clipper owner that has gripped the sports world and thrown his team into shock in the midst of a playoff run. Instagram hashtag feeds can get pretty redundant but there are a number of images that stand out at #laclippers reflecting on this controversy while the sports world waits to see how the league responds.


A popular photo-illustration, because it’s Tinsel Town, is a faux movie poster of team leader Chris Paul, starring in “12 Years a Clipper.”


There are plenty of shots of the team’s symbolic protest yesterday, wearing their warm up tops inside-out to hide the team’s name before the shellacking they took in Oakland, the players obviously off balance.


With members of the organization apparently humiliated as well, this image was posted on the team’s official Instagram site at game time. Appealing for unity with the hashtag “OneTeamOneGoal,” it features the Clipper’s Jamal Crawford high-fiving J.J. Reddick, the team’s one white starter. Both are wearing their shirts in protest mode, Reddick’s arm taped with the black arm bands the team also wore. And, in the background, we see the team’s assistant coaches, Tyronn Lue and Alvin Gentry.

These two guys, photographed at the game yesterday, were also a popular feature:


The most eloquent offering I saw, however, was the one leading the post from Clipper’s center DeAndre Jordan’s feed. Black for mourning. Black for protest. Black for negation. Black, as in: no players, no Showtime. Black in defiance — as much as Sterling doesn’t want blacks in “his” arena (at least, not consorting with his half-black, half-Latina mistress). But mostly it’s black because that’s the issue: being black.

(photo 1: DeAndre Jordan/Instagram photo 2: various/Instagram photo 3: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press – The Score/Instagram photo 4: LAClippers/Instagram photo 5: various/Instagram)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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