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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Binghamton Basketball Controversy

I read on article about Binghamton (a SUNY campus) basketball player D.J. Rivera, who led his conference in scoring, being left off the America East all-conference team because the league's coaches (who select the team)were "protesting the recruiting practices of Binghamton coach Kevin Broadus, who has been bringing in players with, um, questionable backgrounds." (,146880) Both Rivera and Broadus are black, while the majority of coaches and players in the league are white.

The irony of using the verb "blackball" in the headline and article is apparently lost on the writer.

Rivera, a transfer from St. Joseph’s who was academically ineligible for a semester last year, did not have to sit out a season because of the NCAA’s hardship waiver rule. That didn't sit well with other coaches. And Broadus has recruited other (black) players transferring from schools where they've run into academic or disciplinary problems.

Quoting from a Feb. 21 New York Times article by Pete Thamel (

Broadus, 45, said that his players had been “exceptional in the classroom” and that giving young men a second chance was part of his job. He referred to Georgetown’s acceptance of Allen Iverson [when Broadus was an assitant coach there] despite an arrest in high school for his part in a bowling alley brawl.

“Who knows how any of these kids are going to turn out?” Broadus said.

“Look back at Georgetown. Allen Iverson has been a model citizen in America. He’s taken care of his family and is playing well in the N.B.A. We’re in the business of giving kids opportunities to better themselves in life. That’s my job.”

The changes at Binghamton have been noticed by the America East, whose teams rarely make money or appear on national television. When the league’s faculty athletic representatives meet, they talk about modeling themselves after the Ivy and Patriot Leagues, not the Big East or the Southeastern Conferences.

Jim Fiore, the athletic director at Stony Brook, said, “It certainly causes you to pause when you think that on a different level in the league, someone has a different philosophy than we do.”

Broadus, however, does not answer to the conference.

“I’m running my program, and my administration is happy the way I’m running it,” Broadus said.

“I tolerate no nonsense with any of these kids and I’m doing it the right way.”

I think the reference to "the Ivy League and Patriot League" is especially telling, as both are predominately white in sports as well as overall.

One other note: none of the three articles I read on this matter mentioned race, instead leaving photos of black, tattooed players and a black coach to tell that part of the story.


Eddie said...

Is everything about race when a black dude is involved. You can hide behind race but I think that that is racist on itself. Man up and come upwith an original argument and substantiate your claims. Not everything is about race. Thank God I will never be a pussy and hide behind my race. Go cry a river somewhere else.

Steve McGlamery said...

Thanks for participating in the conversation, Eddie. Yes, race IS an important part of the equation in about everything, IMO. It is in the air we breathe and the water we swim in. When I hear "the Ivy League and Patriot League" mentioned as reference groups, that to me is coded language for mostly white, mostly middle-upper to upper class, with the style of play and cultural expectations that go with that. What you are doing is playing the "race card card" by accusing the one who brings up race as being racist for supposedly playing the race card. Playing the race card card shuts down all further conversation about race, insisting that it is irrelevant and that it be ignored, thereby allowing the unacknowledged privileges of being white to be perpetuated, unchallenged. That's my take anyway. We are each entitled to our own.