While Phil Mushnick scoffed at the New York Times’ page 1 coverage of a treatise on racial bias amongst NBA referees —- and has any sports columnist in the modern age spent as much time dismissing charges of racism as Phil? —- said study gave Hoops Hype’s Dennis Hans an idea or two.
The past few days the big story has been an academic study alleging œsubconscious racism among NBA referees. While I have my doubts about the study and the effect of the supposed bias, there™s no question in my mind that subtle and/or subconscious racism exists elsewhere in the league, particularly in front offices. It may have helped Mike Dunleavy be drafted so highly and for him and Murphy to sign such fat extensions (though to be fair to Chris Mullin, he™s the same dummy that gave an even worse black player, Adonal Foyle, a big pile of dough). It also may have helped Mullin “ who now had Nellie imparting player-evaluation wisdom into his head “ unload the duo on Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh.
Were the Pacers looking to get whiter, or merely slower and duller, as befitting a Rick Carlisle-coached team? Given the extenuating circumstances “ the fallout and hangover from Stephen Jackson™s occasional poor behavior “ and their long track record, I would certainly absolve Bird and Walsh of even a hint of overt racism, though there may have been a touch of the subconscious stuff at play.