(HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT)
A pair of Oregon Ducks players, F Dwayne Benjamin and F Jordan Bell, held their hands at chest level during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” prior to last Saturday’s home tilt with Ole Miss, then proceeded to frisk each other during player introductions. While the school’s press & information office failed to make either player available for questions after the game, their head coach, Dana Altman (above), tells the Oregonian’s Tyson Alger he’s not cool with the gesture :
Altman said he didn’t know the two players had planned the demonstration, though said he talked to them about it after.
“I think every player has a right to express their opinion, however I didn’t think that was the time and place for it,” Altman said. “On their own as individuals, they have that right. As part of our basketball team, when you put the Oregon jersey on, it’s a little different. So, I think there’s a time and place for everything. I don’t think that was the appropriate time.”
I’d be fascinated to learn when Altman considers the right time or place to take a public stand against civil rights violations, racial profiling or the indiscriminate use of deadly force. These are the sort of issues far more likely to impact the friends, peers and family members of Benjamin and Bell than say, a white, 56 year old D1 college basketball coach.