One of the more attractive aspects of sports for many is the idea that in athletics, it’s actions that carry the day over words.
Every so often, however, an athlete’s words far outpace his on-field performance and force us to take stock of what’s been said and done.
Andre Iguodala is a reserve player with the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. He’s been a solid, if not spectacular player through his 13-year career, making an All-Star team once and winning a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team in London five years ago.
However, it’s Iguodala’s two years with the Warriors that has placed him into the public consciousness at a level admittedly below that of his teammate, Stephen Curry, but above anonymity.
Iguodala was the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals two years ago when Golden State defeated Cleveland to win the franchise’s first title in 40 years.
Along the way, Iguodala has become an intriguing voice on a variety of topics, not always hewing to the company line.
After saying four years ago that he hoped to own a franchise in the WNBA, Iguodala reportedly said to the mother of his daughter that he didn’t want his daughter to play basketball out of a fear that the child would become a lesbian.
It’s worth noting that the comments emerged from child support hearings and that Iguodala said he was expressing empathy for the plight WNBA players he knows who are lesbians have endured.
However, there was no confusion about Iguodala’s remarks last Friday.
After the Warriors lost to Minnesota Thursday, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr announced that Iguodala, Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson would not play Saturday in San Antonio.
None of the players are injured, but Kerr elected to sit the quartet to give them rest in the midst of a quirky road trip.
When asked if he knew about his benching, Iguodala pithily said quote Nope. No clue. I do what master say unquote.
Not merely content to rest with the explosive slave/master analogy, Iguodala uttered the n-word three times in response to questions about the Warriors’ scoring woes, using it after the word dumb each time.
During a Saturday night telecast of the Golden State-San Antonio game, former coach turned broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy decried that he, as a white person, could not say what Iguodala, a black man, said without penalty.
Van Gundy is correct about the double standard attached to what many consider to be the most offensive of racial affronts.
The n-word is taboo to any white person, but is a centerpiece of much of hip-hop culture and a regular part of the everyday idiom of many young African-Americans, blissfully ignorant of its vicious history and hideous impact.
Andre Iguodala is 33 years old and a college graduate. He won’t be fined or suspended, but someone should make him aware that words, or in this case, an ugly word, do speak louder than actions.
And that’s how I see it for this week.