The BBC released an apology this morning after footage of LeBron James was mistakenly included in its news at ten announcement of basketball legend Kobe Bryant's death.
As the global basketball community rallied together last night in total shock at the news of Kobe Bryant and his daughter GiGi, the BBC made a grave mistake that ought to haunt them for a very long time. They mistook two world-class Black athletes on live television as though they were interchangeable because of the colour of their skin.
If this careless ignorance was not hurtful enough, LeBron James' name and number were clearly visible on his BRIGHT YELLOW Lakers jersey in the clip. How many stages of review were neglected before this broadcast was released and why was it brushed under the rug like the BBC simply forgot a name or a date?
Ironically, both Bryant and James were part of the "I Can't Breathe" movement in 2014 following the unjustified death of Eric Garner after he was put in a chokehold by an arresting officer. Now, the same racial prejudice they protested has shown itself once more and its severity is loud.
The basketball superstars were ridiculed by many on social media and in news outlets for not having a clear agenda when they wore the "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts pre-game. But fans stood up, vowing that the NBA All-Stars steered the conversation in the right direction and now the BBC has proven it.
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Online trolls do not have the right to protest racial-equality movements in sports because the conversation and reality of racism makes them uncomfortable. Minority ethnic groups have endured centuries of persecution and torture for the colour of their skin and flow of their bloodline, no more.
Minority athletes are now decades into challenging racism in sports, with the 1972 Olympics Black Power Salute to the recent wave of footballers taking a stand against racial slurs at games, and their voice will continue to be heard.
Bryant brought to the forefront the "tipping point" in inequality that exists between the significance of black lives and police power. But he was just one athlete amongst many who acknowledged that this was just one small facet of the larger argument.
On today, of all days, this is not a conversation we want to be having but it is one that evidently we must have. The colour of an athlete's skin does not make them interchangeable and I am calling for the public and sports community to take a stand for the rights of every single athlete, carry on Kobe's legacy.
Enough with the stereotypes, they lead to dangerous and untruthful generalisations. The notions that black athletes are more talented at basketball because they can jump, or males are more superior and talented than females, and even the stripping of a female athlete's feminity, are all unacceptable.
We are born as individuals; we work hard to perfect our craft as individuals; we walk onto a basketball court, a football pitch, a boxing ring as an individual. Do not broadcast us in any manner other than as individuals with distinct identities. If you can't afford us this respect, this decency, please do not report on us full stop.
As we remember the incredible legacy left behind by Kobe Bryant and the shining light of his daughter GiGi, I am disgusted to have to ask where is the justice?