Sometimes people say things out of experience, other times it's out of stupidity. But, as was the case of Atlanta Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, sometimes it's both.
In a polite society, or even an impolite one, it generally isn't a very good idea to say the first thing that pops into one's head. But that wasn't the case for Wilcox during a recent season ticket-holder meet and greet with the Atlanta Hawks front office. No matter if it's funny, informative, or even if you're simply "keeping it real", the inner gatekeeper within our heads usually snags these interpersonal syntax errors before they come tumbling out of our mouths.
But it is when we are at our most comfortable, or our most emotional, that we are subject to saying dumb ish. Here's what a frustrated Wilcox had to say when asked whether he is capable of dealing with fans who question the team's decision-making process.
"I know you guys may be angry with me, but I’m used to it because I have a black wife and three mixed kids, so I’m used to people being angry and argumentative,” Wilcox said.
At first, I chuckled a bit at the testicular measurements required to say such a thing out loud. This incident happened about a month ago but just came to light recently due to a Deadspin story that included testimony from season ticket holder Clarenton Crawford, who was in attendance.
So basically, Wilcox feels like he, as a white male, has the right to call black women angry and argumentative because he is married to one? This has shades of the 2014 incident in which former Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry had some shady things to say about African-born NBA standout Loul Deng.
Also, former Hawks owner Bruce Levenson inaccurately, and quite racist-ly, wrote an email stating that the black fans scared away the whites, and that there weren't enough affluent black fans in Atlanta to build a significant season ticket base.
Similar to Ferry, Wilcox's familiarity with black people appears to have fooled him into believing he could make such all encompassing statements. I'm not one to hold grudges after a sincere apology has been made. But his apology is limp-wristed and devoid of any sincerity.
“At an early December chalk talk, I made a self-deprecating comment at my own expense regarding my family, which is multi-racial," Wilcox said. "This joke offended Mr. (Clarenton) Crawford and his wife and for that, I apologize.”
In his "apology" there is no soul or genuineness to it. Why? I'm not entirely certain.
However, it's very likely that Mr. Wilcox feels he didn't do anything wrong. This is why it is absolutely necessary for individuals to have some semblance of sensitivity and intelligence when speaking on matters of race and gender. Because, if not, you end up saying something stupid. But I don't believe Wilcox is really sorry he threw his own wife and kids under the bus to make a point. He's sorry that Mr. Clarenton heard him and went to the press with those comments.
For the thousandth time, being married to, involved with, or otherwise connected to a black person or black people doesn't give you carte blanche to make blanket racial statements.