Sports Outside the Beltway

Graceless, yes. But antisemitic?

I saw the headline CBA coach Richardson suspended for remarks and wondered what happened.

“I’ve got big-time lawyers,” Richardson said, according to the Times Union. “I’ve got big-time Jew lawyers.”

When told by the reporters that the comment could be offensive to people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, he responded with, “Are you kidding me? They are. They’ve got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They’re real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they’ve got to be crafty.”

And he continued, “They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?” he said. “Which I think is great. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they’re run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they’re run by Jewish. It’s not a knock, but they are some crafty people.”

If he left off the last part I would have had less of a problem with the statements. The earlier statements were certainly graceless, but I don’t see them as being antisemitic. He didn’t say “people hate Jews because they’re crafty” but the other way around. Plus using “Jew” as an adjective is often done in antisemitic rants. While “Jews are crafty” is certainly a stereotype is it necessarily bigotry?

And even the last part when he says that Jews own corporations. He seems to be saying it admiringly. It’s a bit awkward for sure. But is it antisemitism? Al Sharpton’s said a lot worse and hasn’t paid a political price. I don’t see why Michael Ray Richardson should be paying a professional price for his statements.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad.

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