AN EDITORIAL BY MATT DE SARLE
A white head coach called a timeout in the final seconds to prolong a lop-sided victory, then grabbed an African American head coach by the arm to assert his opinion in the handshake line, but many people in the college basketball universe are calling for Juwan Howard to be suspended.
Why promote Black Lives Matter campaigns during in-game commercials and with warm up apparel on the sidelines, when we can’t seriously take a look at these aggressions (and micro-aggressions) as a society?
Juwan Howard took a swing at a Wisconsin coach after this ugly scene played out. No one would argue that’s a justified act. However, in what universe is it okay for Wisconsin coach Greg Gard to put his hands on Juwan Howard in the first place? Any thoughts about why that’s acceptable can only be explained by white privilege.
(A similar scene occurred last season when Maryland’s coach approached Howard’s sideline).
Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. What if Juwan Howard called a timeout in the closing moments to avoid his backup players from temporary embarrassment. As Greg Gard explained in the post-game interview, that’s exactly why he called this unnecessary timeout. He didn’t want his offense committing a 10 second violation while being covered full court by a Michigan man defense. Taking that violation wouldn’t have affected the outcome of the game. It would have instead saved college basketball from this ugly scrum.
What if Howard had done this? Do you think Greg Gard would have stood by like a little school boy, having his arm held for a quick lecture in the handshake line? The timeout needed no explanation. Only someone who feels privileged would be compelled to compound the insult with a lecturing justification.
Even the press release by the Big Ten Conference doesn’t reference the physical contact initiated by Greg Gard. Instead, it says “The Big Ten Conference is aware of a physical altercation involving Michigan Head Coach Juwan Howard…”
Some people are calling for a season-long suspension for Juwan Howard. He did not apologize in his post-game press conference. Few are calling for the aggressor, Greg Gard, to lose his job of even face a multiple game suspension. I think an equal penalty for both coaches would reflect a society that values equality.