Kyle Korver recalls two events that have forced him to confront his perspective on racism in America.
The first happened in 2015, when a black teammate, Thabo Sefolosha, was arrested in New York City. Police officers broke his leg, causing him to miss the rest of the season. Charges were later dropped, and Sefolosha reached a settlement with the city regarding the officers’ use of force.
The other happened last month, when Russell Westbrook got into a confrontation with a fan who shouted racist comments to the player. The fan was banned for life. Korver says the incident helped open eyes to the racism and vitriol black players face on a daily basis.
So now Korver is speaking out. The Creighton great penned a piece this week for The Players’ Tribune — a website that gives athletes an opportunity to speak their minds and tell their own stories.
Korver recalls the guilt and shame he felt when Sefolosha was arrested because at first he blamed Sefolosha for putting himself in that position instead of considering the role his race may have played. Korver also addresses “the elephant in the room” — his white privilege — and how that has altered his perspective on racism.
“I realize that now,” Korver writes. “And maybe in years past, just realizing something would’ve felt like progress. But it’s NOT years past — it’s today. And I know I have to do better. So I’m trying to push myself further. I’m trying to ask myself what I should actually do.”
Korver vows to continue educating himself on the history of racism in America, to listen to those who’ve been affected, to support leaders seeking racial justice. But most importantly?
“As a white man,” Korver writes, “I have to hold my fellow white men accountable. We all have to hold each other accountable.”
Click here to read Korver’s entire essay for The Players’ Tribune.