Opinion

Were Richardson’s comments really that bad?

This week, Michael Ray Richardson was fired as head coach of the Albany Patroons, a basketball team in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), over the “anti-Semitic” remarks Richardson made about his “big-time Jew lawyers” who he expected to negotiate a favorable contract for him. When told that some might find such remarks offensive, Richardson defended himself by saying that Jews “are hated all over the World, so they’ve got to be crafty.they got a lot of power in this world.which I think is great. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it.it’s not a knock, but they are some crafty people.”

What is frustrating about the knee-jerk reaction of the CBA, the Albany Patroons organization, and much of the mass media, which has feasted on Richardson’s comments, is that the actual content of Richardson’s comments was not maliciously anti-Semitic. What Richardson essentially said was that because of their history of persecution, the Jewish people have been forced to become exceptionally resourceful, which in the contemporary United States, has translated into a disproportionate amount of success in business and in law. While such a statement is open to debate, few would call it anti-Semitic. It is interesting to note that virtually none of the journalists who self-righteously lambasted Richardson bothered to inform their readers that Richardson’s second wife is Jewish, as is his 21 year-old daughter, Tamara.

What the controversy surrounding Michael Ray Richardson’s comments does illustrate is the disconnect between what is okay to say in the public sphere and what people are actually saying behind closed doors. A 2004 poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League found that over 14% of the United States-more than 35 million Americans-harbor strongly anti-Semitic beliefs, while a majority hold at least some anti-Semitic beliefs. So if Richardson’s comments were not anti-Semitic, but a majority of Americans do hold anti-Semitic beliefs, then why the uproar over Richardson’s comments? I know I don’t have an answer to that question, but I think the paradoxes at the heart of the Richardson controversy lead us to some important questions.

While it has become a clich

April 13, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.