Jerrod Winkler, head of the NBA Owners and Players Association, was understandably curious as to why, and more so how, a hodgepodge group of individuals had managed a one-hour slot in his schedule. From the disparate membership roster, he certainly assumed some charitable effort or some social cause the NBA certainly could reap good press from with an established relationship. Sorely needed right now.
This became obvious to me as soon as I sat in one of three oversized leather chairs on the other side of the ornate desk Jerrod sat behind. His telephone was ringing madly but he graciously ignored it, as much as one can ignore an insidious device notorious for poor manners and a complete lack of shame. While I was asking a few minutes reprieve before we launched-off on my, our committee’s purpose, we’d been interrupted at least three times by Jerrod’s assistants poking their heads into his office excitedly asking for a word with him. He shooed them away and smiled at me benignly, gratuitously.
The reasons my associates were late escaped me. I was reluctant to start the meeting without them. Since we’d worked so hard to get the meeting on the books, difficult in that we were as cagey as Democrats in keeping our reasons for the meeting obscured, I feared I’d have to go it alone. I dove in.
“Of course, Jerrod, our group looks to negotiate a more equitable demographic on NBA teams.”
“What? I’m afraid I don’t understand. We have an exceptionally high proportion of minorities on NBA rosters. I’m sure you recognize that. I thought you were looking for NBA sponsorship for some cause.”
“In a way, we certainly are. Demographically speaking, you do not have adequate representation of, if you’ll pardon me for the racial slur, white persons on your teams. That is an issue we seek to have you support us in redressing.”
“Our group wants the NBA to achieve an ethnic mix more in line with actual American demographics. Pardon me again, but Black America is over-represented.”
“African Americans play better basketball than white people.”
“That’s irrelevant, sir, and not the whole of it”
“It is not irrelevant!”
“Indeed, it is. Precedent dictates you adjust, make allowances.”
“Universities adjusted entrance exams and qualifications to achieve parity for minorities. Not cheapened, sir, adjusted. Qualifications were altered to accommodate ethnic variances.”
“This sport… It’s by talent, not ethnicity. Jumping, shooting, blocking…”
“Precisely, sir, I’m glad you understand. You will have to adjust your qualifications and even some rules of the game. Lower basket heights for different ethnicities. Penalties for stuffing balls into the hoop and for jumping above a certain height from the floor’s surface.”
At this point, one of my fellow committee members entered Jerrod’s office. “Mr. Winkler, this is Lucinda Joorgeson,” I said. “Lucinda, this is Mr. Winker, NBA OAPA Chair.”
“Pleased to meet you,” said Lucinda, seizing and shaking a dumbstruck Jerrod’s hand. “Those who know me call me ‘Yorgy.’ You can too. I think we’ll be working a lot together. It’ll be easier.”
Jerrod found his voice. “You aren’t serious about the NBA playing more white people on teams…”
“Indeed, we are, Mr. Winkler. But our real concern is that there are zero women on NBA teams. We desperately need you to address that.”
“But women are, well, women, and the existing players are, well, men. Big men. There is the WNBA, you know?”
“That’s that separate but equal thing that doesn’t go over very well. Women tried that. They’re getting the ‘separate’ part but not so much the ‘equal.’ Salary, endorsements, airtime, all that.”
“They’d get hurt and…”
“We’ll address that. Like we’re doing with the NFL…”
“You spoke with the NFL?”
“Just came from there. That’s why we’re late.”
“I bet they set you straight.”
“They tried. In the end, they recognize they haven’t a leg to stand on. We’re discussing changes in rules; twenty player teams on-field, ten women, ten men. Different yardages depending on who carries the ball or catches a pass.”
“The women will get hurt.”
“And it will cost penalties and immediate points on the scoreboard, if the men violate the man-man, woman-woman only contact rules. We’ll work it out.”
“It will debase the game,” asserted Jerrod.
“Not the issue and not really our concern,’ said Yorgy. We’re looking for parity, recognition and equal shares of the rewards.”
Just then the two missing committee members popped through Jerrod’s door. I announced: “Mr. Winkler, let me introduce Rabbi Feldstein and Juan Gonzales. Gentlemen, this is Jerrod Winkler, Chair of the NBA OAPA.”
Jerrod, who to this point was standing as if to go toe-to-toe with Lucinda (a contest in which he was hopelessly outmatched) sank into his chair, “Oh, good lord! What next? Major League Baseball?”
“Actually,” suggested Juan,” the MLB is doing so much better than the NBA and NFL, except as far as the women are concerned. But we still will talk.”
This is of course, all you Amelia Bedelia’s, a flight of fancy.
If you’re curious, take a gander. The beauty of Wikipedia citations is that Wiki articles footnote primary sources. Have fun.
MLB This one is just fun to watch
NHL Who cares?
To judge for yourself if Yorgy, Feldstein, Gonzales, et al have a case:
US Census Be careful here, persons completing the digest leave you to assume that since 50.8% of the population is female, why of course, 49.2% is male; a slur of major proportions for self-declaring individuals.