This week Mr. Basketball committee chairman Ken Lien made news. He made a twitter statement that caused Henry Sibley head coach John Carrier to come out and denounce him.
The original comments
The Mr Basketball Reply
Whether you agree with coach Carrier's position or not, I think we can all respect him taking a stand for what he believes I think its important to understand that isn't about political views or political correctness. As a public figure, it is a harsh reality that you are held to a higher standard of conduct.
I've read the Star Tribune apology plus the original response. Ken was given fair and ample opportunity to defend himself but Star Tribune writer Jim Paulson didn't really question him on his comments. Here are some questions I had as I read it with passages from the apology article quoted.
Lien - "I've never created anything negative",
Paulson - "most of his offending tweets are either retweets or responses to other posts"
So just because passed along a racist remark that's OK and doesn't mean your racist? This is a totally ridiculous position. Sounds like something a kid would say in school. I did it but it was his idea.
Retweeting or replying to racist commentary with racism is OK?
Lien - "But its not as if I've hated anyone"
Tweeting that Muslims should be thrown out of the country is not hating someone? If that isn't hate, then please explain what it is.
Paulson - "...his social media faux pas".
Czar's Thoughts :
This part of the article made me mad. Doing something once is a faux pas. This was clearly NOT a 1 time event as demonstrated by the screenshots shown in this GopherHole forum thread. John made it crystal clear that it wasn't just 1 tweet that caused his reaction. I'm very disappointed that Jim Paulson chose to express it in that manner. Its a repeated expression of racism over time that has our basketball community so upset.
Lien - "I think my reputation and integrity has been good. I don't take my position as Chairman and Owner of Mr. Basketball lightly".
Personal items were continuously from a business account including hot button political content.
Vulgar language was used on the business account
The previously posted apology was deleted
The reputation of the award has been seriously tarnished by this.
Conclusions:Based on all of this I draw the following conclusions
1) The gravity of the actions is not understood.
2) There is remorse for having to answer for this with the hope that it just goes away.
3) There is not remorse for the hateful tweets and no accepting of responsibility for posting them. This is demonstrated by making the excuse that it was another person's idea and defending the hateful ideas when questioned.
4) This was not a 1 time mistake. This was repeated hateful behavior.
5) A line has been crossed that is impossible to ignore. This is especially true as the award deals directly with minorities. Political views and political correctness can be forgiven, repeated racism cannot. As Jabbar Washington said in response to this, The Damage Has Been Done
Ken, you have embarrassed yourself, your committee, our basketball community and most important of all, the award itself. As coach Matt McCollister so accurately said, the award has a special meaning and a national meaning. It deserves better than this. You clearly do not understand the gravity of your actions and have not shown true contrition. A leopard does not change its spots and you have shown your spots. If your integrity is good and you don't take your position lightly, then there's only 1 reasonable conclusion that can be drawn.
I hope you do the right thing and step away immediately.