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Henry Anthony-DuScheid

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Draymond Green commented on the most important professional sports storyline of 2017: the protests in the NFL. He posted a picture of the headline; “Texans Owner Bob McNair on Protests, ‘We can’t have Inmates running the Prison’” on his Instagram.

The controversial part of Green’s Instagram response included, “stop using the word owner and maybe use the word Chairman. To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It sets the wrong tone.”

Bob McNair’s inflammatory comments came from a position of power, while Green is commenting on how owners’ behavior has been defamatory and discriminatory to players. Green’s Instagram post references the hypocrisy of owners not contributing to the actual production of the game, “fans pay to see him play and he’s putting himself at risk of CTE by going out there every Sunday and giving 110%!” Green’s brash commentary on the division in the NFL is unsurprising as the issues protested by players take a larger scope outside of sports.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban responded to Green’s Instagram post by requesting a backhanded apology. He claimed that Green’s post had slandered the name of team owners by equating them to slave owners. In a very condescending manner, Cuban questioned Green’s business education at Michigan State University, “I guess it’s because he went to Michigan State and didn’t take any business classes, but you own equity. When you own a team, you own equity, shares of stock. That’s called ownership. Tell him if he wants to take classes at Indiana’s business school, I’ll even pay for his classes and we’ll help him learn that stuff.”

Cuban goes on to say that Green’s comments are arguably just as bad as McNair’s comments alluding to players being inmates; however, the fact that as an owner Cuban can take offense to this without recognizing the wider picture is puzzling when many consider him the smartest shark in the tank.

The controversy between professional athletes and owners has been magnified for the American public because of the protests in the NFL. The debate about players rights has been in contention with some of their bosses — the owners.

After a loss against the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys CEO and general manager Jerry Jones came out against his team kneeling during the anthem by threatening to bench anyone who “disrespects the flag.” Jones had previously knelt with the entire team before the anthem and all players stood during the anthem. President Donald Trump had previously suggested via a tweet that owners fire or cut pay to players who knelt during the anthem, going as far as to say the NFL should change rules to require standing during the anthem.

This boils down to power dynamics and value of each party. I think everyone involved understands that owners are not all the same and that plenty work hard to benefit their personnel anyway they can, but that doesn’t mean that there are not large issues at hand to discuss.

I didn’t see a headline of Cuban coming out against the racist comments made by McNair but it’s astonishing he can somehow have the gall to ask for an apology from Green although he never implicated Cuban in anything.

Missing Green’s point of view as part of the grander conflict between diverse communities in America shows Cuban is outside of the real conversation. I hope that a more respectable approach on both sides of the debate will encourage harmony in sports and our country as a whole.

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