Kenny Smith says “the system doesn’t work” for Black people. In a new radio interview the NBA on TNT analyst is challenging police attitudes towards Black drivers – and offering a solution to racial disparities by calling on pro athletes in the league.
On the Tiki and Tierney radio show, host Brandon Tierney discusses interactions between police and the Black community. He recognizes there are bad officers, but says Black people should “begin accepting the authority and not [fight] police when they’re pulled over.” He then explained when he gets pulled over, he simply hands over his license without conflict.
Smith notes that was exactly what 32-year-old Philando Castile did in Falcon Heights, Minneapolis. The school cafeteria manager was shot and killed when he reached for his wallet to give the cop his license.
“There is a disparity. Before we can get to that point, I think there’s a bigger issue of fear,” Smith said. “Not even fear. I think there’s a thought process that a lot of police officers have that, to diffuse a situation with young black Americans, it’s easier to diffuse the situation by force.”
The retired athlete points out that while African-Americans only make up a small percentage of the country’s population, they make up 114 of the 558 deaths by police so far this year. He also says the lack of trust between police and the Black community means things need to get better, but he doesn’t think the Black community is responsible to for making that happen.
“If you look at all the statistics, you go, ‘We don’t trust the police. We’re going to get arrested because [we’re] in a poor neighborhood,’ ” Smith said. “Because when you’re poor, if you don’t pay a ticket, you go to jail. If you’re rich, you just pay the ticket. It’s really a poor social economic as well as Black problem. They have to acknowledge that this is not right. The system doesn’t work.”
In order to put the power back into Black hands, Smith has called for NBA ballers – which Black men make up 74 percent of – to allocate 10 percent of their salaries t0 their own community. It echoes the message of a Periscope stream Monday which he promoted on social media as a state of the union address called, “Att: Black Players, What’s Your Responsibility?”
“I challenge each guy to allocate 10 percent of their salary to the communities that they’ve come from. Ten percent. Think of the agent. Ten percent and this dude just makes a phone call. He makes a phone call,” he said. “That $90 million per team per year per salary cap goes to 74 percent of the African-American men in our league.”
“So now you can make a social-economic impact,” he continued. “Which creates empowerment and creates education and opportunities that allow you to skip past all of the things that go on for a big group.
“I think that’s the responsibility,” he added.