Posts Tagged ‘Washington Wizards’

To Stand or Not to Stand at Sporting Events?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

by Gus Griffin







On Thursday, I’ll be attending my first Washington Wizards game of the season.   They would be on a 15-game home winning streak as my Lakers roll in to make their one and only DC appearance of the year.  One could make the case that I shouldn’t stand for the National Anthem in protest of how bad my Lakers have been these past 3 years.  But of course the issue is much larger than this notion.


Long before Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the National Anthem, I was conflicted about the whole issue.  On the one hand, the mere fact that I do have the right “not to stand”, is in of itself, a reason to stand. There is something to be said for that rationale. There certainly are places where if I were to dare not follow the company patriot line, even at a sporting event, I would be subjected to much more than mean stares.  For me, that would be about the extent of my “persecution”, here in America.


Then on the other hand, should Black people feel obliged to honor a country that has treated us as it has?  And while that treatment has certainly varied and even subsided over the course of time, only volunteer denial would assert that it has ended.  Would standing be an honor to those before me never afforded full American status, or those who died trying to attain such, or a dishonor?


While the decision is personal for all, my conclusion is ultimately this: what good is it to have a “right to protest” and then not use it to raise awareness about the very fragility of one’s life?


So there it is.  I will not be standing again anytime soon.


Now surely some will read this and will say, “if you don’t like it here leave!”   I will likely take them up on that offer upon retirement.


Still others will say, “sports is supposed to be an escape from such issues”.   To a limited extent, it can be.  But when I enter that arena at about 6:59 PM, whatever realities existed about being Black in America will neither be suspended nor dissipate because I stood for the National Anthem.  Likewise, when I leave at about 9:30 PM, those realities will still be here.  In fact, my standing will only co-sign maintaining the status quo.


The last most common response is, “I support your right but wish you found another way to do it”.  To that I say, such as what?


Voting isn’t enough!

The accumulation of wealth isn’t enough!

Education isn’t enough!

Pulling up your pants in favor of a suit and tie isn’t enough!

And even going to church for Bible study and prayer isn’t enough.


While I don’t dismiss all of the above as useless, I do contend that they have all been tried and are simply not enough to address the shameful treatment of Black folks in America since our forced arrival.  So who among us with serious intent to address the problems would offer more of the same solutions?   If we do the same, we’ll get the same.  But if we dare to do something different, at the very least we can spark some conversations that may lead to positive change.


The best option as I see it, based on history and my personal experience, is to engage in organized struggle to include protest.  It is neither easy nor simple.  But I see no collective progress made that did not require this, and sports is as viable a venue to spark such struggle as any other.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports


Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

by Gus Griffin






No matter how many armchair coaches and talking heads try to give you a basketball-based explanation, resist.  It was not about the X’s and O’s of basketball, it was about understanding the psychology of teams in the moment.  On Tuesday the maddening Wizards went into Cleveland and beat LeBron and the defending conference champs.  It was their first home loss of the year.  On that same night my Lakers were beaten soundly by one of the worst teams in NBA history, giving those Sixers their first win of the year.  So all logic tells you that those same Wizards should have little trouble with my Lakers, right?  Vegas saw it that way, installing the Wizards as 10 point favorites.  Wrong!  This game was not only a classic letdown spot for the Wizards, it was a letdown spot on steroids.  It was neither some brilliant tactical adjustment made by Byron Scott, nor some great coaching blunder by Randy Whitman.

The script was a familiar one: Act 1: Kobe gets the ball; Act 2: everyone in the whole arena knows that he is going to shoot; Act 3: he single-handedly stops any semblance of functional half-court offense by dribbling and head faking with a defender on his back as if he were in the post, though he is now usually 25 feet from basket; Act 4: he shoots; Act 5: and this was the only outcome of all the acts that differed dramatically from previous scripts: THE SHOTS WENT IN.  It was the old Kobe, pun intended, not the Grey Mamba, to the tune of 31 points to include two huge shots inside the last 2 minutes.  Sure it took him 24 shots to make 10, but that’s not different from the Kobe that will be a first ballot HOF’er.  Unfortunately for the Lakers, he cannot sustain such efforts.  Last night’s Kobe was the norm for so many years, or at least 7-8 of every 10 games.  They will be lucky to see him once every 12-15 games.  I am fully prepared for my Lakers to return to being what we are: some shit!  But hey, as a lifelong diehard fan of the mighty purple and gold, in a game that may as well have been in the Great Western Forum, it was nice to reminisce of the glory days.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Mitchell Butler visits The War Room During The NBA Lockout

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

We Got Next…For A Lot Less!

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I like sports in general, but I have never been a huge basketball fan.  This year that has changed.  My 11 year old nephew has just discovered Derrick Rose and is now a basketball fan.  I like to talk to him about his interests, so this year I have been watching a lot more basketball.  We’ve attended a live game this season and even succumbed to purchasing the overpriced Direct TV NBA League Pass.  Whenever I become a fan of something, I always wonder how much money people make doing whatever it is.  So I went to the place I get all my answers, Google.

After a brief Google search, I learned about rookie salaries as well as veteran salaries.  I learned that during the 2010-11 season, first round draft picks will make anywhere between 1 million and 4 million dollars during their first season.  Veteran stars like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will rake in about 13 million and 18 million respectively.  While role players such as Ben Wallace and Antonio McDyess should pocket approximately 2 million and 4.8 million dollars respectively. While I was Googling salaries of NBA players, I started to wonder how WNBA players salaries would compare to their male counter parts.  What I found led me to ask this question, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD SOMEONE AGREE TO THIS?

The disparity between NBA salaries and WNBA salaries is just damn egregious.  If my daughter told me she wanted to play in the WNBA, I’d tell her, she’s better off teaching.  There is no possible way a woman could play in the WNBA if she didn’t love the game.  Let’s look at the numbers.  A WNBA player with 0-2 years of playing experience will make a minimum of 35,000 in 2010.  35,000 dollars, that’s it.  This is four thousand dollars less than a General Manager at Wendy’s. What that means is that John Wall, the number one 2010 NBA draft pick can pay the number one 2010 WNBA draft pick’s (Tina Charles) salary about 114 times.  The NBA has a sliding scale by which players get paid.  The WNBA also has a similar chart, but it only has two rows, players with 0-2 years of experience and players with three or more years of experience.  In 2010, a WNBA player that has three or more years experience will make at least 51,000 and max out at about 100,000.  Are you kidding me?

It’s funny because just like the NBA, the WNBA has salary caps.  The NBA Maximum Team salary cap for 2010 is 58 million dollars, while a WNBA team can spend at the most 800,000 dollars.  This is hilarious considering the last pick in the first round 2010 NBA draft will make at least $ 1 million dollars for his first season.

WNBA players, often stay in college the whole four years and earn a degree.  This is a good thing considering what their base salaries are.  After they are done playing basketball for less money than IRS auditor makes, they are going to have to start a second career.  I’m convinced; WNBA players have to love the game.  Why else would they devote years to playing the game, when they could take their degrees to private industry and make way more money?  I’m not naive, I know that the NBA is way more appealing and profitable than the WNBA, but I never would have guessed the gap between salaries was this big.  Before retiring at the end of 2009, arguably the most marketable star of the WNBA, Lisa Leslie, was paid about 91,000.  As if all of this information wasn’t bad enough, while NBA superstar Lebron James decided to tear down an entire franchise on the way to South Beach during his off season, WNBA players play in places such as Poland, Turkey and Israel to collect larger paychecks during theirs.

With all of this being said, if your daughter was a beast at basketball, and she came to you with a four year degree in one hand and a WNBA contract in the other, what would you tell her to do?

Monica Pierce, Guest Blogger for War Room Sports. Read more of her writing @