It was one week ago that the world learned Tristan Thompson was an alleged “serial cheater.” Despite his girlfriend Khloe Kardashian being moments away from having their baby, he was reportedly getting busy with someone who was not his baby mama. Two days after the photos and videos of Tristan and not-Khloe surfaced, Khloe had their daughter, and despite all the talk of the reality star forgiving him, Thompson still felt the wrath of Kardashian fans everywhere. But it wasn’t just Tristan who was feeling the heat. Since he’s a basketball player in the NBA, people began throwing it out there that all professional athletes cheat and that Khloe should’ve known what she was getting into and what kind of relationship she should have expected. But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can’t stand that stereotype and will no longer accept it.
The NBA legend wrote an essay for Cosmopolitan detailing his thoughts on the stereotypes placed upon professional athletes. Abdul-Jabbar argues that Thompson’s alleged infidelity shouldn’t be framed around the fact that he plays basketball for a living.
“The implication is that such sleazy behavior should be expected because, after all, he plays professional sports for a living, “Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Grown men playing boys’ games can’t be trusted to act like responsible adults. Especially when they’re celebrities because of it.”
Abdul-Jabbar points out that athletes are “expected to accept the insulting stereotypes, shut up, and dribble,” and likens the situation to the so-called jokes about “dumb blondes” or “smart Asian students” or “gay flair.” He believes it “endorses an environment of lazy thinking that carries over into other decision-making that is ultimately detrimental to society. When we hear casual stereotyping and say nothing, we collude in the detriment.”
Well written piece on the “confirmation bias”. If you have it, all the more reason to read this piece. https://t.co/uZla4Ctkya
— Laura Lightbody (@lbodss) April 17, 2018
Abdul-Jabbar goes on to clarify that he’s not equating the stereotypes against athletes with the stereotyping of other marginalized groups, particularly those based on race, religion, gender, sexuality, or other factors, but he does argue that “when we allow any prejudice to pass unchallenged, we endorse all prejudice.”
With Tristan, however, it’s a matter of one step forward, two steps back. “The problem is that every time we see articulate, courageous, and committed athletes—like LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, Etan Thomas, Michael Bennett, Steph Curry, and others—a juicy bit of salacious gossip drowns out these important voices and we all tumble back to square one. It confirms the bias against every athlete, and prevents us from being taken seriously. And then the cycle starts over.” He hopes this time, that cycle is broken.
He adds: “I’m not here to defend or condemn Tristan Thompson’s actions. If people feel the need to judge him, let them do so based on his behavior, not his profession or gender.”
Damn. He has loads more to say, all of which can be read in its entirety at Cosmopolitan.com. Do it. It’s a side we don’t hear from very often that’s definitely worth your time.
Tristan “Untrue” Thompson is decidedly garbage, but it’s unfair to set the bar so low for all athletes. it removes any sense of personal responsibility and lets the cycle of bias that emboldens some cheaters — and much worse prejudice — to continue. https://t.co/GOn5HBwM0F
— Ali Drucker (@ali_drucker) April 16, 2018