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Gordon Monson: Stuart Adams or Donovan Mitchell … who you gonna hear and trust when it comes to race in Utah?

Utah Senate President says the Jazz star derailed lawmakers’ efforts to ban critical race theory in schools

(Matt Slocum | AP) Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. Mitchell is part of a coalition of NBA players, coaches and owners who plan to push lawmakers in several states to address social justice issues.

I’m sure there are many fine, well-intentioned folks in the Utah Legislature, led by Senate President Stuart Adams, people who try real hard, as he does, to get laws put into place and, more importantly, to keep harmful stuff far, far away from the innocents here in the great state of Utah.

You know, to follow the example of lawmakers in Mississippi and Florida to ensure that Utah stays a great state. Made great, kept great by the great caretakers of every adult and child inside this great state, shunning concerns and viewpoints of those who would, in their uninformed condition, corrupt and sully the rest of our community.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

It would be helpful, just proper, just wonderful, if all the less-educated people out there, people like the Utah Jazz and other sports organizations and the NBA, individuals like Donovan Mitchell, would check their backlash and get learned up, just a little more, a little better than they are, especially as it pertains to stalling actions in the state Senate regarding race issues, as they relate to the proper banning of dangerous agendas, such as critical race theory being taught in our schools.

Horrors.

Don’t you hate it when you get “very popular sports stars” like that pushing back against what the Legislature is trying to achieve?

“We have work to do to try to educate ’em. … Let’s get after him and let’s go tell him what we’re doing because I don’t really think he understands …”

That’s what Adams said at an American Legislative Exchange Council conference in Salt Lake City earlier this year, video’d as it was then and just now surfacing online, with his condescension toward Mitchell, the Jazz and the NBA sloshing through every word.

He revealed that it was an “unhappy” Mitchell, the Jazz and the NBA, that got in the way of the Senate passing a bill, after it had passed in the House, meant to ban CRT.

This is where, in a more enlightened world, the education would flow in the other direction, from Mitchell to the Senate leader.

It doesn’t really matter which side of the issue anybody is on, for or against.

What matters is the fact that a governing leader in the great state of Utah is so unwilling to listen to a different point of view from a prominent individual in our state who has something significant to say about a topic important to him, to his frame of reference, to his life experience, and important to a lot of people in the great state of Utah, whether they make up the majority or not.

Mitchell has likely done more to raise awareness about issues of racial justice in Utah and elsewhere, from his position as a very popular sports star, than Adams has, from his position in the Legislature.

But watching that small clip of a video is all anybody has to do to begin to understand the limited, vacant view of too many leaders here, white leaders, who haven’t had the experiences that Mitchell has had, who haven’t heard his stories. If they have listened to them, they haven’t heard them, haven’t taken them to heart.

They may end up disagreeing with him, to some extent, but they should at least hear him. And preferably do what he says.

The response too often is like the top of this column, condescending and downright immature.

When it comes to matters of race, to concerns about getting a meaningful, truthful message to adults and children alike, who would you think might be better informed … Mitchell or Adams?

During a radio interview Wednesday, I asked Mitchell about Adams’ remarks. Mitchell said he’d defer a response to a later date. I respect that. But Mitchell did have this to say about his interest in social justice issues:

“I went to school in Greenwich, Conn., a predominantly white school and then I also, obviously as a Black kid, went to play basketball in New York City. I’ve seen two different worlds growing up as a kid and understand that some people don’t understand what’s 30 minutes down the street. Now when I see certain people speaking on certain racial issues, or police brutality, or certain things, [I understand] that being Black in America is a job.”

Even if you lean more toward Adams, wouldn’t Mitchell be a valued source of information to draw from in order to get your mind, your vote, your grasp of the situation right? Not a person to be dismissed or ignored?

But in the video, which is provided here, Adams claims, condescendingly so, that it is Mitchell who needs more education.

He might as well have told the Jazz guard to shut up and dribble.

GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 2-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.

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