On Tuesday morning First Take featured a heated debate between former NBA players JJ Redick and Kendrick Perkins over the issue of racial bias in NBA MVP voting. The argument stemmed from Perkins’ comments, when he suggested that Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was favored to win his third consecutive MVP award partly because he is white.
Does NBA have Racial Bias Against Black Players in MVP Voting? Kendrick Perkins’ Conspiracy Theory Starts Fight with JJ Redick
In the past Perkins had said that Jokic was “getting a pass” for his lack of defense and leadership, and that he benefited from MVP voting that favored white players over black players. He has cited Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash as examples of white players who won MVP awards over more deserving black players in the past.
Redick, who is also white, took offense to Perkins’ remarks and challenged him. He accused Perkins of creating a “false narrative” that did not reflect reality. He argued that Jokic was a deserving MVP candidate based on his stats, impact and team success. The argument from both sides is interesting, because black players have dominated the MVP award historically, winning 28 out of 36 times since 1985. However, over the past few years foreign white players have been winning the award most often.
The two finally faced off on First Take, where they exchanged verbal jabs and defended their positions. Redick reiterated his stance that Perkins was spreading a racial bias narrative that was unfair to Jokic, MVP voters, and other white players. The debate got heated as both men raised their voices and interrupted each other. At one point, Redick said: “What we just witnessed is the problem with this show. Where we create narratives that do not exist in reality”. He accused Perkins of insinuating that white NBA MVP voters are racist.
Perkins fired back by at Redick claiming he putting words in his mouth while yelling “it’s the facts” over and over. On social media many people are accusing Redick of trying to silence him, and other black voices who had experienced racism in their lives. They feel that Redick had no right to tell him how to feel or what to say about race issues in the NBA.
In the aftermath of the verbal fight the host of First Take, Molly Qerim, tried to moderate the discussion and keep it civil. She insinuated that both men need to respect each other’s opinions and experiences reminding them they are a team on the show.
The debate ended without a clear resolution or agreement between Redick and Perkins. Both men stuck to their views and did not concede any ground. The segment quickly went viral on social media.
The controversy highlighted the sensitive nature of race relations in America today, especially in sports where racial diversity is high but representation is low. It also raised questions about how media outlets cover race issues, and whether they promote constructive dialogue or inflammatory rhetoric.
What do you think, are NBA MVP voters racially biased towards white players now? Could that be why Joel Embiid didn’t win the award last season?