After a routine Memphis Grizzlies win against the New York Knicks, Knicks forward Marcus Morris was rightfully criticized over accusing Jae Crowder of having “female tendencies.” Crowder set Morris off when he stole the ball and shot a three-pointer, up 18 with less than a minute to go.
Here’s Morris’ full quote:
“He play the game in a different way. A lot of female tendencies on the court. Flopping and throwing his head back the entire game. It’s a man’s game and you just get tired of it.”
“It’s soft. His game is soft. He’s soft. It’s how he carries himself. It’s just very woman-like.”
Those are ignorant comments. If you’re here, there’s a good chance that you don’t need me to tell you that. On the other side, there’s also a chance you’re here because you find criticism of Morris bullshit and that people need to “stop being sensitive about everything,” or that there are too many snowflakes, or whatever else that you say that’s going to make yourself feel better about being a bad person.
Since the beginning of time, society has stapled the perceived weak and/or bad traits on women. A lot of that projection comes from men wanting control, and has evolved into protecting their idea of masculinity when it comes to sports today.
Sports are filled with insecure people. It’s why baseball pitchers bean batters when their middle-middle fastball gets sent into the seventh row of the left field bleachers. A lot of male athletes deflect when something doesn’t go their way or they’re angry, saying any number of sexist things about their opposition. For instance, they might accuse them of having “female tendencies.” Perhaps that makes them feel superior, which many men have thought about women in the past (and present). But that isn’t true.
There’s no taking back what Morris said. He gave a light apology on Twitter, and added that his mom texted him and said she raised a great man. He’ll probably move on rather quickly from this as will the rest of us, but that doesn’t feel great because it’s a good opportunity to teach others.
My biggest hope here is that some of Morris’ peers corrected him. It’s good that he’s being called out by the public and media, but the real difference has to come from other players in the NBA, or even his friends and family. He grew up around other basketball players, and in the same way that it’s different for kids to hear something from somebody that isn’t their parents (in this case, he probably doesn’t want to hear he was wrong from the public and media), it’s important for him to hear something from the people he respects. That’s where the greatest impact can be made.
It’s important to remember that, unfortunately, a sexist and toxic state of mind is what a lot of young men are growing up with. Much like racism on this particular land, it’s going to take more years than most people would like to admit to fix things. But they can be fixed if the correct measures are taken.
Kobe Bryant was an imperfect advocate for the WNBA, whether it was because of his past or because he thought he was helping through his words of praise, when he really wasn’t. But he was putting forth an honest effort, and many WNBA stars would tell you just as much. We really don’t know what kind of impact he could have continued to have on the W. That’s ok. The important part was that he was trying to help. That’s a hell of a lot more of an effort than most are willing to set forth.
If you’re reading this (especially you, men), I hope that you will correct somebody when they say something harmful like Morris did, especially if you know them well. You’d be shocked how effective it can be to push back when people around you say unsavory things, especially if they’re called by somebody they consider a friend.
It’s not hard to be a good person in this world, but some people need a hand in getting on the right path to doing so. Choose to be that positive change, and we’ll all be better for it.