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George Karl should have sat this one out



George Karl in 2016.
Photo: AP

George Karl picked the wrong day to go after Kendrick Perkins. On the Tuesday episode of First Take, JJ Redick and Perkins had a discussion about the NBA MVP that was loud, animated, and eventually went viral on social media. Perkins is not one to back off of his opinions so after the episode, he patted himself on the back when he tweeted, “A speaker of TRUTH has no friends!!!”

Karl saw the post and expressed that he disagrees with Perkins’ assertion about him being the Arbiter of basketball truth. The former NBA coach quote tweeted Perkins. Karl posted that honest and educated people speak the truth. Perkins then shot back with a long way of saying “Get yo ass out of this thread.”

That tweet is where the discussion stopped. While Karl clearly has some thoughts weighing on him about Perkins MVP opinions — this was the second time this month that he tweeted about it — expressing those issues to the world shortly after a contentious moment on television can to a person getting exposed.

Tuesday was far from their first time having a discussion on the bird app. Actually, all of their previous conversations have been pleasant.

In Nov. 2010, they were discussing owning each other meals from a bet. On Nov. 2, 2022, Karl even tweeted out “Preach Perk,” when Perkins lauded the Utah Jazz for starting out this season with one of the best records in the NBA after losing Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Karl has even shouted out Perkins for his comments on the need for more Black coaches in the NBA.

Part of why Redick and Perkins’ battle of words went viral is that Redick took exception to Perkins’ comments about Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Nikola Jokić being the only MVPs to not finish in the top 10 in scoring since 1990. Redick claimed that Perkins implied that the NBA award voters are racist. A point that Karl made in his retort back to Perkins and he missed the mark on that one just like Redick. A system possibly having a racial bias in it is not the same as individual people being racist.

Karl jumping in Perkins’ mentions to defend Redick is not the best look, because he has most certainly had some racial controversies in his career that Deadspin’s Carron Phillips chronicled last year. While he has been in favor of more Black NBA coaches in previous interactions with Perkins, in 2002 while discussing Doc Rivers he said that there might be a surge in “Afro-American” coaches hired. He claimed that he had a white assistant coach who couldn’t get an interview.

Then there was his 2016 book. In it, he referred to Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin’s friends as posses. He also said that Anthony and Martin made a ton of money but had no fathers to teach them how to be a man. Ahh yes, the old absent Black father argument even though a CDC study found that Black fathers are actually more involved in their children’s lives than white and Hispanic fathers whether they are in the home or not.

Karl should probably sit out the rest of the Redick vs. Perkins debates. He has a glass house that might not want people to look inside. A house that Perkins probably knows all about because he was in the NBA at the same time as Anthony, Martin, and any other Black player who might have had an issue with Karl.

A house that may have evidence of moments with racial undertones even if Karl’s response to Perkins implies that Dean Smith taught him to not be a racist.

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