Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Norman Powell was harassed at a gym in Las Vegas by a white woman who asserted he was not “American” due to his race.
Unfortunately, NBA celebrity too often comes with fan harassment, whether it’s on social media or in person. And for Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Norman Powell, it came in the form of a white woman claiming that he was “not American” because of the music he was listening to at a Las Vegas gym.
Powell live-streamed the encounter on Instagram, describing the situation in which the woman implied that he was not American because he is Black. The woman, who was speaking off-camera in the background of the video, made several nonsensical statements, including that she too was Black, her ancestors sailed to America on the Mayflower, and that she came from a long line of successful gamblers.
Powell questioned her on everything she said, joking with her that she must have “revitiligo” like Uncle Ruckus in the television series “The Boondocks.”
On the Twitter thread, more video footage is including in which the woman is arrested by police. The woman claimed her wrists were being hurt because one of them was broken and loudly shouted that she had the right to remain silent, to which an offer replied, “shut the f*** up.”
Norman Powell live-streams encounter with white woman claiming he isn’t “American”
Although this incident was resolved without violence, Black NBA players have dealt with racist violence and racial profiling at the hands of police and citizens throughout the United States.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix detailed how several NBA players and coaches experienced racism throughout their lives.
“NBA voices should resonate, will resonate following tragedies like Floyd because so many of them were Floyd. “It’s funny how people think I’ve been rich all my life … I don’t deal with what they do … I don’t get racially profiled … all because I made it to the league,” tweeted Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Before LeBron James was battling Michael Jordan for GOAT status, he battled poverty in Akron, Ohio, moving a dozen times before he was nine years old, waking up many mornings wondering when his next meal would come. As a child, Beal was called the n-word coming out of gym class. In a statement, Pistons coach Dwane Casey recounted feeling helpless as an eight-year old child growing up in predominantly white rural Kentucky. Looking for something more recent? In 2018, Bucks guard Sterling Brown was arrested and Tasered for parking in a handicap space.”
Sadly, being racially othered by white Americans is not an uncommon experience for Black Americans, and this will likely be the last time an NBA player will experience something like this. Thankfully for Powell, there were many people who stood by him and stood up to the woman who harassed him, resulting in her arrest.