Utah Jazz reporter Chip Buzz is under fire for a racially charged assertion that the Utah Jazz, set to take on the defending NBA Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors, had no Black players.
The outcry occurred after a segment in which Buzz noted that, “despite what happens, for the Jazz to reach this level with just five players is amazing.” After being challenged on his outlandish statement, he went on to reference Gordon Hayward, Joe Ingles, and Jeff Withey – three white players – as well as Brazilian Raulzhingo Neto and Afro-French player Rudy Gobert.
After he was asked why he left out the Jazz’ Black players (aside from Gobert and Neto), he looked genuinely surprised, saying “I didn’t realize we had any African-Americans. I guess they’re just so ‘normal’ I haven’t noticed them since Chris Brown left.”
When KSL reporter Glenda Kelly told him Chris Brown was a singer, Buzz argued her down until it was unveiled that he was talking about point guard George Hill – who never left the team, but simply stopped dying his hair blonde.
Buzz, a sportscaster on Salt Lake City NBC affiliate for over 33 years said, “I guess with our demographic, it’s been hard for me to write the same stories about Black players that I read in outlets like LA and Denver. My peers write about controversial guys like Iverson, fun-loving, obedient guys like Shaq, and even reformed guys like Ron Artest who ‘get it’ now, but I never got the chance to write about them. So I kind of forget Black players exist if they aren’t those three kinds of stories. I mean who writes about regular African-Americans?”
Most controversially, Buzz then noted that the Jazz’ history of “bland” Black players, who aren’t particularly charismatic and rarely make headlines for offcourt antics, made him immune to noticing their existence. Despite the Jazz having All-Stars like Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams in the recent past, he says he hasn’t talked to a Black Jazz player since Antoine Carr, who Buzz said he “threw his wallet at when he walked up angrily to him” in 1997.
When contacted, the 6-9 Carr noted that he simply wanted to tell Buzz off about calling him “a moonwalking showgirl distraction” for being filmed nodding his head to a Biggie Record during warmups of a 1997 contest.
“I was a millionaire, why would I want to rob him?,” Carr said incredulously.
After news of Buzz’ comments broke, the Black Jazz players made a silent protest by wearing shirts from Chip’s wife Linda’s “Grand Ol’ Kitchen” restaurant. When asked the significant of the shirts, Hill noted, “we just wanted to wear something bland.”