Bill Simmons Calls NBA Players Dumb

Yesterday we posted the video of Bryant Gumbel's controversial comments on David Stern where he compared Stern to a "plantation overseer." Yesterday ESPN's Bill Simmons shared his own controversial thoughts on the NBA and it's lockout. SB Nation's NBA Editor Tom Ziller took Simmons to task.

In a critique of Simmons' article, SB Nation's Tom Ziller broke down several elements of his argument.

One particularly interesting aspect of Simmons' piece was his assessment of the players' intelligence.

"I don't trust the players' side to make the right choices, because they are saddled with limited intellectual capital. (Sorry, it's true.)," wrote Simmons.

Ziller provided the following response:

"A sportswriter who asserts without evidence that killing three teams, cutting the schedule, adding a play-in tournament, convincing players to reject millions of dollars and talking to Malcolm Gladwell will lead the NBA to the promised land is accusing NBA players of having limited intellectual capital," wrote Ziller.

"This is outrageous. There's really not much more to say about it other than Bill Simmons just said that players are largely stupid."
Gumbel's comments caused a huge stir yesterday with the accompanying Bryant Gumbel trending on twitter. Simmons' comments have gone almost completely under the radar, with the exception of Ziller who calls this a "Stunning double-standard."

It should also be noted that Simmons compares the NHL to the NBA in his column and in explaining how the NHL is better, he claims it has the "highest percentage of "most likable players" (hands down)." I would have liked to have seen Ziller point out the elephant in the room, instead of just dancing around it. Simmons is essentially calling white NHL players "most likable" and black NBA players "saddled with limited intellectual capital." Now not all NHL players are white, but it's pretty damn close. And not all NBA players are black, but it is a vastly predominantly black league and out of the players on the negotiating committee Matt Bonner is the only non black player.

I know people are often scared to talk about race (as seen from the zero comments on the Gumbel piece), but I'm curious what people's thoughts are on Simmons' comments. I'm guessing if someone else had said them, Simmons would be sure to call them out on the racist undertones, so he should expect the same scrutiny, correct? So were Simmons comments alarming or much ado about nothing?

Gumbel Video      Simmons column       Ziller Column