The #MeToo movement is struggling for victories three years after its most effective year. In 2018, when men like Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer and Tavis Smiley were held accountable for their behavior against women who they had power over in professional spaces, women cheered what they assumed was a turning of the tables in a patriarchal culture. A new day, if you will. But there are Boston Celtics 2008 victories and Chicago Bulls dynastic victories. One is just a placeholder until something else comes along while another is dug deep into the soil.
After Harvey Weinstein sat in a courtroom and listened to his accusers and watched his attorney ridicule their injuries, after he was thrown in the slam for sexual crimes, after women high-fived justice, the #MeToo movement lost a lot of its oxygen. The man who started the firestorm was incarcerated and a lot of the wind just died out the sails. #MeToo fires were suddenly drowned out or overly scrutinized once the head of the snake was stomped on and sent off to the slam.
2021 isn’t 2018. NBA great Chauncey Billups would have been sabotaged in 2018. His own lurid past includes a story of a horrible rape and no charges filed. White #MeToo, the Portland version, went into overdrive when Billups emerged as the top candidate for the Portland gig particularly since a female candidate Becky Hammon was also thrown in the mix as a possible coach, probably as a way to nullify white #MeToo once they heard about Billups history.
But it’s not 2018.
Billups has long been considered coaching material beginning with his playing days when he earned the nickname Mr. Big Shot. He was an elite on-the-floor leader who organized the offense, had a high IQ, competed, and was a winner. But it also must be pointed out that Chauncey Billups has the same coaching experience as Steve Nash but where is the outrage of black privilege at his hire like there was for Nash’s? (Just trying to point out the hypocrisy.)
Most newbie black coaches get sh*tty jobs that will get them fired but Billups has a relationship with Portland GM Neil Olshey. Once Jason Kidd took his name out the Blazers hat- Dallas was an easier get and why put up with white #MeToo when you don’t have too?- Billups was the front runner to coach a superstar that can’t win in the playoffs.
Except there was that story.
It was pretty disgusting and I must say pretty familiar. A club. Drinking. NBA players. A girl who winds up in a bed and confesses to a friend something “bad” has happened. She goes to the hospital, has a rape kit, and her injuries support her story. Except, the men never get charged. One of those men was Chauncey Billups who settled in a civil suit.
The lack of charges can’t be blamed on the late nineties and looking the other way because five years earlier Tupac Shakur was charged with rape for an identical sort of situation, was convicted, and went to jail. Tupac was a star. Chauncey Billups was a lottery pick but mostly unknown because he played in Colorado. For some reason, the Boston D.A. thought better of charging the case.
This is my problem with white #MeToo. For the 264 years that slavery existed, white men were raping girls and making them have their babies, and their wives said absolutely nothing about black trauma. When two white girls lied and said nine Alabama boys raped them and were sentenced to death, a lot of melanin-absent folk were mum. When Emmitt Till was murdered because of a white woman who later recanted that Emmit Till said to her “hey baby,” white #MeToo was invisible. My point is they pick and choose their battles along racial lines.
Chauncey Billups wasn’t charged with a crime. People assume he is guilty but he was never charged. Where is the anger towards the D.A. who decided he couldn’t get a guilty verdict based on the evidence?
Damian Lillard didn’t hire Chauncey Billups, Neil Olshay did. Why is Lillard being held responsible? Is this some black man tribal thing, if one of you do something all of you do something? Billups is someone Blazer fans don’t know so- and this makes zero sense- they are brutalizing someone they do know. Be kind to a stranger, eviscerate your family.
It just may run Lillard out of town. The undertones of the Billups fiasco has racial hatred as an accelerant. Consider that Lillard is beloved until, well, Lillard is hated. The late Toni Morrison said a black person can never truly have white friends because one day they will turn on you.
Portland has turned on Damian Lillard.
As a town, Portland is a strange mix. Inundated by liberals who are consistently fighting off white supremacists, the city lacks black people- more black people live in Portland, Maine- and so all their racial solidarity and black lives matter marches and allyship is nice until the rubber hits the road, until all politics are local. Damian Lillard has multiple constituencies within the city. He is a black man, and he is the face of the only team in town that matters. He is supposed to hate Chauncey Billups the way Portland hates him.
Not that I want to educate white people but black folk are independent of each other. Chauncey Billups is Chauncey Billups. Damian Lillard is Damian Lillard. If you have a problem with one you don’t try to run the other out of town. You don’t blame Lillard because Billups is the coach. You blame the GM. You blame the owner.
#MeToo has a certain thirst about taking mens jobs away but in 2021 certain men are untouchable, despite social media disgust. Chauncey Billups is the coach of the Blazers and Damian Lillard is no longer in love with the fan base. Those are the facts of the sordid situation.
Have lines been drawn? No. Lines have always been there. But with a twist. Portland #MeToo stands on their morality until they don’t. Like in 2013 when Kobe Bryant was in town and played every single minute of the game and beat the Blazers and fans booed Kobe but not because he was accused of rape, something Billups never was. They booed Kobe because he was from L.A. Portland #MeToo is situational.
There’s a bigger elephant in the room. What if Billups is innocent? What damage have you done to Lillard?