Stereotype people, and risk coming out looking like an utter fool when they prove you wrong. At least, after the NBA did some digging, that appears to be the reminder Andrei Kirilenko’s given us.
Several executives across the league were said to have cried foul play behind closed doors following the 32-year-old’s decision to sign a $3.2 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets back in July after electing to turn down a $10 million option to remain with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to recent reports, the NBA came up with nothing after investigating executives’ accusations that the only way Kirilenko could ever choose to leave that amount of money on the table is if his fellow Russian, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, was slipping him the difference under the table.
Such finger-pointing was nothing short of disgraceful. Just because Kirilenko and Prokhorov are Russian, the worst automatically had to be assumed? What year are we living in again?
Those same executives should feel ashamed of themselves now that Kirilenko and Prokhorov have been found clean. Why did they feel it was impossible for nationality not to have played the most significant role in negotiating the terms of the contract? “Old stereotypes, they’re very hard to beat and to break,” Prokhorov said in a press conference after hearing of the complaints. “I respect all the NBA rules and we play by the NBA rules.”
Honestly, I’m elated that Kirilenko and Prokhorov were found of no wrongdoing simply because it reinforced an important lesson about how unjust stereotyping can be.