Utah legislators were trying to pass legislation that would ban critical race theory in schools when Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz guard, became a problem. A newly-released video from May showed Republican state senate president Stuart Adams calling out Mitchell, insinuating that he didn’t understand the proposed reform.
“I hate to use names, but I will,”Adams was quoted in the clip. “Donovan Mitchell is not happy with us. And you start to get … very popular sports stars like that that are pushing back. We’ve got work to do to try to educate them. My text back was, ‘Let’s get after him and let’s go tell him what we’re doing,’ because I don’t really think he understands what happened.”
#utpol Sen. President Adams talking at an ALEC meeting about how they tried to copy a Critical Race Theory bill, but failed because the Donovan Mitchell wasn’t happy. Also says CRT isn’t something we’ve seen a lot of in Utah pic.twitter.com/l8NXEaq0hX
— Qualified Charters (@quietstreetsnow) September 8, 2021
The Utah State Board of Education approved seven amendments in June that outline what lessons can be taught about diversity, equity and inclusion in public schools. It is explained in detail by The Deseret News. Adams indicated that Utah leaders will continue to push for legislation in 2022, even though critical race theory was not taught in Utah public schools. Vox reports on the difficulties facing educators as new laws attempt to limit discussion on race in schools.
Mitchell shared his views on the legislation in May.
“I think the biggest thing, the part that I really stand for, is education, and being able to educate our children on racial history,”Mitchell stated. “I think that’s huge. I think that’s a big part of it, understanding the foundation of how we got to this point.”
Donovan Mitchell’s answer when asked about Utah’s resolution banning critical race theory teaching in schools. Before being asked the question, he didn’t know that the resolution had been passed. He seemed disillusioned overall. pic.twitter.com/Sb9mZ4OL1b
— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) May 20, 2021
Ryan Smith, a new franchisee of Jazz, supported Mitchell on Thursday. “When it comes to important issues like race, we have to start from a position of listening, not “educating” … and listening to our players’ experiences is a great place to start.”
Both Mitchell and Jazz have been doing important work for the community in recent years. This week, Mitchell announced he’s teaming with a non-profit to raise $1 million to help fund public school initiatives so teachers don’t have to pay out of pocket for classroom expenses.
Last season, the Jazz established a minority scholarship program that awarded one college scholarship per Jazz win to a local high-school senior of color. Last season, the Jazz was the NBA’s most successful team.
Adams suggests that Adams can. ‘educate’ Mitchell, maybe he’s the one who should be doing some listening.
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