Erstwhile NBA player Steve Novak has been a Milwaukee Bucks TV analyst for three seasons and, according to a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a local crank for at least one summer. At issue was a sign placed in front of the Whitefish Bay Public Library by a local anti-racist organization, Bay Bridge Wisconsin, identifying themselves and asking residents of the affluent town to consider how they’d help build a “more equitable community.” You’d only need to have a passing familiarity with this summer’s culture war over “critical race theory,” or more than two minutes’ experience of reading Nextdoor, to predict some residents’ responses to the sign.
Per the Journal Sentinel, Novak was one of several locals who emailed the library’s director and demanded that the sign be taken down. Here’s what the paper posted from his June 8 email. Remember, this former NBA player is enraged about a sign that says racism is extant and wrong:
“There is an offensive sign posted in front of the public library that incorrectly generalizes our community. It says that Whitefish Bay recognizes systemic racism,” Novak, who works as an analyst for the Bucks on Bally Sports Wisconsin (formerly Fox Sports Wisconsin), wrote in a June 8 email to Nyama Reed, the library’s director. “What group has taken the liberty of speaking for our community in such a hateful, damaging and inaccurate way?”Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Remarkably, Novak finds himself on the opposite side of this issue from Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers, the Whitefish Bay jewelry store that infamously locked former Milwaukee Bucks player John Henson out of the store and called the cops on him in 2015. “While we will always recognize that we’ve personally been a part of a race related incident. We are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves and to be more inclusive,” the store wrote in a Facebook post in support of Bay Bridge’s mission and the library sign. “We understand that we will never fully understand; and recognize we have a long way to go still.”
Reed replied to Novak and several other cranks the morning after they sent their emails, informing them that the sign would be taken down and that a sign policy would soon be drafted. “Thank you for your response,” Novak replied. “Groups that are trying to indoctrinate our community and our children as they go to the library are shameful. Disinformation is the abuse of power.” (It is not.) Steve Novak has a lot to learn from a once-racist jewelry store.