"You're holding an organization to a standard that happens because of race. There's no other explanation why people don't go to Pacers games".
Cowherd backs off a bit afterwards, saying he's not characterizing everyone in Indianapolis as racist, but he insists that Indianapolis punishes the Pacers more than they punish the Colts for indiscretions off the field or off the court, and a lot of that is racial. He also cites Facebook posts which describe Pacer players as thugs, automatically assuming they're referring to their race.
Unless, of course, Cowherd is merely projecting his own racism upon other people. It's not unheard of for anti-racists to use anti-racism to disguise their own prejudices.
Here's the Indiana Pacers' response:
"That’s one person’s opinion we don't agree with. We are grateful to those who have supported us so far this season and over the years and we expect the support to grow as the season goes on. This is a great sports town, as evidenced by the great crowds we had during the playoffs last season and many times this season. The Pacers are a very good team with a very good group of players, on and off the court, who are very proud representatives of the city and the state. That was pointed out many times from a national media perspective over the recent All-Star weekend. We look forward to seeing our great fans here at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.”
USA Today suggests a different reason for the Pacers' tepid support:
The NBA season-ticket-buying culture in Indianapolis is dead, at least for now. That has nothing to do with race. That has everything to do with six years of really bad basketball.
Here’s what Colin doesn’t quite get as he watches from afar in Bristol, Conn. After that 2004-05 season, pro basketball died here in Indianapolis. Ron Artest went crazy. Stephen Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley and others got in trouble. The team made the playoffs, but it was an unlikable team, and the Pacers were forced to trade off all those players in order to change the culture.
The result was five or six years of nice guys who couldn’t play a lick of basketball.
So yes, the Pacers did have a bunch of black thugs at one time, and people have long memories, even if the current crew is of better character. Of course, no one bothers to mention the price of tickets, parking, and concessions at games, or the effect that the recession which kicked in at the end of 2007 had upon the disposable income of many people.
It is at least understandable when a non-white plays the race card against us; the non-white can be said to be defending his own racial interests. But whose interests are served when whites play the race card against us?
Most likely those with surnames like Goldberg, Bloomberg, and Madoff.