Historically, lawn jockeys were painted black. In a nod to political correctness, the museum painted them white — a move they no doubt found highly offensive yet necessary in today’s climate. Doing so again diminished the contributions of minorities to racing.Horse racing has been the sport of the rich and white. The John Hendricksons may be found at the backstretch, but they aren’t humping the hay bales, shoveling manure, grooming horses, or doing any of the physical labor. That’s left to an unseen underclass. Horse racing at Saratoga, as with all tracks, benefits from cheap labor and poor conditions doled out to the poor, mostly people of color. Draping Confederate flags over white lawn jockeys is a welcome nod to racing’s racist past and opens conversation to current treatment of backstretch employees.If John Hendrickson wants to pretend this is an act of vandalism, the district attorney will probably oblige him in his charade. That’s a perk of the powerful. Convincing a jury that an act that damaged nothing and cost nothing is vandalism may be harder.James vanDijkSaratoga Springs More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Re Jan. 25 article, “Confederate flags spur talk of racism”: I appreciate National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s President John Hendrickson’s state of high dudgeon over recent events at the racing museum. I feel similarly vexed when the powerful privileged unleash wrath and invective on the poor or disenfranchised for doing something that tarnishes the luster of the racing elite. Who is racist here? Is it Saratoga’s elite at the racing museum or the people who draped Confederate flags over the all-white lawn jockeys?
It’s come to this for Chris Paul: dead wood. Sigh. That’s where we’ll start this Rumor-ama. (SN Illustration) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/94/9f/chris-paul-nba-executive-quotejpg_2otjrqhxa7fy1ibznfwc6spga.jpeg?t=241727787&w=500&quality=80 For Houston, the issue is that the team would like to get assets back that can keep the team in contention and continue to maximize James Harden’s prime years. That is just not going to happen with a contract like Paul’s, though.Charlotte and Miami are among the teams that could be interested in Paul. Phoenix is weighing its options at point guard, but there is an outside chance they’d get involved. And keep an eye on the Lakers or Knicks — it’s likely that one of them will strike out in free agency and need a face-saving trade to rescue the summer. Paul is a face-saving trade target.But Houston is not going to get anything significant back from any of those teams, nothing that will truly benefit Harden. Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk? Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nic Batum? Empty space from New York?Trading Paul won’t bring back the kind of pieces that keep the Rockets relevant. It will only (possibly) free up enough space to give Houston flexibility.”It will have to be a salary dump,” the front-office executive said. “You might get back a decent player and a draft pick. But mostly, it is getting that contract off your books for the next three years. Chris can’t stay healthy. He has not been the same player. It’s hard to imagine him going back to the way he was.”If you’re Houston, you’re happy just to move him along and let someone else pay him. But you’re going to have to take back a bad contract in the bargain.”NBA free agency rumors: Frank Kaminsky to the Bucks?The Bucks have a quandary in the frontcourt with the possibility that big man Brook Lopez was so productive this season that he played himself out of Milwaukee’s price range. We’ll dust off an old Badger favorite as a possibility to help replace him: former Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky.Kaminsky was on the outs for most of the season in Charlotte, and according to sources, the Bucks attempted to trade for him at the deadline but were turned down and eventually acquired Nikola Mirotic. As free agency approaches, expect Milwaukee to have Kaminsky as an option again should the Bucks lose Lopez.MORE: Bucks must make moves now so Giannis doesn’t leave laterIt would take a bargain deal, much like Lopez signed last year. But returning to Wisconsin would give Kaminsky a chance to rebuild his value. Hornets coach James Borrego kept Kaminsky on the bench for most of the first four months of the season, but Charlotte would not trade him, insisting that he might yet play a role for the team. Indeed, Kaminsky finally played down the stretch and responded with 12.8 points per game, 4.7 rebounds and 36.6 percent 3-point shooting in the final 21 games.The Bucks also have Mirotic on board, and he, too, will be a free agent. The team would need to stock up on bigs in the absence of Lopez and could keep Mirotic and add another to the mix.NBA Draft rumors: Pelicans avoid another Klutch problemThere was an enormous sigh of relief in New Orleans this week, when star prospect Zion Williamson — Pelicans-bound when draft night comes — finally picked an agent, signing with CAA.There had been talk earlier in the month that Klutch Sports was among those in contention for Williamson. Klutch, of course, represents Anthony Davis, and its primary agent, Rich Paul, became a thorn in the side of the Pelicans organization as he tried to force a trade of Davis at the February deadline. MORE: How LeBron’s agent made a damaging impact on Lakers’ seasonNew team vice president David Griffin, who dealt with Paul when he was the general manager of the Cavaliers and LeBron James (Paul’s primary client) played in Cleveland, has tried to smooth things over with Klutch Sports and the Pels. His attempts at talking Davis into staying in New Orleans have more to do with resetting relations with Paul than it does with actually keeping Davis in town, which is a longshot.There are many within the Pelicans organization who are still embittered by the way Paul manipulated Davis last season, particularly coach Alvin Gentry, and having Williamson lined up with Paul would have opened wounds that are only recently healed. That won’t be a problem with CAA. Paul is the Rockets star who hit the trade block with a thud this week when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets were looking to clean house this offseason coming out of a disappointing conference semifinal loss to the Warriors.According to one front-office executive, a trade for Paul would be “something where if I am taking back your dead wood, you’ve got to take back some of mine.”MORE: Mike D’Antoni reportedly ends contract talks with RocketsIt’s not that Paul is not a useful player. He averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists during the 2018-19 season and is still a good pick-and-roll point guard. The problem is, in the course of one season after he turned 32, Paul went from a top-tier star to an above-average point guard, shooting just 41.9 percent from the field and a so-so 35.8 percent from the 3-point line.”As a player, of course you would take him on,” one general manager told Sporting News. “He is experienced. He is a smart guy. He can be good for young point guards to be around the way he sees the floor. But he lost a step. At the same time, he is gaining a big, big contract.”Losing the step can be seen in his play in the pick-and-roll, always a staple of his game. In 2015-16, he put up 0.94 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball hander, which was in the 89th percentile. In 2016-17, it was 0.96 points per possession, good the 83rd percentile. Last year, his first season in Houston, was one of his most efficient ever in the PNR: 1.02 points per possession, the 91st percentile.This year, Paul scored 0.87 points per possession, just the 59th percentile. He also missed 17 games with a left hamstring injury, the third time his left hamstring has been injured in the last three seasons. In all, Paul missed 24 games, the third straight season he’s sat out 20 or more times.And there is that contract, the four-year, $160 million deal last summer that most knew the Rockets would regret eventually. Few would have guessed that such regret would be only 10 months away.