A Harlem Globetrotters leader is speaking out against racial insensitivity after two White Alabama news reporters threw fruit at him on live tv, including a banana. Maxwell Pearce, 24, known as the legendary basketball team’s “Hops Pearce,” posted on Sunday video of the incident that took place for WBRC Fox6 News in Birmingham, Alabama on Good Day in January. The WBRC is an affiliate of CNN.
Pearce told CNN on Tuesday that he was on the show promoting a Samford University basketball game from Harlem Globetrotter and showcasing some of the basketball tricks from the squad that are also seen in a segment video posted on the website of the news station. Pearce can be seen standing in a circle in the video, with an anchor and weather forecaster imitating the “magic circle” of the team and moves in ball handling. The weather forecaster throws a tangerine instead while planning to toss the ball to Pearce.
The video on the website ends, but in an expanded version obtained by CNN and in a clip shared on Pearce’s Instagram page, he is thrown off-camera with another tangerine and moments later a banana is thrown at him. In a statement Monday, WBRC News Manager Shannon Isbell offered an apology to Pearce.
The Racism Deaths
Pearce said when it first happened, he hesitated to speak out on the incident but said the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others stirred his emotions and made someone to revisit the incident. Ask whether he feels the incident occurs because the anchors unaware of the social background of throwing a banana at a Black person or whether it motivates by racism, Pearce states “I can’t tell either way” but said “it’s not appropriate for anyone to have so much experience” and live close to the start of the civil rights movement not to be aware of the past.
The news station on August 14 broadcast a race talk, including an interview with Pearce, who discussed the incident. Isbell, who performed the interview, said during the segment “two of my team members threw fruit. It includes a banana, unaware of the historical consequences of that behaviour.”
Isbell also told AL.com that the station had been in negotiations. It is with Pearce and that they delight to have him on the program.
No Apology Given
Pearce told CNN that while the station had released an apology he did not hear or receive a direct apology. It is from the anchors and that “at this stage, it would not be genuine to me.”
CNN reached out to Isbell and WBRC Tuesday but did not receive a reply.
In the aftermath of police shootings of Black men, the professional basketball community became outspoken about racial brutality and prejudice. A number of players, including Lebron James, have supported Black Lives Matter through their social media accounts. It is after the season suspends on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA and WNBA have put on their jerseys political statements. Thus, wearing warm-up shirts with social justice slogans. It is like “Say Her Name” and “I Am a Woman” instead of their last name.
Located in Tuckahoe, New York, Pearce is a Purchase College graduate. Also, entered the Globetrotters in 2018, having won the Dark Horse Dunk Competition. He said he had been very proud of both present and former Harlem Globetrotters. Pearce also said that he learned from his experience not to brush off incidents like his off. He said that he hopes his experience will inspire others to react when they witness or experience the same. He also said the problem is bigger than a Harlem Globetrotter does.