Politics are tricky business. Whilst running for office, a candidate has to carefully measure each and every word they say, lest they end up like that guy from Ohio who screamed his speech as loud as possible. Usually, people wait until after they’re elected to make a total joke of themselves, so it’s of the utmost importance to be vigilant when talking on the campaign trail.

Seems like Chris Dudley — former brick-laying NBA big man and current Oregon gubernatorial candidate — found that out the hard way. From Politico:

When Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Dudley addressed the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs’ monthly “Coffee & Issues” breakfast on Sept. 24, he reprised a comment he’d made at an earlier interview with the Urban League of Portland.

“I heard him say he ‘understood what it was like to be a minority because he had played in the NBA,” recalls state Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland), the only African-American man in the Oregon Legislature.

Yeah, probably not the best thing to say as a white male who graduated from Yale who’s hoping to win over voters, even if the NBA is 82 percent black. That’s just one of those zings you leave in the pocket, I’d say.

As you can imagine, it didn’t sit too well with Frederick, who is an actual minority.

“He certainly wasn’t being denied a job or housing or health care,” says Frederick, who acknowledges he supports Dudley’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. John Kitzhaber. “He has no idea what it’s like to be denied a loan as a minority small businessman, and he’s never had problems getting an equal education. For goodness’ sake, he’s a Yale grad.”

Yep, there’s that Yale thing. Kind of came back to bite Ol’ Dudders in the tush. So you know what that means — apology time!

Dudley’s spokesman, Jake Suski, acknowledges Dudley made the comment but says he made it light-heartedly and did not intend to make an analogy between his own experience and the experiences of minorities.

“He wasn’t seriously making the comparison,” Suski says. “In no way was it an attempt to minimize the challenges that members of the minority community face.”

Serious or not — and it seems very, very not serious — it’s probably just better to not say you understand what it’s like to be a minority when you’re a huge white guy who has made more than $38 million playing basketball for a living. I’m no political campaign expert, but I’d surmise that’s one of the first things they teach you at Political Campaign University.

Let’s just chalk this one up as a brick for Chris. He’s used to it.

(via The Awl)

Comments (9)

  1. At least the race isn’t decided by free-throws.

  2. Why is it light blue when my typing happens.

  3. My only impression of Dudley is from the 1999 Finals so I can’t say it’s a very positive one. The only thing I remember clearly is Bob Costas saying how Dudley makes Wilt Chamberlain look good from the line.

  4. Dudley also tells liberals he’s Pro Choice and then neglects to mention it to his rural constituents. Phony ass white millionaire from Yale. Stick to the country club, cracker.

  5. What’s really fucking amazing is that Dudley is supposedly in a tight race here in Oregon against the Dem, Kitzhaber. Good grief, Oregon, really?

  6. LMAO, bad comparison. It isn’t racist, but just bad. You’re an athlete getting paid millions to pay in the nba. Your nba experience is your own. Sure you have your players assoc thingy, but it doesn’t reflect voters.

    really odd that he would mention that.

  7. Chris Dudley is a douchebag and a poseur. The whole arc of his life has shown ZERO inclination toward civic engagement of any kind. He almost never even VOTED, for God’s sake. And all of a sudden he wants to be Governor? He has no clue. I want to know who is pulling the strings, because he is somebody’s puppet for sure. Oh and yeah, I went to Yale too, and that is the world’s worst reason to vote for anyone. Please, Oregon, help me out here.

  8. Why people in my state would hire someone to govern with absolutely no experience with anything related to governing is beyond me. His record of failure with the NBA, nonchalant record of not voting, evading Oregon taxes by living in Washington, “donating” his house to the fire department to burn down for a tax write off instead of paying the cost of demolition, the list goes on and on. It’s another rich white guy funded by a bunch of other rich white guys who want to keep the business climate in Oregon friendly, which, of course, means at the very least, reduced corporate taxes, and lax regulation and oversight of industry. He’s bad news, and the fact that it’s a close race is unbelievable.

  9. I’m pretty sure Chris Dudley isn’t in a minority…I’m pretty sure that 99% of all centers who lay an egg in the finals and don’t have a definable skill set other than “Has 6 fouls before being ejected” and “Can’t shoot outside of 2ft” get bounced from the NBA within 2 years…

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