Black People Are Free To Walk Away…Even From The Handshake Line

Rosalyn Morris
3 min readFeb 21, 2022
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Another day, another controversy. This time it involves college basketball coaches Juwan Howard from the University of Michigan and Greg Gard from the University of Wisconsin-Madison…and a brawl that broke out between their respective teams after Howard slapped Gard’s assistant coach, Joe Krabbenhoft.

Gard, who is white, stepped to Howard, who is Black, during the handshake line following the game.

Howard did not want to shake Gard’s hand because he was upset about a timeout that was called earlier by Gard. Anyone with eyes could see Howard was not going to shake Gard’s hand. He avoided eye contact and was ready to walk right past Gard and go on about his business.

Gard, apparently, didn’t understand this because he walked right up to Howard anyway and accosted him. Yes, he accosted him. Accosted means to approach and speak to someone in an often challenging or aggressive way.

Some say he wanted to explain the timeout to Howard. Either way, Howard wasn’t interested and Gard clearly didn’t respect his boundaries or personal space.

If you watch the video closely, the first contact between the two coaches occurred when, Gard, not wearing a mask, grabbed Howard’s jacket.

The assistant coach, Krabbenhoft, was hit because he too accosted Howard, coming up out of nowhere, yelling, inserting himself in a situation that had nothing to do with him.

White people seem to have this problem: believing they have ownership of Black people. Being demanding; thinking they’re owed something, an explanation or acknowledgement; not letting Black people walk away.

It’s entitlement.

White people also start altercations with Black people then play victim.

Juwan Howard did not have to shake Gard’s hand. He did not have to listen to what he had to say. He was free to keep it moving and Gard should have done the same.