Richardson says dress code targets black players

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jason Richardson wants to keep wearing
his chains, and the Golden State Warriors guard believes the NBA's
new dress code takes aim at black players in the league.

He is calling for the players' association to fight the new
wardrobe rules announced this week that will go into effect when
the season kicks off next month.
"They want to sway away from the hip-hop generation,"
Richardson said Wednesday night before the Warriors played the
Phoenix Suns in a preseason game. "You think of hip-hop right now
and think of things that happen like gangs having shootouts in
front of radio stations.
"One thing to me that was kind of racist was you can't wear
chains outside your clothing. I don't understand what that has to
do with being business approachable. ... You wear a suit, you still
could be a crook. You see all what happened with Enron and Martha
Stewart. Just because you dress a certain way doesn't mean you're
that way. Hey, a guy could come in with baggy jeans, a 'do rag and
have a Ph.D. and a person who comes in with a suit could be a
three-time felon."
Players will be required to wear business-casual attire when
involved in team or league business. They can't wear visible
chains, pendants or medallions over their clothes.
The NBA announced Monday in a memo to teams that a dress code
will go into effect at the start of the season. Saying players must
dress in "business casual" attire, the league banned items such
as sleeveless shirts, shorts, sunglasses while indoors, and
headphones during team or league business.
The policy also requires players on the bench not in uniform to
wear sport jackets, shoes and socks.
Indiana guard Stephen Jackson, who like Richardson is black,
agrees that the policy is trying to keep players from expressing
their hip-hop style. Boston's Paul Pierce shares the sentiment.
In protest, Jackson wore four chains to the Pacers' exhibition
game against San Antonio on Tuesday night.
Jackson defended his actions Wednesday, but said he won't allow
his feelings to cause a distraction once the regular season starts.
"They don't want your chains to be out, all gaudy and shiny.
But that's the point of them," he said. "I love wearing my
jewelry. But I love my job. I love playing basketball more than I
love getting fined and getting suspended."
Richardson has always liked to express himself with his funky
attire. Now, he knows he will be wearing his suits much more often.
He doesn't mind the league mandate for "cleaning up" the
bench, but believes a large number of players make their way to and
from their cars away from the public view, so they should be able
to wear what they want.
"You're expressing yourself, expressing your identity. It's
taking away our self expression. I like to dress and change it
up," Richardson said. "Some of them have religious meanings
behind their chains, others have personal messages behind their
chains. Some guys just like to wear them. I think that was an
indirectly racial."