Sam Dekker and Bronson Koenig's white culture debate ends with surprise twist

Sam Dekker and Bronson Koenig led Wisconsin to back-to-back Final Four appearances. (Getty Images)

Two former University of Wisconsin teammates turned professional basketball players engaged in a Twitter debate about white culture that devolved into one of white pride and ultimately a beef between two followers, one of whom purchased the other a plane ticket so they could physically fight.

The debate began here, we think, with former Badgers guard and current G League player Bronson Koenig, who has been a vocal advocate for Native Americans as a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation:

The article Koenig shared was titled “White People Have No Culture” and written by Lorena Wallace for an online publication called Terra Incognita. It follows the writer’s journey to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock Indiana Reservation in 2016 and her realization that the culture of “white people” is not one steeped in familial traditions but in “colonization,” “genocide” and “taking.”

“The culture of white people is the culture of death,” she wrote. “It is a culture of endless war, desensitization to human suffering, and the upholding of a brutal individualism fueled by greed. It is a deep, dark hole of grief and of loss. We don’t even know what we lost. We don’t know our ancestors. We don’t have stories of creation and hope and family; only stories of destruction and genocide. Our coming of age ceremony is a school shooting. Our song is a ballad about rockets and explosions. Our elders die alone surrounded by their stories of family members who no longer visit them. Our cities were built by the blood of slaves, on top of the graves of native people.”

And Koenig kept the discussion going on Twitter:

A lot of people engaged Koenig in this discussion. One was former Badgers teammate Sam Dekker, now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, who took time out of his wedding planning to weigh in:

There is room for healthy debate on that article, but starting that dialogue with “white” and “proud” is probably not the best way to enter it, given a current climate in which people have marched in defense of Confederate monuments using similar language to ignite an extremely unhealthy debate.

A lot of people also engaged Dekker in this discussion:

Dekker deleted his earlier tweet, and then defended it, digging into his hole rather than some context:

Meanwhile, Koenig clarified a bit about what he meant — that white Americans often identify culturally with their individual European heritage rather than anything that unites them under one identifiable white culture in America. Or at least I think that’s what he’s trying to say here:


Because to identify culturally solely as a white American is problematic for reasons we shouldn’t have to explain, mostly because it associates Americanism with skin color while ignoring Americanism itself is a blend of cultures coming together to pursue happiness freely. My guess is Dekker would agree.

Now, the country has often veered from this principle — first during a genocidal westward expansion through indigenous territories, later by slavery, and more recently with DAPL and white nationalism — and I’m sure Wallace would agree. It is not surprising that Koenig and Dekker have different ideas about what being white and American mean, but Twitter is probably not the best place to sort it out.

We interrupt this conversation to bring you another former Badger’s Twitter take on race:

And, hey, here’s another example of why Twitter isn’t the place to discuss such matters.

The debate between Koenig and Dekker took on a new life when one Twitter user went here:

Another went here:

Twitter users debate Los Angeles Clippers forward Sam Dekker’s tweet about being white and proud. (Twitter)

That escalated to here:

And here’s where they stand now:

So, there you have it. A debate between two former Wisconsin teammates about white culture resulted in a pair of other people engaging in an argument that one led to purchase a plane ticket for the other so they could punch each other. Or go to brunch with one another. Who says conversations about race on Twitter are unproductive? And thank you for following this story about basketball.