Somebody got some 'plaining to do

A victim of circumstance. Sean Taylor was a victim of circumstance.

It is becoming evident that the murder of Sean Taylor was due to nothing more than criminals wanting to rob his house while he was (unbeknown to said criminals) there. These criminals didn’t know Taylor; they seem to be friends of the boyfriend of Taylor’s half-sister, which is akin to being the guy who details Taylor’s barber’s neighbor’s car if you are looking for a connection between Taylor and his assailants.

What will the ‘the past came back to haunt him’ crowd have to say now? If the only reason his house was targeted was it had valuables, what is the difference between the attack on Taylor that cost him his life and the attack on New York Times journalist David Rosenbaum, who died due to brain injuries stemming from a mugging in Washington DC in 2006? Will there be a mea culpa from Leonard Shapiro (Taylor's Death Is Tragic but Not Surprising) for assuming Taylor somehow contributed to his demise due to anything more than owning a nice home?

And what of people like Mike Wilbon (Dying Young, Black) and Jason Whitlock (Taylor’s Death A Grim Reminder For Us All) who speed past the tragedy of Taylor’s murder to get their somewhat connected point across, as if the loss of live wasn't enough. Whitlock in particular wins the ‘How can I connect this to my worldview?’ award for putting his disdain for the lyrics to a Soulja Boy song in his article as an example of the current black culture that killed Taylor, as if Taylor’s killers yelled ‘ youuuuuu!’ and did a nifty choreographed dance step after shooting.

There was a rush to judgment about this tragedy. And it was unnecessary. The tragedy of a 24 year old being gunned down in his home was enough to hold off on the speculation until at least Sean Taylor was put in the ground.


An Open Letter to Isiah Thomas

Dear Isiah Thomas:

I have been in your corner for a while. When you traded for Stephon Marbury, I was down with it. When you traded for Eddy Curry, I was down with it. When you signed Larry Brown, I was down with it. When you signed Jared Jeffries, I was down with it (in fact, I was thrilled). When you signed Jerome James,….okay, my allegiance wasn’t blind.

When people bashed you as a GM, I reminded them how irrelevant the team was under the Scott Layden/Howard Eisley/Clarence Weatherspoon era was. When people wanted to throw you over the side for Larry Brown, I reminded them of his insubordination (going behind the GM’s back with trade proposals) and asked what exactly Brown did so great in his first year to deserve more power.

I’ve had your back for a while, but I can’t ride with you anymore. Not (and I know you have heard this phrase before) if you are going to go out like a punk.

The same man who escaped the Chicago streets, who thrived under legendary coach/bully Bob Knight, who was the toughest man on the Bad Boys is now scared of Marbury?

You were doing the right things early. You told Marbury, Curry and Jamal Crawford their defense was not acceptable in the preseason. You gave it a couple of games, saw that playing the Knicks was Christmas for opposing point guards, and decided to bring Marbury off the bench. He loses his shit, bolts the team at a time where Zach Randolph and Renaldo Balkman were out, leaving your team woefully shorthanded against Phoenix. If the reports are right, you went to the remainder of the team and asked them if Marbury should play in the next game, they unanimously voted no. And you played him.

You took the path of less resistance. Sitting Marbury may have added to the circus atmosphere surrounding your club, but it would show Marbury in particular and the rest of your team in general that failure to meet the coach’s standards has consequences.

Instead, you went out like a punk. And you probably lost the remainder of your team in the process.

Fast forward to today. The day after your team suffered an historic blowout on national television against the Celtics, the day after you say the team’s performance was the most selfish you have ever seen, you run the same starting five out on the court to start against the Bucks. Once again, no consequences for failure.

What does Marbury have on you? Did you and he double team and kill a hooker during the summer? Does he know you ATM card code? Are you a financial backer of his sneakers? What hold does them man have on you that you seem to be willing to throw everything away just to avoid conflict with a player who you would smash into a million pieces when you were playing?

The Knicks becoming an embarrassment isn’t all your fault. But enough of it is your fault that I don’t want you as my coach, my GM or my President anymore.


Now, all I have to do is work out

My current workout Playlist:

Daytona 500 – Ghostface Killah
Put Them In Their Place – Mobb Deep
Spit Your Game – Twasta feat. Notorious B.I.G.
Switch – Ashanti feat. Nelly
Bullet With Butterfly Wings – Smashing Pumpkins
Go Getta – Young Jeezy feat. R. Kelly
Badman – Ghostface Killah feat. Elephant Man
Ice Box (rmx) – Omarion feat. Usher & Fabolous
What You Know About That – T.I.
When I See You (rmx) – Fantasia
Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
I’m Just Getting Warm – Busta Rhymes
Triumph – Wu-Tang Clan
SOS – Rihanna
Push It – Rick Ross
Connected – Stereo MCs
Toxic - Britney Spears


Come On Bill

Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint were on Meet The Press this morning in support of their book Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors. In the book, they decry the current state of black America and urge black people to be better parents and citizens. Cosby has been touring the country in the last few years, spreading this message.

While I agree with the major points he makes (the lack of fathers has been devastating to black America, especially to young black males/the fact that there is institutionalized racism in this country does not mean black people can throw their hands up and not try/the value of an education needs to be higher in the black community), there are two issues that bother me:

  • Hip-Hop as a sickness instead of a symptom. Cosby (for expediency, I am critiquing Cosby; both authors can be painted with the same brush) rightly holds some Hip-Hop music to task for their language, glorification of violence and (most importantly) their negative portrayal of women.The problem with making Hip-Hip a significant bullet point in their thesis is this: I listen to Hip-Hop and know the difference between what T.I. or Jay-Z says in a song and real life. I know no matter how many time Jay-Z says he runs through more chicks than Colonel Sanders, he may be holding Beyonce’s purse on a shopping spree right now. I know this because of the education and parental guidance I have received, which are much more important than anything The Game or Lil’ Wayne can say.
  • Why are they on Meet The Press? When asked why he robbed banks, notorious criminal Willie Sutton replied ‘because that’s where the money is.’ While I do understand Meet The Press is a prestigious program, the target audience for his book isn’t watching Meet The Press. They are watching BET. That is where he should be. I would find it hard to believe that BET would not give Bill Cosby however much time he wanted to talk, and if they didn’t the fact that they refused him would be a powerful way to generate publicity. He is going to be on Oprah this week, which is a little better, but he needs to go where the money is.


Hopefully, back on the grind

Miss me?

Work and family responsibilities (hi Bean!) have kept me away from the blog for a while. I’m going to try to come back and post something every day, even if it is a sentence or two.

What spurned this return? My high school had their 20th anniversary last week. While I couldn’t go, I did get to see a number of posts from classmates, some of which had blogs. Reading them reminded me how much I enjoyed writing, even if it is just for myself.

Hopefully I do better than my plan to exercise regularly. I actually brought a gym bag to work Thursday with hopes of working out there (we have a small gym with free weights and an ellipse machine to protect my balky knee from treadmill pounding). I went down to the gym around 4:30p, changed into my workout clothes, only to discover there were no sneakers in the bag. I’m smart.

So, here we go again. Blackpot 2.0.


The links baby, the links

Haven't been here lately and I don't know when I'll be here next. I've added The Golfing Negro to my blogging empire, where I talk about my pitiful golf game as well as other golf things that catch my eye.

I've added that link to the page, along with Soccer By Ives, a professional soccer blog by my friend Ives, who writes for The Jersey Herald and ESPN.com. He doesn't need my help but why not.


Jason Whitlock:

L’affaire Imus caused a lot of people to lose; Don Imus, CBS Radio, MSNBC, free speech (if you believe certain radio personalities who believe they could be next). Only two people can thank the firestorm for improving his or her professional status; Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer (who indirectly got a book deal out of it) and sportswriter Jason Whitlock.

Well before Imus blew himself up, Whitlock has used his status as a columnist at the Kansas City Star and AOL Sports to state the biggest problem in the African-American community is, as he puts it, the ‘Black KKK’. Whitlock believes African-American culture in general and hip-hop in particular celebrates a prison mentality (Bill Cosby also feels this way, and has been speaking out over the past few years). In the aftermath of Imus’ comments, Whitlock wrote an article reiterating his point:
While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos. I ain’t saying
Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.
This contrary position propelled Whitlock to numerous spots on news networks, Oprah (twice!) and Harvard.

While I don’t agree with Whitlock’s ranking of problems in the African-American community (I believe the lack of male role models is more important than anything else) I do agree with a lot he has to say. I share his point that black folk don't have to jump to attack when obvoiusly baited (Read: Rush Limbaugh). My main critique of Whitlock is, and excuse the pun, he sees things too much in black and white.

Whitlock seems to live in a zero sum world. Because 50 cent uses bad words and black people don’t protest, Don Imus can’t be criticized for using bad words. Because Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don’t challenge The Game for the words they use (by the way, they have) they can’t challenge Don Imus. Why can’t both be wrong?

And his attack on Vivian Stringer was beyond the pale:

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had. Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.

But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

So Stringer’s crime against black folk is bad public speaking? And as for opportunism, where does one press conference weigh against appearing on Orpah (twice!)? When Whitlock comes out with his book (and if doesn’t have book out by the end of 2008, I’ll be shocked) will that be opportunism? Or is it that since you are fighting the good fight against Snoop Dogg and Dave Chappelle, you get a pass?

Whitlock seems so hyper-focused on this issue, nothing else can penetrate his universe and no one that doesn’t share his views exactly can be painted with the same brush as the people who he believes actively advance the ‘prison culture’.

His attitude is not going to help his cause.