A Twist of Process, or Why We Don’t Trust Them

“Mark Geragos (CNN contributor) is going in about the results of this autopsy!  It doesn’t sound good for the cop’s argument!”   That’s what my wife yelled to me as she sat in the living room, and I in the basement.  We were both watching different news stations as they covered the events in Ferguson and the case for Michael Brown vs. Officer Darren Wilson.  I said to her, “Well that may mean something to The Feds.”

“What?,” she questioned.  “Well, (I elaborated), federal officials are the only ones who would seek to use such information as a means of why they should or shouldn’t prosecute.  Certainly The County isn’t.  They aren’t looking to seriously investigate a case that would hurt Wilson regardless of any facts.”   Then it hit her… “Oh yea,” she said.

This conversation brought to bear the inward struggle that many of us are facing in the midst of this ‘investigation’ and ‘waiting for all of the facts’ to come out from the state.  You see if Michael Brown had shot officer Darren Wilson under any circumstances whatsoever, he would have been arrested at the very least.  He wouldn’t be home receiving a pay check with enough benefit of the doubt  by authorities to keep Al Capone  out of court for tax evasion.  There wouldn’t be cries from authorities telling his family, friends and supporters to calm down, and wait for the investigation; all while strategically releasing information to defame the officer’s name and reputation.  There would not be a militarized police presence in Wilson’s neighborhood telling angry residents to go home, shut up or be pelted with rubber bullets and smothered with tear gas.  There wouldn’t be tanks in Wilson’s neighborhood.  There would be no photos of white friends of Wilson’s holding their hands up in surrender while several officers point automatic rifles at them.  No, in essence what we have if a reversal of fortune, a twisting of the process.  Those who are supposed to advocate for the death of an unarmed man and his family, are in reality doing the total opposite.  They are working 24-7 to convict Brown of being a menace to society;  A worthless thug worthy of at least 6 bullets including two to the dome for simply existing.  They don’t see Michael as a young man with a future ahead of him, on his way to college.  They see him as a wretch to their America; a nuisance to be tolerated only when totally necessary.  After all, they can no longer legally be enslaved and they can’t be made to go back to Africa.  What an inconvenience.

Ferguson

This sobering reality came crushing down to my wife as she pondered the thought.  Not that she didn’t realize it before.  For there is still something inherent in black folk that says, “If the evidence is there ‘they’ will pursue it and “they” will follow it where it leads. They have to!”   That county prosecutor Bob McCullough would actually do the job of pursuing the truth in the shooting of Michael Brown.   Alas it is not to be.  McCullough, the man who publicly scorned Governor Nixon for replacing his merry band of trigger happy police officers, the man in charge of leaking information condemning the 18 year old dead kid, is in charge of the evidence presented to a secret grand jury as opposed to public preliminary hearing.

As we talked more about the predicament we find ourselves in, we discussed our Caucasian friends, some who happen to be conservative and their reactions to what they are witnessing since August 9th.  As events have passed and information has been revealed, they have conferred with us to tap our hearts, to get our perspectives.  They see us as people who lean to what we believe is right regardless of one’s ethnicity.  She explained in this case some of our Caucasian friends seem to vacillate between, ‘Maybe the cop was wrong,’ and ‘Gee he may have been justified.  They are struggling with admitting that a police officer could actually be a sinner and do something sinful while in uniform.  That he could have biases, prejudices, and that he would act them out in the line of duty.  I told her that is absolutely the truth, but equally true is that people who feel this way also have a difficult time believing that the black people who are victims of these cops are legitimate people, citizens who are worthy of such considerations.  The first is easy to get them to admit to, the second, no so much.  But in uplifting the cop’s moral standing in one’s mind, you must downgrade the target of his affliction.  Can’t have one without the other.

Much has been made of the military-like presence with the police.  Some dress in fatigues as if they are in Fallujah and  many have removed their name tags so that they couldn’t be named if they themselves commit crimes against the citizens.  Are they attacked before they shoot, or are they challenging those in the streets protesting peacefully?  Regardless I question the tactics.  Why are they patrolling the streets anyway?  While they were in the streets Sunday night there was looting.  There hasn’t been any fighting in the streets.  The only conflicts have been between people and the police blocking paths and drawing lines in the sands.  If they are concerned about looters, who not stand in front of businesses instead?  I suppose that isn’t as much fun and confrontational.  After all, how often does one get to use the military equipment they got from the Pentagon for the ‘war on drugs?”  How often does one get to scream “Bring it on you fucking animals!” to a crowd of black folks he’s just waiting to sink his teeth of  hate and rage into?

Then there is the history.  If white people honestly think that this case and the anger of Black America is solely about Michael Brown they are deceiving themselves.  This case is on behalf of every black person who has been pulled over, arrested, beaten, or killed for merely being black, and the officers who gets away with it.  Locally speaking, go to any municipality among St. Louis County on traffic court night.  All you will see is black folk standing in a line long enough to wrap the building.  These municipalities get the majority of their revenue by giving out traffic tickets.  Doesn’t matter if it’s Ferguson, Florissant, Dellwood, or Hazelwood.  And don’t talk to me about population, because that would assume that the only drivers in their towns are residents.  And though every police study in these United States show that Whites are more likely to carry contraband, stops by the police don’t reflect the data.

As for this case, so far we know a few important facts.  In the biggest case of St. Louis County Police history, they not only are choosing to use a grand jury (secret) vs a preliminary hearing (public and standard for a felony potential crime) county prosecutor McCullough is assigning his assistant to do the case.  **Now we KNOW McCullough is pulling the strings and making all the decisions on whats presented and how it’s presented.** However, he won’t be the face of it.  In addition, Darren Wilson IS BEING ALLOWED TO TESTIFY TO THE GRAND JURY… (which I repeat is in secret)… (How often does THAT happen)  Consider too that McCullough has been legally challenged for decades regarding the amount of jury strikes he’s used against African-Americans.  What do you think the grand jury will look like? Lastly,  McCullough has said this process will take weeks or months.  Why is that?  This is not a whodunit, but the contrary.  Not to mention, if Michael Brown ‘bumrushed’ Wilson and beat the hell out of him as the county officials are alleging, that should be easily proven with hospital records and photos.   McCullough could end this quickly!  One would think anyway right?  I’m reminded of the Kermit Meme when he sarcastically says, “But that’s none of my business.”

As of Tuesday night supporters of Darren Wilson have collected over $25,000 for him.  The question is why?  He’s on paid leave.  In addition, he won’t be charged with a crime by the county.  In essence Wilson’s defense is already being paid by tax payers.  Seems to me the money is a reward!  A thank you for his part in keeping the tone and precedent alive regarding black male life.  As I told my wife, “This isn’t about Mike Brown to McCullough and county officials;  They do NOT want to send a message that any unjust shootings by a White police officer to a black male/female could be challenged in a court of law.  McCullough has the support of police for a reason.  It’s a long standing relationship.  Question one, and they would have to question every fatal shooting or beating going forward.  They are going to stick together on this one like they have previusly.  This is about precedence and a tone set throughout the area.  He is not going to be ‘that guy’ that prosecutes his own.

Some of our well meaning white friends are having a hard time with resonating with our position.  They love my wife and I.  They think highly of our character.  They feel we are exceptional.  We continue to try to dismiss that myth.  That we are not exceptional and more important, we are not the exception.  We are in the same boat as Michael Brown.  And truth be told, no matter what they think of us, if we were to be confronted and shot dead in the streets by a white police officer, they too along with many other white folks who don’t know us will believe it justified regardless of the circumstances.  What will it take to open their eyes?  A courageous exercise in self awareness and American history.  It’s a challenge for humans to perform.  For in doing so they would have to consider reevaluating so much of what they have inherently believed their entire lives.  Its the same challenges that exist when it comes to opening ones mind about their life long religious beliefs.  And that’s hard.  Especially when our White conservative friends are used to having their interest represented in a court of law.  They haven’t been hurt or labeled in the same vain as their Black counterparts in the justice system.

I mean… just look at this satirical yet truthful summation of events.  If this doesn’t confirm the hypocrisy, I’m not hopeful.  And I can tell you this, when they let Darren Wilson off, preserving the precedence,  history will yet again repeat itself.  Another black youth will be murdered by white police, and the same song and dance will be sung and danced by the same white people who have not confronted their prejudices favoring the cops while cursing the value of Black life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before You Judge…

Mental health is still getting it’s true due in society. Christians think one can just “pray about it” and Jesus will fix you. Secularist say, “get over it.”

At issue is that if one breaks a leg we can ‘see’ the leg and understand that there is fixing the leg then the process it takes of healing it. There can also be a propensity for re-injury to that leg…or scar tissue. No one bucks at that.

When it comes to mental health, unfortunately we are still far too uneducated and therefore less insightful and compassionate when people suffer from depression. We call suicide victims selfish. Sometimes we send them to hell.

I submit however that if you do the research, and ask some people, you will find that many of us suffer of some forms of depression, low self esteem etc. It’s a daily battle and the difference between having a mind full of confidence and optimism vs fear, dred is a very thin line. If you never fall into despair you should be thankful. I ask you to consider not judging those who have a harder time coping day to day.

beauty girl cry

As I said we can’t see one another’s brains. We are still learning about genetic pre-dispositions that are no different than physically being short or tall. There is plenty of help out there however whatever one’s situation.

With that I hope that when one thinks of Robin Williams or anyone else who has committed suicide or considered it, compassion, understanding, within an environment of love can help those at the bottom and see no way out. Perhaps then more will be willing to seek the help they need and not remain inward where it’s most always hopeless.

Religious Hypocrisy Strikes Again, …or The Dog Fighter’s Advocate

“I wouldn’t have taken him.  Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. …It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’ – Tony Dungy

Let me start by saying I know where Tony Dungy is coming from.  I know because I used to run in the same circles he runs in.  I worshiped and congregated in the same churches, listening to the same preachers, fellow-shipped with the same men who attended Promise Keepers when it was in town.  Dungy, an author of 7 faith based books including one on marriage has never been shy about promoting his brand of Christian faith.  He raised money for the Indiana Family Institute to ban same sex marriage.  A champion for ‘conservative values’ he’s parlayed his image to be the NFL’s edition of  Billy Graham meets Cliff Huxtable.

Dungy displayed his Huxtable mentoring talents with Michael Vick.  After Vick was released from federal prison for the abuse and killing of dogs, he tutored Vick to become the calm voice in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room, and a protege to other potentially troubled NFL players.  On NBC’s Sunday Night NFL Football show, Dungy is the most vanilla/least polarizing of any football analyst.  That it until yesterday’s quote from the Tampa Bay Tribune.

Cliff-Huxtable

Dungy is living a double life, trapped between two conflicting worlds.  His Christian values teaches him that being gay is a sin.  He hears on any given Sunday that there is a ‘gay agenda’ promoted by Satan himself to subject god-fearing men to accept an abomination.  He’s also made a life playing, coaching, and now commentating in a brutal sport that destroys the body and cause brain damage.  Players in the NFL are generally not saints, but sinners.  They are young, brash, carnal, full of testosterone, trained killers who even if only briefly hold the world by their finger tips.  Generally, they live promiscuously and their idea of fun is making it rain in strip clubs.

How does Dungy navigate these two worlds?  It’s not hard.  His ‘values’ are not in peril because most of his Christian brethren love football.  They love the position he’s in.  They love to rub shoulders with NFL royalty.  And most of all, his presence on television brings credibility to their beliefs.  Which is why they don’t have a problem with his comments about Michael Sam.  Sam is gay.  As for what the straight players do and the lifestyles they live, it’s accepted par for the course.  Dungy and his sycophants don’t see promiscuity, materialism and making it rain as a ‘distraction’ to be dealt with.  Heck, if they weeded out the colonies from the strongest and fastest to the most chaste, the NFL would cease to exist. Make no mistake, these Christians want their football.

Some people are calling for Dungy to clarity or make some additional statement so as to not come off as bigoted against gay people. Sam is at least for now a member of the NFL’s family.  While he’s certainly not the only gay player, he is the only publicly acknowledged one.  Dungy, just the fourth black head coach in the NFL’s modern era post Fritz Pollard already had the path paved and smoothed  for him.  His Super Bowl victory makes him teflon.  His clean cut image made it so that he didn’t need to touch the Sam situation. But he just couldn’t help himself.  His Christian Agenda pricked him which prompted a statement for the boys in the congregation.  Veiled in the theme of ‘distraction’, he poked at Sam’s career potential saying he wouldn’t ‘want to deal with’ the baggage.  That same baggage that Branch Ricky dealt with for the media, social and player side show endured by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.   There are no sermons for womanizing, smoking weed and making it rain.  But the anti-gay message is weekly.

No, I don’t want Dungy to clarify a word.  If anything, he should keep it all the way 100 and own hypocrite that he and his Christian brethren are; instead of this passive aggressive ‘not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play’ BS.

Yea… Dungy wants Sam to have a chance….  just not on HIS team.

Message to the ‘Bitter’ Black Man

Let me begin with a little background: I love justice, equality and the celebration/respect of diversity.  As such I celebrate the accomplishments of Martin King, Malcolm X, The Black Panther Party movement, Dick Gregory, and Paul Rusesabagina to name a few.  I have marched with Al Sharpton and was friends with the late great Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.  As a matter of fact, I was blessed and privileged to spend a week with Shuttlesworth in his home recording his perspective of his life’s work.  If you don’t know who the man is, dammit Google him! Further I’ve identified with the rap lyrics of Public Enemy!  You might hear me blasting “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” on any given day.  It’s an anthem as far as I’m concerned.

I’m a vivacious reader so I am up on politics, the economy, the incarceration rates of minorities and the very common lack of justice people who look like me receive every day. I saw all this to clarify that I am a free and progressively strong black man.

PE

With that… this is something that I read that I came across on social media regarding the 4th of July: I don’t understand why so many Black people in the United States are wishing so many other Black people in the United State a happy Independence day. Is it just stupidity? Have we really bought into the idea that we should be proud Americans? Now I think that anytime that you are able to spend with family is a good thing, fireworks are pretty and I personally like barbecued chicken. But to believe in the spirit of the 4th of July? You are joking, right?   The author of this text is Runoko Rashidi.  I don’t know Mr. Rashidi.  But this was my response to my friend who posted it.

Naw we ain’t joking Mr. Rashidi. No one is going to disagree with you that black folk were not afforded freedom or ‘independence’ in 1776. Nor are we where we need to be now. YET, I am an American. No one gets to take my part of what I give to this nation nor that of my ancestors. We built this country. We persevered, survived, and advanced through the fire and through the wall. Yes we will have a long way to go, and yet any black person who does not recognize the blessing that it is to live in a country that regardless of the racism and injustice that I fervently fight EVERYDAY has probably not visited many other countries. EVERY nation and every society has it’s issues and challenges. I don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater to enjoy MY piece of this pie. Perspective is everything Mr. Rashidi. Extremes and accusations of stupidity are unnecessary and counterproductive to the larger struggle. Dammit ‘not’ celebrating the 4th of July is the LEAST of ‘solving’ black folks problems in the US of A!

Again, I don’t know Mr. Rashidi.  I am sure he is a positive and loving person who loves black people.  Thus I am not attacking  him.  However, what I have noticed among some of my Black American contemporaries is a bitter disposition on life, America, our roles and responsibilities.  The above is an example.  Another example is what I see from some other Black folk who have no love or respect for President Obama.  I’ve seen in social media phrases like, “f#@! Obama and the United States,’ or other references to the effect of, “I don’t know why people are worshiping Obama.  The country is going to hell.  He hasn’t done nothing for you.”  Some even brag about not voting as if that’s makes one ‘above the system.”  Excuse me? Let’s let’s step away from the microphone for a minute. Here are a few things you need to know about politics:

1) Everything you love and hate about America is the result of politics.  Whether local, regional or national; access to clean water, food, gas/oil, utilities, roads/highways, trash pick up/disposal, the internet, wages, education, technology and so on. Politics is about power and power decides everything!  People spend millions of dollars in order to be in a position to make power moves.  Some do it by running for political positions.  Others spend money to influence those who will hold the positions.

2) There has been an ongoing movement for more than a century to deny, cheat and suppress the vote from people of color.  Regardless of the imperfections within the system, for me to voluntarily divorce myself from having at least some say is beyond dumb!   You have never heard any other group of people say, “I’m not voting because it doesn’t make a difference…”  Hell if it didn’t make a difference we wouldn’t have cases argued in courts all over America!

3) One of the greatest tricks politicians use is to get a group of people in the bad predicament to vote against their own interest because of racism, and rhetoric as to who the real enemies are.  So while we waddle in the mud over small and insignificant  bigotries, the power brokers are fleecing the nation and swinging every conceivable and possible option towards their advantage.  And yet some of us stand ignorantly, pontificating from on high about how we don’t participate in any political processes.   Ask Eric Cantor if black folk’s votes don’t make a difference! To quote the Miami Heat President we need to, “Get a grip!”

If you have F-U money like Prince you can afford to talk that, “I don’t participate in politics”, BS. (…and even HE is pissing on his ancestors who spilled blood to provide a platform for him)  But the majority of us?  Not so much!

republican-john-boehner-jobs-meme-gop1_zps735dcedf

Sure the system ain’t perfect.  But the IDEAS of system are pretty damn good.  It’s people who are corrupted.  And it’s up to people to hold people in political power accountable.   It’s up to us to become part of the solution in all areas of our lives. We can’t be out here majoring on minors; allowing stupid thinking to stand in the way of us doing what we need to do in order to be the very best we can be…which includes being a vital part of every process that can possibly affect us. We have a right to be angry.  I have personally experienced damn near every basic negative effect of racism known to a black man in America;  Employment discrimination, police brutality, and so forth.

Equally true is some of my most trusted friends, allies, and working relationships are with white men, and black and otherwise.  It’s not our skin that draw us together, but our respective states of mind. We have a right to be angry.   And sometimes anger is good. It can provoke action which can provoke changes. We don’t have to agree with everyone on everything in order to do some things together.  Martin King wasn’t universally beloved.  *many black folks despised him in the midst of the civil rights movement* Neither was Malcolm.  Neither was Mandela.  Also, they were not PERFECT men.  If you dig deep enough there are several things within their philosophies, actions and inaction’s that you would quibble with them on. That doesn’t diminish their worth.  You know why they are praised now?  Because they’re dead!  Being dead excuses one from being judged based on current events, discussions and actions.  The longer they are dead, the more they tend to be immortalized and perfected.  The larger point is that people are flawed, even great people.  And so are you!

So why are black folk so hard on the POTUS.  I’m willing to venture most of his Black critics don’t know a damn thing about his presidency, what he has managed to accomplish in spite of the GOP’s racist resentfulness of his occupation of the White House.

And it ain’t like our sh#! don’t stink.  In spite of our introduction to the Americas via the slave trade, we were not in Africa singing Kumbaya when whitey came along to pluck us from utopia.  We had already done our own share of manipulating, dominating and deceiving one another too.   We fought wars among ourselves, took land and so forth.   So have the Spanish, the Polish, The Irish, Germans, Catholics, Protestants, and so forth.  It’s in man’s nature to desire power, use power, and exert power over others.   Give some of us some extra power now and see what we do with it! It’s up to us to bitch about the problems alone or become the part of the solution.

I’m challenging you bitter black man.  Be a part of the solution.  Otherwise you may want to visit places like The Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Haiti, Honduras, Syria, etc.  THEN tell me as you sit on your computer using the internet for Facebook and Twitter in your clean clothes after taking a hot shower eating the food you bought from the local store with the car you drove me how bad it really is.

I am an American.  This is my damn country too.  It’s only 238 years old.  Check your historical geography and you’ll realize that’s pretty damn young.  I am going to work to make the best out of it for myself, my family and my friends!  I hope you bitter black man will participate with me.  The problems may not have started with you, but you still have to own a major part of the solutions.

NBA Free Agency…ready, set…

July 1st is upon us and it’s time to get back into the what-what of the NBA, speculations, dollar$ and sense….or no sense.

Let’s start with the Heat!  That LeBron thing is settled in that as I said before that D-Wade opting in would settle that.   The man is not opting out of 42 million without guarantees that he is going to get to ride LeBron’s coattail a few years longer.  He will get a longer term deal that stretches out that money and saves him face.  Brian Windhorst reported that Bosh is on vacation after the Big Three (along with Udonis Haslem who also opted out on 10 million) broke bread over the weekend.  What does that tell you?  It tells me that since LeBron has never been the highest paid player of his team since he entered the league, that will change now with Bosh getting the second highest salary and Wade the third.

At issue is really what Riley will do with the roster… besides moving up two spots to get LeBron’s college crush Shabazz Napier.  I also suspect that LeBron’s contract may not be as long term as permissible. Being an astute business man that he is, he’s going to want to keep Riley and owner Micky Arison’s feet to the fire long term.

Sick of Derrick Rose!  I was off the Rose wagon after he got his first major injury two season ago, and while that team was struggling to play the Heat in the playoffs.  Luol Deng was having spinal tap issues while Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson were killing themselves balls to the wall for the Bulls, Rose is shooting jumpers and dunking in front of the cameras during pre-game.  ‘Oh he may be back or not.’   All along the word in the streets were he wasn’t going to play period.  As soon as the Bulls were eliminated he started talking shit about how explosive he was.  Fast forward he tears a meniscus, (a month long injury) and he again sits out the rest of the season.  Now that it’s time to get some free agency help with the roster, this primadonna out here talking about if Carmelo wants to come he will come but it ain’t his job to recruit.   Yea OK I see.  Hell I guess he doesn’t care seeing that in January of 2015 his broke body ass probably won’t be playing anyway.  If I’m Melo…. ‘F’ Derrick Rose!  I don’t want to play with Mr. Glass anyway!’

mr-glass-samuel-l-jackson-unbreakable

Does Houston have a problem?  There seems to be this talk about how the Rockets have such an attractive team.  But when I look at that roster I see problems.  D12 can’t be relied upon though he had a pretty nice 2014 playoffs.  And your most dominate personality and ball hogging handler on the team just refuses to play defense!  Just flat out refuses!  I see that as a hot mess more than an opportunity.  If they were in a bigger media market, they wouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt the way they do.  Some really good star free agent may take the chance (Melo) but being in the West, I don’t know how that’s going to ultimately work out in the end.  The Rockets are a great regular season team, I don’t see them being made for championships!

Lakers draft well!  Being a Laker man as I am, I am ecstatic with Julius Randle.  I just have to see more.  I suspect not having a head coach is all about remaining attractive to potentially Melo and James.  Funny as they don’t give a rats ass about what Kobe thinks. Letting Gasol walk would be a mistake.  And since Boston took Marcus Smart, Rondo has to be on the block and we need to see about getting him!  I’m far from trusting Jim Buss… so we’ll see!

**Andrew Wiggins is country as hell.  His daddy may be Mitchell, but his uncle must be CJ Memphis from A Soldier’s Story!

Feeling sorry for Jabari!  I bet JP has GOT to be thinking, “What kind of BS am I walking into now?  First the Bucks drafted me… they play in MILWAUKEE!  Cats from Chicago know how piss poor sorry Milwaukee is, especially for black folks.  They wear them ugly ass uniforms, they play on an ugly ass floor, and NOBODY wants to live there.   Losing in Philly is not as bad as at least the city is popping!  I’m just saying, I may elect to live in Cleveland before Milwaukee.  All of that is bad enough… now you got this Jason Kidd situation.  What the hell is THAT about?

parker

Jason Kidd to me is a rat fink!  Let’s look at the facts.  He gets a job in Brooklyn, NY of all places straight out of his playing days with no coaching experience.  He didn’t even sit at an ESPN or TNT booth and talk about the game like Doc Rivers, Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr did to give the perception he knew how to run a team while not dribbling the ball up the court.  Nets ownership put all this money into the team attracting free agents for him, KG, The Truth and Joe Johnson all got on board with him and even stuck with him during the Lawrence Frank debacle.  And now because Derek Fisher got more $$ than he did, he wants to flirt with his buddy in Milwaukee about getting the job there with more money and power.  Oh and wait a minute… here’s the really fun part: Larry Drew was coaching the team and was still under contract.  That didn’t stop Kidd… a narcissistic ‘BAN’ who went all the way O’Jays and won the BET award for back stabbing.  (I’ll deal with BET and other black award shows in another blog soon.)  Now he’s going from Brooklyn USA… to fuk’n MILWAUKEE…. with that team’s history, with that roster, with that dysfunction!  Good luck with that  cause in most NBA circles he’s done!  To that coaching fraternity, especially among the black coaches, he’s dead to them!  I’m sure Mikhail Prokhorov told him, “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.  You ungrateful bastard!  And no you can’t come get your shit!  I’ll ship it to you if and when I damn well get ready!”

Anyhoo… all the major moves should be decided by the weekend!

Happy 4th!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts about the NBA 2014 Finals +

As we spring off into NBA free agency, otherwise known as The Decision II, here are my thoughts on the 2014 NBA season.

* The Spurs exercised the hell out of Game 6 demons of the 2013 Finals.  

Say what you want, but the to lose a series that was in your hands based on missing a crucial rebound and seeing Ray Allen step back and rip your hearts out with a corner three ball; live with that all summer; start your training camp by watching the film of that game making that the theme of your redemption story; work your way through the season with a game plan so precise that you not only earn the top seed in the playoffs, but none of your players averaged 30 minutes per game; work through the playoffs in the Wild Wild West including a riveting 7 games against the Mavericks… want the Heat, get the Heat, then dismantle the Heat winning 4-1 by an average of 15 points per game… that’s goal setting, game planning and execution at it’s best.  PERIOD!  That entire organization is a model of a great lesson of perseverance, unity, and trust.  Kudos the Spurs for not panicking and blowing the team up.  Kudos to Tim Duncan who played his ass off last year and missed the bunny at the end of Game 6… and continued to turn back the clock this year.  He meant what he said when he predicted victory this time.  To Danny Green who shot the lights out last year for the first couple games, then dropped off the map.  He returned with vengeance.  So did Manu, who was H20 (HumanTurnOver) in last year’s finals.  That dunk in Game 5 over Bosh and Haslem summed up his resolve.  And Boris Diaw, Mr. Do Whatever It Takes!

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* The Spurs are every coach’s dream.

In this day and age of  AAU one on one ego ball gone wild, the way the Spurs shared the ball, cut, moved and mixed in drives with jumpers.  Their dedicated team/accountability defense was a textbook script for successful basketball.  If the NBA were a copy-cat league like the NFL, every team would be trying to replicate the Spurs formula.  For youth and high school coaches, they should be salivating at the opportunity before them to promote team play!  I can only hope!

*The Heat Had a Helluva Run.

Four straight finals is four straight finals.  2-2 is better than the Buffalo Bills 0-4.  Nuff said!

*LeBron Haters are Ridiculous

The one thing I hated about the playoffs, is the social media hateration of LeBron James.  I don’t feel sorry for him.  He’s a champion, an MVP, and will one day be a billionaire before he becomes Hall of Famer.  But the utter jealousy of such a positive and awesome young man is very disturbing to me.  LeBron has never been in legal  trouble, never beat his wife, objectified women, has employed many people and given more of himself that most mainstream athletes over the last 25 years.  He is a talent we won’t see again in our lifetime.  And after he’s gone dammit he will be missed.  I suggest we appreciate him while we have him.   Unfortunately, some people are so utterly and distastefully jealous.  Twitter/nemes make for some bold cowards!

* What Now For The Heat

Obviously the Big 3, (Big 2 little 1) can opt in or out.  D-Wade is holding the trump card in all of this because he’s in the slot for $40 million over the next two years.  Want to know what LeBron is going to do?  Look at what D-Wade does.  He can blow this all up with a little paperwork faxed to Pat Riley in a heartbeat.  Whatever he does, business is business.  He has the right to take the loot.  But I tell you what, that guy is washed up.  A huge Wade fan from his Marquette days, I’ve long grown tired of his refusal to get back on D, (we could call him E Wade) and his whining to officials if not pointing to his teammates to pick up his man.  James logged hundreds of minutes more than anyone else on the team because they were pacing Wade.  He claimed he was healthy, so I’m going to take him at his word.  No excuses he sucked!  As much as LeBron may be able to trust Pat Riley, Pat can only do so much.  Owner Mickey Arison is NOT one to want to go into the luxury tax.  And he’s already shown that he will let players walk in order not to pay them, I.e Mike Miller.  If LeBron takes a pay cut, he’s going to demand that Arison spends that extra loot.  He’s been carrying the piano on his back long enough.  P.S. Carmelo Anthony is NOT the solution.

* Best NBA Stories of 2014

Wizards, Warriors

*Worst NBA Story 2014

Pacers/Sterling

Speaking of Sterling, after all the hub-bub of Adam Silver slinging the hammer like Thor on The Donald, it seems the Sterlings have played the NBA at their own game.  After saying none of the Sterlings’ would have anything to do with the team, it’s been leaked that the Steve Ballmer agreed to let Shelly Sterling have 2 floor seats, parking, and be ‘owner emeritus’ of the team.  If that’s not back tracking I don’t know what is.  I guess $2B wasn’t enough.  Regardless of what one thinks about whether they should have been forced to sell the team in the first place, the NBA has totally walked back just about every demand they made at the press conference.  Most notably, the NBA owners didn’t have to vote.  Which brings me to this… Why the hell hasn’t the NBA re-scheduled the vote since Donald Sterling is again suing the league?  Isn’t this why they were having the vote in the first place?  Are they not back to where they started?  I’m thinking that BOTH the Sterlings’ are playing the NBA.  Don and Shelly have been married for over 50 years.  Is it not obvious?

 

 

 

A People’s History of Pots, Kettles, Finger Waggers, Bullies, and Accidental Amnesiacs

The wonderful thing about being in America is having the ability to speak one’s mind.  Not only that, there are so many ways an individual can express his/her thoughts these days via social media.  Add to these traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and television, we find ourselves surrounded with 24/7 access to thought and opinions on all subjects political, social, religious and so forth.

What I do find particularly frustrating at times is the simplicity and lack of nuance and imagination within many thoughts and opinions.  With the tools we have to communicate with one another, there is so much opportunity to discuss, debate, and grow as a society.  But what seems to happen on most occasions, is that the simplest, most unsophisticated thoughts are the ones that not only get the headlines, but are also leading the discussions. I plan to follow that thought up with another blog post soon.  But for this thought, I will direct my attention to the trending topic of Michael Sam being drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

Personally, I don’t care what people think of Sam in terms of his sexuality.  You can be for it or against it.  In this world, and certainly in this country, people are going to have an opinion on what they think is right or wrong for whatever reason.  As we can see via many comments on Sam kissing his boyfriend on ESPN as he spoke to Rams’ brass,  there is no shortage of opinions on either side.  I’ll address my thoughts on it shortly.

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People who know me understand that I have no sacred cows when it comes to my perspectives.  All of us individually and as a group deserve a basic level of respect. And we all deserve our fair share of criticism. I love being black and I love black people.  That doesn’t mean I vouch for everything black folks say and do.  I am pro equal rights for all, regardless of ethnicity, political, religious preference, sexual orientation and so forth.  Still, I don’t blindly endorse what any political party, Christians, Muslims, atheist, the straight or gay community says and do either. Unfortunately, far too many have a ‘you’re for me or against me’ victimization mentality, when they are called on the carpet for inconsistencies or hypocrisies.

With this in mind, on the subject of Sam’s PDA with his male partner, I have a message to all parties who care.

The Religious/White Folk: I’ve already spoken to you about this before.  Be anti-gay.  Just don’t talk to me about morality and your kids seeing Sam and his boyfriend kissing on TV.  Fact of the matter is, Ray Rice knocked his fiancee’ the hell out and I don’t see any of you protesting that.  Straight players have publicly cheated on their wives, laid pipe all over the country, objectify women in strip clubs making it rain… and again, you never mentioned that in your pulpits or your social media formats.  What trips me out the most though, is that for every preacher, politician and anti-gay public figure, a certain percentage of them are closet drag queens, or somebody on the down low having sex with men.  Seriously?  

The Religious/Black Folk in General: See message to white folk.  But add to this that as you say things like, “I’m tired of this being thrown in my face; when you say, “Yuck!” or “Gross” or “I don’t want my kids to see this on TV…,” remember that Dorothy Dandridge got in a pool at a hotel, and the same white folks who said they don’t have a problem with black people had that pool drained. Traditionally, racist white folks have always had a use for black folks.  As slaves, mistresses, servants, entertainers, or even as a ‘friend.’  JUST NOT AS EQUALS.  There are layers.  I don’t expect everyone to accept me for who I am.  But not attacking me is not the same as respecting me and protecting my right to exist as an equal!  For a person to say I have gay friends/family,  but I wouldn’t teach my kids that it’s OK, is like saying, I don’t have anything against black people, I just don’t want my kids dating them.  It’s still bigotry.  At least admit that.  That doesn’t make you a criminal, it just means there is some potential for growth.

**Most bigotry is in some form or fashion related to sexual fears and myths.  That’s another story.**

Look, we all have biases to overcome. The first time I saw Omar Little kiss his partner on The Wire, I was like, “Whoa WAIT!  What just happened?  It wasn’t a shock because it was sickening.  It was shocking because I hadn’t seen it before.

Black people especially should be mindful of our own history with biases against us and the imagery that was important towards our own progression as a people. When I was a kid, I remember my parents gathering us around the television to watch The Flip Wilson show because there wasn’t another show like that for black people.  There were hardly NO shows for black people. From ‘Good Times’ to ‘The Jeffersons,’ we were able to receive images on television about our families, our values, often referencing issues that were important to us.  Many times in Southern states, they refused to show black people in a light that was integration friendly.  They lost their minds when Petula Clark touched Harry Belafonte’s arm in 1968.  Can you imagine what it was like when Jim Brown (who was then the personification of black male sexual power and prowess) did a love scene with white sex symbol Rachel Welch in “100 Rifles?”  Talk about an OMG moment!  This struggle has continued despite many strides.  Even when the Cosby show was on, many criticized the show because they felt a black family with a father who was a doctor and a mother who was an attorney was ‘unrealistic.’

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Naturally, the gay and lesbian community is going to support images on television that reflect a celebration of their value and right to exist.  So seeing Sam kiss his boyfriend at the pinnacle point of his life is a big deal.  There is no gay conspiracy to force acceptance upon the straight community.  Will and Grace is for them is what Sanford and Son was for us.

Acknowledging this puts me in the cross hairs of many of my straight friends. Even now, on social media when I defend gays, I am often assumed to be gay. They say things like, “I don’t care about what you do with your life.” When I try to show them the parallel between our plights with bigotry, I’m told, “Be gay and do you!  Enjoy your lifestyle… but don’t force it down my throat!”   Remind me of how many whites were and are called “nigger lovers,’ when they stand up for our rights as a people.

I believe the topics of free thought/free speech is a wonderful thing to discuss.  Donald Sterling’s fiasco as well as Michael Sam’s coverage are just the latest opportunity which brings that subject to bear.  I just hope that we maximize all these thoughts and speeches to do more than hyperbolize.

You know what came to my mind when I first saw the kiss?  I thought, “Look, Michael Sam is just like most other African-American big time athletes.  They get to college and go white!  No different!

See,.. now there is a bias for you!