Sports and Politics Intersect Retro Style

I was only an infant when Tommy Smith and John Carlos threw up the black fist in Mexico City; a young pup when Muhammad Ali refused to participate in the Vietnam War.  There was a time when many African-American sports figures and icons took to the streets and spoke out for social justice.  They were not afraid to lend their voices and their fame to give attention to important issues they cared about.  They were courageous enough to risk their careers if necessary to stand up for what they believed was right.

Unfortunately that was a long time ago.  Rarely do we see black superstar athletes stand up for anything having to do with more than their latest contract negotiations.  The money guys like Ali, Smith and Carlos made pales in comparison to the astronomical millions today’s athletes bank above their predecessors.

Our most successful and marketable black athletes too often stray as far away from civic issues as they can.  I will always remember Michael Jordan’s refusal to support a progressive African-American candidate Harvey Gantt for state senate in his native North Carolina.  Not because he agreed more with the politics of the infamously racist Helms, but because, “Republicans by sneakers too.”  Jordan was the symbol and poster child of the New Crossover Negro who believed it far more important to hawk product and filling his own coffers rather than possibly alienating potential buyers with moral controversy.   Tiger Woods has picked up the baton running that race with ease by denying all things black whether it be per his own heritage and identity as well as the women he chooses to marry and fool around with.  Woods is as vanilla as the ice cream in my freezer and as close to anti-black as one could be with deference to Justice Thomas.

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Whether it was the Rodney King beating, presidential races, supreme court decisions or 17 year old children with candy and a drink, sadly Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Arthur Ashe are not walking through these doors.

This is what makes the tweeted photo by LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates in support of justice for Trayvon Martin an eye opener for me.  The Heat players live in South Florida.  Perhaps they feel the intensity of emotions even deeper than the rest of the country.  Perhaps some of the players have had their own issues with being pulled over for DWB (Driving While Black) with even more emphasis because they drive the finest cars money can buy.  I don’t know.  But I respect James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for being a part of a symbolic show of solidarity to Trayvon’s family as well as every other young black male in the United States.  I respect them especially because they are the faces of their franchise and the league that so many Americas pays attention to.

Former NBA players Etan Thomas and Craig Hodges were no strangers to standing up for unpopular beliefs.  Hodges so much so that he was literally blackballed from the NBA after presenting former President Bush a list of social issues he thought The President should address when the Chicago Bulls visited The White House.  If Jordan makes that move, it carries more weight and no way is the biggest revenue generating player the league had ever seen pushed out the door.

So big ups to LeBron, Wade, Bosh and the rest of the Heat players.  You didn’t have to march like the old school.  But you did use the most powerful and significant tool given your generation which is social media.  And for me, that speaks volumes!

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Penn St., Empires,and the Love of Money

The love of money is the root of all evil.  I Timothy 6:10

Looking at all of this spinning going on in College Station PA., several things come to mind.

1) The University doesn’t give a damn about the boys that were molested by their employees on their university property.  The reason they don’t want Joe Paterno speaking is because they are afraid he could say something that would open them up to paying a shitload of money in multiple lawsuits.  The lawsuits are coming so they can forget getting out of that.

Still the money is all they can think about as they decided to let JoePa finish the season.  They are so delusional it’s unreal to watch.  I still have my doubts that he will actually show up on Saturday.  While the university still wants to cover his ass giving way to his ‘legacy,’ the fact of the matter is that they lived on borrowed time years and it’s time to cash in the chips.

Look at how they are wording it this morning saying that Paterno ‘decided to retire’ at the end of the season.  What?  Is he STILL in control there deciding what the hell he wants or does not want to do?  Seriously?

2) Paterno is even more delusional as he thinks he can just zone in on football as if that will steer the attention from the heinous crimes committed on his watch.  His piss poor bullshit statement last night that we need to ‘say a little prayer for the victims,’ shows a man clearly in a bubble.  Nobody would have had to say any prayers if the most powerful man in the entire area did his moral obligation.  If he would have saw to it that Sandusky was never around the campus again but rather faced the authorities and the parents of these young boys.

3) Don’t tell me the obligations were only moral either.  You mean to tell me Sandusky didn’t take any of these kids outside of state lines to Penn State games?  He didn’t molest them in team hotels?  If he did it in the locker rooms he did it certainly across state lines on the schools dime.

4) The Penn State students who gathered at his home and at the administrative offices to show support and slob on his 84 year old nob shows the level of tribalism that is possible in this country regardless of the circumstances.  It’s utterly shameful and despicable!

5) Amateur athletics as it relates to NCAA sports is a sham.  This is yet another example of how the university, and others within the system turn their backs on innocent little boys for the sake of the estimated 50 million annual dollars that the football program brings to the school.

The NCAA silence on this matter is deafening!  I guess they are still too busy chasing after Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy or looking for guys who sell their jerseys for tattoos to fuck with JoePa!

6) How in the hell was Sandusky allowed to continue to stay around the campus with access to children?  Just answer me that!

7) Heads need to roll and roll quickly!  Mike McQueary wanted to keep a football job and get paid so bad that he didn’t say anything either.  He shouldn’t be on the sidelines either.  At the end of the day all he could think about was his own ass.  His time too is up!

Paterno knew what was up and cared only about protecting his name and his brand.  He is the Cardinal Law of Penn State University.  For me I could give a damn about all the money of fame he brought to the school.  What I see of his true legacy is that he did that at the expense of many young boys who’s lives are damaged forever because his pride and brand were on the line.  If his football legacy is more important to him or anybody else than the legacy of damaged young people who could not defend themselves then I say fuck him and his legacy!  Is the game of football more important than the lives of these children?  I’ll say a ‘prayer’ that he steps the fuck down since the university’s board of trustees still lack the stones to do it themselves!

Banking Business Part 2: Key Bank Puts Hero On Ice

So Jim Nickolson bank teller at Key Bank is the target of a robbery.  Instead of just handing over the doe, he chases the criminal down and holds him for police to apprehend.  Key Bank fires Nicholson because he didn’t follow procedures in just acquiescing to the robbery. 

I’m kinda conflicted on this issue for a few reasons.  Surely the money that the thief stole was insured.  It would not have been a problem with them getting it back.  Equally true is that Nicholson’s attempt at heroics could have cost his life as well as the lives of other innocent people.  He says he understood the bank’s policy as well as why they fired him.  But that his instincts took over.  I can dig it.  It took big stones to chase this guy down understanding that it was a potentially dangerous thing to do.  I say this especially in light of former boxer Vernon Forrest being shot several times and killed recently in Atlanta for going after guys who robbed him personally.  Chasing after a criminal is a risky proposition.  It can go either way and one can end up admired or eulogized as a result.

On the other hand, I think back to a time when some friends of mine were robbed in a high profile bank robbery case locally a few years ago.  Two women who were roommates were abducted by some really sophisticated bank robbers.  They binded them in their own apartment over an entire weekend waiting on Monday to arrive, at which time one of the women was taken to the bank in the early morning hours to hit the safe.  Later we learned that they had staked out the apartment for weeks to pick up their patterns.  Since I was married to the branch manager of the same bank at the time, my home was staked out too but since our patterns of returning home were too sporadic we were not kidnapped.

Thank God they both made it out alive.  But they were terrified for months afterwards, and obviously had to immediately move from their apartment.  As bad as the memory of the robbery was for one of my friends in particular, what made the situation even worse was the way the local police, bank security and the FBI went about interrogating her about the incident as if she were a part of the caper.  She was literally driven to a nervous breakdown and for quite a while it seemed as if no one in authority had any love for her situation. 

It reminded me of the movie “Set It Off,” when the Vivica Fox’s teller character was robbed.  She was blamed simply because her window was picked by the robber.  My guess is that Nicholson would have caught some grief and would have had to prove he didn’t know the assailant or was party to the robbery if he didn’t do anything.  Sort of a lose lose.

I’m hoping that someone out there will see Jim Nicholson and offer this guy a job.  He may have broken procedure, but he is a gutsy fella!

Banking Business Part 1:- Bank of America Is Fined for Foolishness

Bill Mahr named them best.  Skank of America!

It seems the bank is agreeing to pay a $33 million fine for bonuses that were paid to Merrill Lynch executives.

They lied to shareholders when they said they wouldn’t do such a thing… but did so anyway.

I say $33 million is a paltry sum for a bank of this size.  But what are you gonna do?   Obviously they can do what they wanna anyway.  If they fired the people who made the decisions to pay the Merrill bonuses, I’m sure they would have walked away with more than $33 million in separation compensation. 

As for the American tax payer?   BOHICA buddy!  That stands for: Bend Over!  Here It Comes Again!

Eric Holder Was Right!

When it comes to the subject of race, overall we are a nation of cowards.

As the “fellas” gather today to have a cold one at The White House, we see yet another police officer acting as if he is GOP member when it comes to sending emails.  But of course, just like the rest of them claims he is not a racist and while naming off the fact that they have a colored TV at home.   I don’t know what some people feel racist is, but the words jungle monkey seemed to roll off Officer Justin Barrett’s his fingers rather easily and often.  And how do you think he conducts his business when it comes to deciding who to stop, search and interrogate on a daily basis? 

This is what most black men are talking about.  What happened to Gates happens in some form or another every day to other black men.   And yet so many are squabbling over this incident trying to dissect it as if it didn’t have any racial reasoning.  Gates outwardly admitted that he had racial feelings, the officer added the two black men element in his police report, not the third party neighbor call, and apparently it was the officer who asked Gates to go outside before he arrested him, because he couldn’t do so in the home. 

Colin Powell said what I have been saying all along:

“I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department,” Powell said. “Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would’ve thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said ‘OK look, it is his house. Let’s not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.’ “

My whole thing is that while most will admit that race is a problem in our country, when it comes to specifics many refuse to admit it on the spot.  Racism is cool to talk about as long as there is some ethereal element to it not pointing out the guilty or to speak on the abuse of the innocent.

And just think of the Republicans.  It seems that one of these email incidents happen every other week.  But supposedly some people act as if we are in some post racial society because we have a president of African descent.  Whatever

Add to that… as the meeting approaches between Obama, Gates and Crowley we actually have politicians fussing about what kind of beer is being served.  What is everything marketing these days?  This again proves that beer is easier to talk about than race or this picture.  I am amazed at time with the lack of real talk in America.

What the hell did Jackie Chan Say?

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2009 file photo,  action star  speaks to media during an event to promote the International Film Festival in . Legislators in Chinese-speaking regions that enjoy free elections on Sunday, April 19, 2009, lashed out at  after the 'Rush Hour' star questioned if freedom was a good thing for China, accusing him of insulting his own race. The 55-year-old action star said at a business forum in the southern Chinese island province Hainan on Saturday that a free society may not be beneficial for authoritarian mainland China. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

I am not understanding the words that came out of his mouth.  Apparently this immigrant who has enjoyed the freedom to make millions from a capatalistic system doing his pretend acting in film,  is comfortable saying that Chinese people need to be controlled by their repressive government. 

I guess he thinks he’s better than the rest of his countrymen.  I guess the Chinese can lose touch with reality like any other group of people when it comes to getting a little money in their pockets.

Bill Cosby thinks Chan needs to back up off his people.

Damn, the irony!  Damn, the nerve!