The Great Stadium Caper… What Brady Haters and St. Louisans Have In Common

I’ll just start with this meme I saw on social media after Judge Berman slammed Roger Goodell’s pathetic case presented to the federal court in Manhattan.

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This was posted by one of my social media connections, who happens to be a St. Louisan.  Now we Mid Westerners have had beef with New England since 2002.  The Rams lost to the Patriots 20-17 in the Super Bowl.  The world found out later that the Patriots were secretly taping the Rams practices.  (Spygate) Personally, I will never believe that was the determining factor of the game.  Mike Martz’s refusal to give the ball to Marshall Faulk cost the Rams a second Super Bowl.  Martz bought into his ‘genius’ accolades, and had Kurt Warner throwing the ball 44 times leading to 2 interceptions  (Brady only threw 27 times for a conservative 145 yards, 1TD, 0 Int)  Look, Antowain Smith carried the balls more times (18) than Faulk (17).  But giving the ball to the 3 time MVP and 2001 Offensive Player of the Year would have taken the shine off of coach’s ego.

This doesn’t mean the Patriots didn’t cheat.  They cheated so bad the league destroyed the evidence before anyone else could see it.  The Patriots got off with a slap on the hand.  With that reputation St. Louisian’s weren’t the only ones to remember how the league favored The Golden Boy (Brady) and influential owner Bob Kraft.  I say favored because when other issues such as Bountygate came up, The New Orleans Saints were basically given the NFL’s version of the death penalty.  The league suspended the head coach, (1Year) the GM, (8 Games) an assistant coach (6 Games) and gave an indefinite suspension to another assistant coach.  The NFL is an anything but precarious industry.  It’s America’s favorite sport to watch, analyze, and gamble on.  Fantasy football is as fundamental to Americans as Christmas.  For 49 years the league had enjoyed tax-exempt status as a not for profit organization.  It’s 32 owners are billionaires in an exclusive club that money alone can’t buy into.  Their salary for Commissioner Goodell was $45 million last year.  This atmosphere creates a breeding ground for arrogance.  Being a billionaire doesn’t exclude one from being petty.  This is why the other owners we so hell bent on getting Tom Brady to sit for 4 games.  They have grown tired of seeing Kraft, the Taylor Swift of owners, enjoy so much team success, even through sometimes dubious circumstances.

But often pettiness breeds sloppiness.  The league has bungled and lost their last 5 court battles with player discipline because of a total lack of jurisprudence discipline of their own.  This latest debacle with  Deflategate was no different, if not worst.

Was Brady in charge of having balls deflated?  Of course!  No NFL quarterback, especially one of Brady’s caliber not have say about the state of his money maker.  Brady and Peyton Manning led a charge years ago to have more control of ball conditions including ball pressure.  The Patriots said the team did nothing wrong, but fired the equipment managers in charge of balls.  Brady himself refused to turn over cell phone text to Special Investigator Ted Wells relating to communication with said equipment managers. He eventually destroyed said telephone before showing up to federal court.  Initially he said he cooperated fully with the Wells investigation.  In court, not only did he admit that he lied and didn’t fully cooperate, he was willing to take a suspension for not fully cooperating.  And finally, you wonder why the equipment managers, McNally and Yastremski haven’t been on CNN or Good Morning America?  I mean they’re fired, right?  They aren’t under legal obligation to keep silent.  It’s because they are not worried about bills and their next meal.  Think about it.

But no.  That was not good enough for the league.  In spite of the circumstantial evidence of a massive Patriots cover-up, Goodell’s Kangaroo Court didn’t have the smoking deflate needle it needed to secure total victory.  Instead, they orchestrated a system in which defense could not cross examine key league witnesses against Brady, including the man interpreting the official Wells report. Instead of settling for a compromise on the failure to cooperate, and letting public opinion decide whether Brady by definition had reason to not cooperate, namely guilt, they forged ahead into Judge Richard Berman’s dance floor and got served.  And rightfully so. You know why? Because PROCESS MATTERS!  This means we can’t adjudicate issues and decide fates merely on charges, whether true or not, with insufficient evidence.  Berman never said the footballs were not being deflated.  He dismissed the NFL’s PROCESS.  Those of us who believe in the ideas of process understand, even if we believe fully that Brady cheated.  Those of us who are not, care little about the process, only getting what they want out of it.  This describes the meme above.  It’s so illogical and simple minded as often memes are.  First of all, Rose never cheated, he gambled.  Second, he didn’t admit to cheating till over a decade after he was found out.  Third, Brady won because the NFL’s process was wrong, not merely because he denied it.  I liken it to the OJ Simpson trial.  Most Americans believe he’s a murderer.  But we are not supposed to put people in jail because of something we believe.  The LAPD bungled the evidence, lied on the stand, and the DA got beasted by some of the best defense attorney’s in the world.

This brings me to the publicly funded stadium being proposed in St. Louis.  Rams owner Stan Kroenke, wants the citizens of St. Louis to build him a stadium for his team to the tune of half a billion publicly funded dollars.  He claims that unless we build it for him, he will move team to Los Angeles and build his own stadium with his own money.  *Imagine that.  We’ve been here before. We built a domed stadium downtown with the hopes of getting an NFL team after Bill Bidwell moved the Cardinals to Phoenix in 1987.  It was sold as a jobs program and a key to revitalize a decaying downtown.  It worked.  We convinced Georgia Frontiere to bring her team here with a promise of a windfall for personal seat licences, season ticket profits and a sweetheart deal of a lease.  She also gave Kroenke 40% of the team.  Now the majority owner, Kroenke wants to cash in on St. Louis once again.  It’s par for the course and personally I don’t have a problem with it. He’s doing what billionaires do; looking to expand his wealth and power as much as he can he can and using other people’s money to do it.  What is disappointing however, is the many locals who want to give him the desires of his greedy heart without so much as a whimper, critique, or push-back.

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In 2002 the City of St. Louis enacted an ordinance that mandated a public vote for any new stadium funding projects.  The motivation was in large part because of the continuous cost the city is burdened with from the aforementioned dome.  This didn’t mean that residents would not approve new stadium funding.  It merely put the burden on an NFL owner and marketing department to sell it to us; convince us that it makes fiscal sense.  Further, the state law that allows for public funding for stadiums says that the structure has to be adjacent to a convention center.  But instead of having to having to sell this idea, Kroenke is holding a gun to the city’s head threatening to move the club if his demands aren’t met.  Public officials have helped him in his crusade by circumventing the voting process.  They got a judge to defy the voting ordinance, and give an entire new definition the word adjacent.  In other words, though I live 35 miles west of the downtown convention center, a new stadium could be built in my neighborhood and still be considered ‘adjacent.’  Sounds like something Goodell would make up doesn’t it?

Unfortunately many STL football don’t give a damn about the process.  They just want an NFL team in the area regardless of the cost.  It’s a classic buy now, pay later/devil may care attitude.  I expect this from local sports writers and broadcasters.  Having an NFL team equates to job security and supporting the stadium means team favor and access.  But for the general fan, (short for fanatic) to think so little of the process, being willing to bend over for the sake of having NFL status is mystifying.  Their excuses are equally as lame.  They range from downtown revitalization, tax revenue and jobs.  Well, we’ve had the Rams for 20 years.  They got a new stadium initially and if downtown wasn’t revitalized then how will it be by building a new structure?  The tax revenue while good, will not pay for the tax spending on the building itself, just as it hasn’t for the Dome the Rams are playing in now.  The jobs are mostly minimum wage, and seasonal at that.  Truth be told, most Rams season ticket holders, like the baseball Cardinals season ticket holders don’t hang out downtown anyway.  They come to the game and afterwards jam Highway 40 to West County.

I’ve had this debate with several of the Kroenke sycophants.  After these points are made, it all comes down to the fact that they just want a team.  They talk echo Joe Buck’s ridiculous assertions about Cincinnati and Indianapolis passing St. Louis as some sort of Midwest powerhouse.  This is both a sad and pathetic argument.  For one, every city has it’s strengths and weaknesses.  Indy has a football and an NBA franchise, but no baseball team.  St. Louis has the premier baseball franchise in Major League Baseball.  I’ve been to Cincinnati a few times.  No shade, but that city isn’t something to brag about.  It’s actually St. Louis East to me.  Their downtown have similar political, crime and racial issues.  Besides this, what great city makes it’s mark by comparing itself to another?  While I give Buck credit for taking Kroenke to task, he’s still willing to bypass the process and give the Rams cart blanch tax payer welfare.  So what difference does it make? Stan Kroenke is a business man.  He doesn’t owe St. Louis anything.

Lastly, if there is a new stadium, what is supposed to fill the Dome that we are still paying for?  The sycophants talk of  ‘conventions,’ but seriously, there aren’t that many damn conventions and events in the dome now.  It’s huge and expensive.  There just aren’t that many organizations in need of a 50,000 plus seat stadium. Explaining this to the Kroenke sycophants doesn’t register however.  It’s not that they disagree in theory.  It’s just that their ravenous desire to have the Rams here renders them unable to think past the moment.  It’s a mentality that says in effect, “Just give me the pu##y.  Protection?  Naw.  Pregnancy, HIV, hell we’ll deal with that later.  It’s as illogical and inaccurate as the meme above.  Truth be told, I believe the Rams are leaving regardless.  I also believe local and state government know it too.  They want to build the stadium regardless.  The Rams threats is a way to sway the public and get it done.

Middle class Americans can be just as arrogant as billionaire owners.  We claim to be a nation of ideas and democracy.  We brag about it to other countries.  That is unless it serves our own purpose to be oligarchs.

It’s just a damn shame that Judge Berman doesn’t hold court in St. Louis.

 

Several Reasons Fidel Goodell Has to Go

They say the cover up is always worst than the crime.  Roger Goodell’s malfeasance and subsequent cover up of his handling of the Ray Rice incident puts him square in the middle of the chopping block as NFL commissioner.

1) When the initial video came out of Rice dragging and unconscious Janay Palmer out of a casino elevator, part of his ‘investigation’ was to interview both Ray and Janay in the same room at the same time.  She married Ray so what in the hell did Goodell think she was going to say?  I wonder what Ray Rice told Goodell, as the commissioner made a huge deal of Michael Vick telling the complete truth to him regarding his dog fighting allegations.  Did he admit that he struck her?  Did he lie?  My educated guess he is told the truth.  Rice never said once publicly that he didn’t strike Palmer.  Janay went on national television and claimed she contributed to the left hook that sent her down for the count.  Goodell decided that two games was enough of a suspension.  FAIL

2) When the backlash of the two game suspension hit, the commissioner was M.I.A.  Instead of defending or explaining it himself, he waited days before rolling out NFL Sr. VP Adolpho Birch via a call to ESPN’s Mike & Mike In The Morning Show.  Said Birch, “The discipline that was taken by the NFL is the only discipline that occurred with respect to Mr. Rice in this case. Were he not an NFL player, I don’t know that he would have received punishment from any other source … We believe that the discipline we issued is appropriate — it’s multiple games, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t reflect that we condone the behavior.”   Weeks later during Hall of Fame Weekend, Goodell having no other choice defended himself.  “We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL, and there are consequences for that.  Obviously, when we are going through the process of evaluating an issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that are available to us.”… “”We have to remain consistent,” he said. “We can’t just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter. … I take into account all of the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be,”    More outrage ensued and on yet a few weeks later on August 28th, Goodell announced a new policy for stiffer penalties regarding domestic abuse; six games for a first time offense and a lifetime ban for a second.   While some applauded Goodell for changing his stance, I was reticent to do so.  Goodell has never been transparent with the public nor had he ever changed his mind about a policy he’d put in place.  There was something else to this.

Birch NFL VP Adolpho Birch

3) On Monday morning we all found out what the something else was.  TMZ released the video explicitly showing how Janay Palmer ended up on the floor of the elevator.  From the moment I saw that announcement in the wee hours of the morning while watching the aforementioned Mike and Mike show, I said to my wife, “This is why they changed the policy.  They knew this video was going to surface.”  Initially again there is no comment from the NFL to the media.  The Baltimore Ravens did a u-turn cutting ties with Rice altogether terminating his contract.  Soon afterwards, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely.  Speaking of lack of leadership, how about the Ravens rolling head football coach John Harbaugh out to speak to the media while owner Steve Bisciotti and GM Ozzie Newsome, adamant supporters of Rice and their own sources of what really happened were noticeably missing.  Talk about cowards?  Neither of them have my respect.  But I digress.  The issue now with the commissioner’s office is, 1) Did the league see the video.  2) If not why not.  Goodell claimed that not only had the league not received the video, but that they were rebuffed by the New Jersey State Police.  (NJSP)  It only took minutes for the NJSP to respond that not only was that a lie, but that they were not the ones handling the investigation in the first place.  The NFL issued a follow up statement attempting to wiggle their way out of being previously busted in the first lie.  Goodell appeared on CBS Tuesday evening with the following statements:

On why he made a decision without seeing the tape: “That’s why we asked for it on several occasions. Because when we make a decision we want to have all the information that’s available. And obviously that was the — that when we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.”

Let’s examine that statement for a moment.  Basically he’s saying that Ray Rice and his people gave the NFL the runaround and he realized that when they were in his office.  Rice’s lawyer had the tape.  Goodell didn’t press?  So he’s saying he was punked into giving him a minimum suspension of two games.  Does that sound like Fidel Goodell to you?

You can see the rest of that foolishness in the interview, especially in his BS explanation about how TMZ got the video but the NFL offices couldn’t.

But let me tell you something about NFL security.  They are pretty much second to Homeland Security in terms of resources and connections.  Many of their personnel are former FBI, military and other government workers.   There isn’t a player who is drafted who has not had an in-depth background check right on down to the friends they hang with as well as their family interactions.   As an example we can look at former Miami Dolphins executive  Jeff Ireland’s asking then draft prospect Dez Bryant if his mother had been a prostitute.  The NFL can get their hands on any tape or information they choose to.

Ray and Janay Ray and Janay Rice

There may be a few folk who believe Goodell when he says he didn’t see the video.  For him to say that he suspected there was a second video (in a casino no doubt) insults all of our intelligence.  He also said he was made aware of the video from his staff after he got in the office on Monday.  This is the final straw to me.  As I said before, I suspected he not only saw the video, but he new the video was coming out, which is why he changed the policy.  Furthermore, if I’m in my bedroom getting this news from ESPN shortly after 6 am EST. you mean to tell me Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL didn’t receive a call from ANYONE before he got in the office regarding the video’s release?

Now we have word that the NFL had the tape in April.  I mean how incompetent and arrogant can this dude be?  The ass covering operation is an epic fail.  I guess next he will go Ronald Reagan on us and say, “Well apparently we HAD the video in the office, but I didn’t see it.  They kept it from me.”  Maybe the female on the tape who answering the phone will be the NFL’s Oliver North.

4) Roger Goodell’s salary for last year was $44.2 million per year.  Many fans talk about the worth of players and whether they should make the money they make.  The same people don’t even consider a salary like Goodell’s when they pay for tickets, a hot dog and a beer at a game.  This is because most of us can toss a football around so we think we can relate.  The same people cannot fathom owning or running a team.  Like the players, I couldn’t care less about what Goodell makes.  That’s between he and his NFL bosses.  That being said, from his handling of Spy Gate, Bounty Gate, and this latest fiasco, it’s clear that this job is too big for him to handle.  It’s clear though he said he couldn’t ‘make up discipline’ in earlier interviews, he did just that in suspending Rice indefinitely after the second video became public.  He didn’t act because he saw the video, he acted because WE ALL saw the video.

Finally, the NFL had been soft on domestic violence for years.  For the first time there was an incident that got national exposure because of the initial surveillance video.  If the commissioner had done his job and suspended Ray Rice to 8 games, 12 games, or an entire season without pay nothing happening this week would have made a difference to the NFL.  A harsh penalty befitting the first video evidence, people would shown Goodell to be a great leader.  Rice could have had a chance to make amends with his wife, get some help, perhaps become an advocate against domestic violence and appeal to the public for a second chance.  Donte’ Stallworth and Josh Brent killed people driving drunk.  Stallworth played again and Brent will soon play again.  Instead, he handled the investigation like Barney Fife, gave Rice a slap on the wrist knowing Rice knocked Janay unconscious, defended it several times over,  and then once the second video became public re-sentenced Rice to lifetime penalties while acting pompously indignant.  I don’t see how the collective bargaining agreement with the players union would allow a second sentence to slide by.  Think about it, even if Goodell wanted to make some additional show of Rice, what happened to his second plan for first time offenders of 6 games?  He just skipped that.  If Rice doesn’t get back in the league, seeing how all of this fallout is on Goodell in the first place, Rice is in a position for a helluva lawsuit against the NFL… especially since he had been forthright with Goodell in telling him he struck Janay in the first place.  That doesn’t make Rice a hero, its just not his job to punish himself.  The commissioner should have laid the hammer down on Rice that he deserved in the first place.  There is no excuse.  Roger Goodell has failed miserably and there is no CEO of any company that would survive such a salacious scandal brought on by pure arrogance and stupidity.

Where’s Donald Trump when you need him?

 

 

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

Catching Up With Charlie Bubba

**Parental Discretion Advised

Been a long time since I caught up with my old friend from the neighborhood.  For those not familiar, Charlie Bubba is an old timer from East St. Louis who was a friend of my father’s.   A street philosopher if you will, Bubba has a funny way of seeing politics, religion, and just life in general.  Normally I catch up to him say once a quarter.  But with my schedule it’s been quite a while since I’ve had the chance to get his opinions on the comings and goings of America and the world.

I saw Charlie at Lincoln Park over the weekend.  As usual he had his potions with him.   And I brought a little something myself.  He was glad to see me; and I him.  So after exchanging pleasantries, and toasting a sad goodbye to the two young children shot to death by their mother a few days ago, I pulled out my recorder to get the latest. 

Me:  CB.  What have you been vibing on lately?  What you wanna talk about?   Jobs, POTUS… 

CB: The president?  You mean Beohner’s Bitch?  Ha!  That’s what I call’em.  I swear I think he must have some compromising photos of Bama or something. Cause he is one compromising negro!  I mean got’damn.  He’s the POTUS!  How you gone let a mufucka tell YOU when to announce a fucking jobs bill?  Security?  Shit.  He’s the fuckin president.  You got secret service under the bed when he’s doing Michelle.  You control security.  You spose to be running the motherfucker!  You don’t let congress tell you what the fuck to do.  Now he put his self up against the NF fuckin L.  On opening fuckin night!  Dumb!  You think imma be lookin at his ass?  Imma tell you what I’m gonna do.  Imma be lit up at the spot with some Henney in one hand, and some ribs in another, seeing what kinda JOB the Packers gone do against Breese nem’.  Shit.  I’ll catch up in the morning.  He’s putting himself last so imma put him last. 

Me: I heard they may move the speech up a bit time wise.  But speaking of Michelle.  Do you think she speaks her mind or shares her opinion on these things?  What do you think she thinks?

 CB:  Imma tell you what she thinking.  She’s thinking do she want to keep the drapes she’s got in Chicago when she moves back in 2012.  She’s thinking about what school she wants to send her daughters to.  That’s what she’s thinking.

 Me:  So who’s going to challenge?

 CB: Shit I don’t know.  Anybody with a back bone for starters!  In this country nowadays.  It’s who ever talks the most shit no matter how ignorant.  I guess Mitt or that Ken Doll country preacher lookin dude. 

 Me: Rick Perry?

 CB: Yea that mother fucker.  He’s a scary son of a bitch too.  Just on the gay thing a while ago he was like New York can do its own thing.  States rights shit.  Then after the fact, signs the marriage act.  He don’t know whether he wants to be a preacher or a politician.  Hell I guess they both the same right?  And what the fuck he talkin about he would do the fed chairman in Texas?  After he supported him?  He ain’t shit.

 Me: What about Palin?  Is she getting in or not?

 CB: Palin… oh that bitch is fine ain’t she?  I’d tap that Alaskan ass.  (laughs hysterically)  But she ain’t givin it up is she?  She is the ultimate dick tease.  Ridin buses every other month talkin shit.  ‘Imma run… maybe… maybe not.  Imma suck ya dick, no I ain’t.  Imma let you get it…. SIKE!’  Attention whore!  She should thank McCain every day for putting her on the squad.  I’d like to see her and Bachmann in a debate though.  Bet Bachmann would bitch slap her silly ass.

 Me:  But Palin knows bows and arrows.

 CB: Touché mother fucker!  (laughing) The point is that irregardless, they should do a reality TV where all them fuckers are in the house like The Bachelor or something.  You know some Survivor type shit.  Let America vote.

 Me:  (laughing)  I feel you on that.  Then throw Gadhafi  in the mix too!

 CB: Oh hell yea!  Is he the emperor with no clothes or what?  Talkin about, “I’m in charge.  Ya’ll keep on fighting.  I know they ran me out the crib.  Took all my guns, swam in my pool and stole my goat skin silk sheets and shit.  But I will not be denied.”   That dude been in the palace too fucking long.  That’s probably how Castro would act.

 After a few more sips and laughs I asked Charlie Bubba what else had his ear in the news besides the obvious.  He thought for a second and then his eyes brightened. 

 CB: Oh yea!  White chicks gone missing.  I ain’t even going there on how they report when blonde women goes missing vs. Blacks or Mexicans.  Fuck that.  What I wonder is when they show all these news reports about who dunnit, why and all that shit.  They never have a mother fucker on there saying, “Hey stupid bitches – stop meeting mother fuckers on the computer box and leaving the country with them!  Niggas is crazy.  You might get killed! I mean what these gals think gonna happen to them?  In these days and times?  Got-damn where they get their decision makin skills from?  They give the sob stories, but never talk about the dumb ass decisions in the first place.  That’s what they need to be talkin about.  Do a whole special report on it!  Have Soladad or Coop do a special on it.  They can call it, “Dumb bitches meet a man in public a few times, meet his friends, parents and shit then leave for Aruba.”  How about that?

 Me:  That’s kinda hard Bubba.  But I get your point.

Soon after that it was time for me to go.  Charlie Bubba’s getting old and not looking as good these days.  Physically, life has taken its toll.  But his mind is still sharp and his opinions haven’t waned a bit.  I wished him well and told him to stay up.  His last words…

CB: Flyers got that ass spanked in Georgia last week.  (East St. Louis Football Team) (Coach) Sunkett is dumb.  He shakes hands with the other coaches when he wins but walks off the field when he loses.  What he may not realize is that if any school ask the conference for tapes, they get them.  Cause everybody hates him for embarrassing these White schools.  Period.  They got that whip though again though.  Hope the kids be eligible so the state won’t fuck them over again.  Imma check them out tonight.  Playin some school from Kansas.  We’ll see.  If it ain’t one thing it’s another.

ME: Later C-Bubba

CB: C-Mac my dude!

 

Thanksgiving Sports Edition

Most of us can find something to be thankful for this time of year.  I enjoy watching sports and when I woke up this morning I started to think what if some of the more talked about sports figures in the nation needed some help in realizing what they should be thankful for.  So just in case they wonder, here it goes: 

NBA Edition: 

Chris Bosh should be thankful that his contract in Toronto expired at just the right time.  And that NBA GMs bought the hype that he was an important free agent pick up along the lines of James and Stoudemire.  Before his exposure as a soft pancake like small forward posing as a shooting guard, before Pat Riley found out that Bosh wanted to ‘chill’, he was able to ink the contract of a lifetime and live in the tax free state of Florida.   That is definitely an improvement from merely being Shaq’s Rupaul.

Joe Johnson should be thankful too that the Atlanta Hawks went old school Yankees and bid against themselves in giving him a max contract.  At least he knows how to act with it. 

Carlos Boozer is thankful that the Bulls are not pushing too hard to figure out how he really got hurt. 

The Washington Wizards: For John Wall.  How many rookies can do the Dougie for 20 minutes during player introduction AND put up a triple-double on the same night?

Donald Sterling for leasing  Blake Griffin for a few years:  Blake’s Shawn Kemp like athletically styled freaky destroy the rim dunks will definitely sell a few more season tickets for the Clippers.  Sterling can buy more real estate in Beverly Hills where he can discriminate against African-American would be tenants before Blake leaves the team that serves as the unofficial bitches of the Lakers.  Maybe he will even become a Laker! 

The City of Cleveland: Lebron is fool’s gold.  Now that he has taken his talents to South Beach, I guess the South and the Beach have affected his stamina as he’s already gone on record as wanting less minutes.  Cleveland stood in the spotlight and had the hope and aspirations of Chicago Cub fans in June for several years.  And you had James to thank for that.  He got his taste of free agency.  James is a physical beast with almost unlimited talent.  But his head ain’t right.  It may or may not ever get right.  What you see now is a player more interested in being famous for famous sake, not a winner who will do whatever it takes like a Jim Brown, or Kobe Bryant.  It may take a while, but if Dan Gilbert has the same commitment to the team as he did when James were there, Byron Scott will make sure they play smart and hard every night. 

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, in Los Angeles.

NFL Edition: 

Vince Young: Thankful that Bud Adams loves him like Arthur Blank used to love Michael Vick.  And that he is willing to put up with his childlike and unprofessional behavior.  I guess if he doesn’t kill any animals or commit any other felonies he may keep that love and even get Jeff Fisher fired.  Adams drinks the Young Kool-Aid like ESPN talking heads drink Favre’s. He’s probably going to get Fisher run like Favre did Chili.  From what I hear, Young is as committed to putting in work during the week like Favre is in the pre-season too.  What similarities. 

Speaking of Favre and Kool-Aid; Favre should be thankful that Roger Goodell is a hypocrite and will not punish him for sexually harassing a former Jets employee including sending her text photos of his junk.  Roger is great at putting the Pac Man Jones’ of the world in check in laying down the law.  But the Old Gunslinger puts tape on his mouth.  Shhhhh!  Listen to that?  What’s that sound?  That’s the sound of silence from the NFL offices in New York.  The NFL cares about the NFL brand, not the players, not integrity.  As long as Favre is starting, you won’t hear anything else regarding Sterger-gate.  David Stern’s frozen envelope from 1985 is screaming conspiracy here! 

Sterger didn’t help her own cred by trying to get paid from it.  Getting paid is nothing I’m against.  But she stalled the NFL offices while trying to broker a hush deal.  That’s not on Goodell however.  He has the information and the self proclaimed sheriff of the shield is showing himself to be nothing more than politician.  

Richard Seymour: That his name is not James Harrison.  He’s going to get that $25 grand out of his chump change purse like Sweet Daddy from Good Times and still get to play on Sunday.  

And finally the City of Philadelphia:  That Jeffery Laurie and Andy Reed didn’t listen to YOU when you didn’t want to allow Michael Vick a second chance.  The listened to McNabb instead and now they have an MVP candidate, a player who can potentially take them to another Super Bowl.  

**Side Notes

The New York Yankees/Derek Jeter situation is getting ugly.  I think a couple things needs to happen.  First, management, especially Hank Steinbrenner need to stop putting their Captain on blast by giving him the, “If you don’t like my offer go get a better one somewhere else,” statement in the press.  That’s just disrespectful and unnecessary.  Jeter for his part needs to either, a) tell his agent to stop comparing him to Babe Ruth at 36, and b) perhaps take a more active role in his own final contract.  He believes he should get paid for ‘services rendered’ and the club believes he should get paid for ‘services currently performed.’  Conventional wisdom says it’s somewhere in between.  Jeter should retire in pinstripes.  And in this negotiation both parties should come away satisfied though not completely happy.  Jeter should get his respect, and the Yanks should not overpay by leaps and bounds if they choose not to this time.  I suppose Jeter wonders why they want to get fiscally conservative all of a sudden.  But The Boss is dead.  Hank is not Vito Corleone or even Michael.  He’s more or less Sonny.

A ‘Rush’ To Judgement?

I don’t have much of an opinion on whether Rush Limbaugh owns the Rams or any other NFL team.  It’s a free country and certainly there are racist owners in all of professional sports.  (See Donald Sterling)  And could he be worse as an owner than say, Al Davis?

What this does tell me though that Dave Checketts’ trial balloon of Limbaugh as a partner didn’t fly like as hoped.  And it also tells me that though Limbaugh has amassed wealth in the hundreds of millions of dollars by being a pariah and a hate mongerer, this is drawback that even his money couldn’t buy him out of.  At least not yet.  This is the price, or at least a side effect of the hate medicine he has sold for his life’s work.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Stephen A. Smith who don’t believe many African-American NFL players would turn down money to play for an unapologetic demagogue like Limbaugh.  Lord knows most of them don’t stand for anything but the game they play and the money they make from it.  I’m just saying I won’t cry tears or carry water for Rush in order to be politically correct or in some attempt to be more fair to him than he is to people who look like me.  Oh no. I won’t get on that wagon.  If it happens it happens.  But I truly IDGAF about Rush’s rights to buy an NFL team.