Monday, April 28, 2008

Sticking to the Script: The Sean Bell Verdict

It has occurred so often, one would think that it is scripted.

It has to be scripted.

Another dead minority due to excessive police force. Another acquitted verdict.

It almost seems so regular, that it no longer is surprising. The verdict in the Sean Bell case has caused an uproar over justice for citizens, and justice for minorities. In a case where three police officers fired a total of fifty one bullets at Sean Bell and his friends upon exiting a night club, a "trial" found them innocent of any excessive, cruel, or intentional behavior.

In a trial where the prosecution tried about as hard as the New York Knicks did in the month of March, how can one blame the minority's lack of faith in the judicial system? The evidence was there. Plain and clear. This was supposed to be the one. This case was supposed to be different. This time there would be justice.

Nope. Innocent.

Instead, we got another cheap verdict.

Now the Rev. Al Sharpton will run his parade for coverage and notoriety claiming racism and yada, yada, yada...spare me.

The true situation lies not in racism or the bad apples of the NYPD.

The true situation lies in the growing lack of faith in the judicial system. As citizens. In brotherhood. For justice.

The truth lies in the fact that if the victim were a white male, would the verdict be different?

I don't know.

However, if it were a minority?

It seems it will just stick to the script.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oppurtunity a Forgotten Substance

After a week in which we celebrate the life, achievements and most of all, courage of great Jackie Robinson, the results of a poll on foxsports.com reflect thoughts that are downright disturbing.
The question read, "Is the dwindling number of black players in Major League Baseball a serious concern?" As of today, after 17,332 votes, 12% agree, while 88% do not.

Are we really serious?

While the reasons for the lack of black ball players in Major League Baseball is attributed to many things from economics to lack of interest, to say such a matter is not important, or vital to the total growth of the game is ignorant.

While I agree with many that Jackie Robinson's efforts were more about brotherhood than the elevation of one race, Jackie's remarkable career did indeed emanate a sense of opportunity.

The argument however is the opportunity for children to choose. If black children across the nation rather toss a football, or shoot a jump-shot rather than drive in an RBI, who are we to force that upon them?

After all, why don't we try to create more Latin-American basketball players, Asian basketball players, or even black hockey players?

Just let the kids choose they say.

However, with the multi-athlete in high school, a prime period for learning the essential of all sports, becoming a thing of the past, it is no wonder the game of baseball is being left out. With football and basketball grabbing the attention of campus', and coaches demanding a year round program from their players, baseball and other sports are being pushed to the back.

With no experience, there is no interest.

Experience is everything in baseball. In fact, experience is the game of baseball.

Where is the opportunity?

This is evident as the pipelines that feed the Major Leagues is less than the seven percent that make up the show. With less than seven percent at the college level, and even less at the high school ranks opportunities are few and far for black ball players. Picking up a basketball and/or football has higher odds for success.

Not to mention the constant plugs for the NFL (All-year programming for NFL Live) and NBA by media outlets like ESPN.

The disappearing black baseball player has little to do with race and diversity than it does with the preservation of opportunity, a pillar for the foundation of Jackie's career, and life.

Until we wake up and realize that, we'll continue to witness whistles, cones, and shuttle drills on baseball fields for our youth in inner cities.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dome Pondering Import - Honoring The Nature Boy

Here is a short clip of a United States Representative, Sue Myrick (R-NC 9th District), giving a speech on Capitol Hill before congress honoring the recent retiree, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. This tribute by Representative Myrick is a testament to Ric Flair's legendary career, his commitment to North Carolina, and the overall character and goodness of his heart that transcended beyond the wrestling industry.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Image vs. Performance: David Stern's (Racial) Dilemma

On the night of the 2008 National Championship, there are rumors that NBA Commissioner, David Stern, and NCAA President, Myles Brand are in agreement to require players to stay in college for at least two years of college.

Immediately, many are quick to say the idea proposed by the top two dogs is brilliant. After all, it enhances the NBA game with more seasoned players, and it keeps the NCAA from one and done wonders such as Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and Greg Oden.

How can it be wrong? It's a no brainer, right?

Well, yeah.

However, one has to question this pact as it reeks of alternative motives. The agreement itself is grounded in none other than cash. An ability for the NCAA to develop and keep these top-notch stars that will be playing in a basketball arena near you soon, and a chance for the NCAA to become a sufficient breeding ground for the NBA. Both parties win, and will allow for a stronger product.

Never mind the fact that you can be sent off to war, but not be allowed to play in the NBA.

Nevermind the fact that it violates the right for a legal eighteen year old to pursuit his or her career.

Never mind the fact that it compromises the American way.

It's all about Ratings, ticket sales, and merchandise.

However, deeper overtures lie in this topic that many are afraid to tackle and/or be susceptible too. That is the issue with the NBA and its image. It is not a secret that Stern has been trying to clean up the NBA's image, and part of that is in fact, the maturity of the young inner-city male, most notably African-Americans. A denial of that is an example of pure and blinded ignorance.

An increase in the age limit is in fact a proponent to curb immature behavior in the NBA rather than improve performance.

After all, it is obvious for the three year rule in football - a physically demanding sport. However, what separates basketball, from baseball, volleyball, golf, hockey, or even bowling?

Why police basketball?

The answer is simple - besides performance enhancing drugs, the other sports do not have an image problem with negativity. Football does, but as we all know, football gets immunity from all negativity in this nation.

Nonetheless, another two years under a great collegiate program can help a young man develop personally, emotionally, and spiritually to a point that can match or exceed that of the NBA's culture. Stern is no dummy. A marketing genius such as Stern realizes the greater welfare of the league lies in good character rather than great players.

To say that Stern's intentions are racially motivated may be a bit of a stretch, however, it may not be too far from the truth.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

36 Years: A True Gold Standard


36 years.

36 years of setting the bar.

36 years of being, "The Man."