By Lavern Merriweather
Several years back, Mike North, a sports host on the radio station the Score in Chicago, was commenting on black male athletes, namely Michael Jordan and how many in the media along with other black folks feel that because he is a wealthy black man, he should be more philanthropic to the black community. While I feel that giving back and contributing financially or otherwise is an admirable trait, I think Mr. North made a valid point. I agree with him when he said that just because a black person, especially an athlete, is rich, it’s not really his responsibility to support other Negroes. Charity is a choice and it shouldn’t be guilted upon someone, nor should they be harassed endlessly about it.
Mr. North also pointed out that nobody was telling famed 49ers quarterback Steve Young to help out poor white people in Appalachia. They also didn’t tell Andre Agassi to donate money and resources to white people in trailer parks. Yet, for some reason, if a black person is independently wealthy, he or she is expected to open their wallets to help those of the same hue. That’s a crock!
If Michael wants to give of himself to his former area, more power to him. But it shouldn’t be demanded of him, particularly by a group of people that he probably can’t stand anyway. These are the very same jag-offs who continuously made snide petty comments about his personal life and called him arrogant at every turn, which according to sportswriter Richard Lapchick is code for ‘uppity nigger’.
The media speaks a lot in code when it comes to black men who have made good. My guess would be that they are jealous as hell of seeing someone who is supposed to be beneath them being a shitload more successful, also the reason why I think that they feel they can lecture a grown-ass man what he should be doing with his money, including wasting much of it on gambling. I don’t know if Michael has a problem or not, but I do know that if he does, that’s his situation to deal with. It’s none of their damn business. Unless like Pete Rose he was betting on his own sport which far as I know he never did.
Still, they look for any lame ridiculous reason to complain, even as they pretend to like him and think highly of him. And if it’s not bitching like the bitches, they are it’s trying to create conflict where there is none. After former Detroit Piston player and notorious bad boy Dennis Rodman joined the Chicago Bulls, the media went into a freaking frenzy. For a very long time they tried in vain to pit Michael and Dennis against one another in one of the most offensive and sickening cases of divide and conquer I have ever witnessed. White males in the media would ruminate constantly about how much Michael just ‘hated’ Dennis despite the fact that he never said anything to indicate that strong a feeling about his teammate. The only thing I ever heard Michael say was that although some of the stuff that Dennis did got on his nerves, he still felt Dennis was a good player and valuable contribution to the team. They would even go so far as to portray Dennis as the ‘bad’ Negro while Michael was the ‘good’ Negro, the same virgin/whore bullshit ploy they use to keep woman in check.
Funny, but the white male media wasn’t being so fucking admiring when Michael’s father was brutally murdered in 1993 while he was taking a nap in the Lexus that Michael brought for him. His father was viciously gunned down by two thugs that robbed him then stole his car. Many in the media and public didn’t bother to wait for all the details to come out before they began speculating that Michael’s gambling lifestyle had something to do with his dad’s death. Turns out it didn’t have SHIT to do with why his father was killed! That was just the assumption made by a lot of thoughtless insensitive assholes who felt that they could completely disrespect him in the face of such a horrible personal tragedy.
Some in the local Chicago media even kept harping on how much alcohol Michael’s dad had in his system when that had absolutely nothing to do with why his father died. However, they insisted on yacking about that part of the story or being judgmental about what he did with his own money on his own time. Instead of compassion or sympathy, a black man’s emotional pain became fodder for mean-spirited idiots.
There was one moment after the Bulls won the championship on father’s day where Michael was on the floor holding the ball crying. His grief should have stayed personal and not shared with the viewers. But since he is black and male, his anguish shouldn’t be respected any more than his privacy.
I am grateful though that the term ‘role model’ isn’t being uttered with the same frequency as it used to be. Maybe that’s because thanks to modern day technology, it’s a lot easier for those who despise arrogant, whiny and yes racist pinheads in the media to call them on their bullshit with taps on a keyboard. Email and websites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it quicker to air grievances with those who believe their opinion to be superior to everyone else’s. I prefer to remind them in a not-so-nice way that many white male athletes…hell, white male celebrities period are often guilty of the same offenses as the black males they criticize. Is that to say that I don’t think that black men should ever be held in any way accountable for the wrong that they do? Of course not. I just feel that if you are going to throw stones then you damn well better not live in a glass house. After all doesn’t the bible say judge not lest ye be judge, a lesson many white males in the entire media should take time to learn?
Worse than that are fellow black men in the media that rush to concur with whatever hypocritical rationale white males spew. Stephen A. Smith is one such person that if I never see another of his stupid, vapid, self-hating, “You sho is right, boss” nonsense columns, I will be one happy woman. Fortunately, he’s not the final say when it comes to black sportswriters. Some actually do have the balls to tell their white male colleagues just how racist and full of it the term ‘role model’ is. It’s well past time that we keep allowing those who look down on us to determine who is or isn’t a productive member of society and what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their hard earned money.