Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rashard Mendenhall, 9/11 and Freedom of Speech: Can We All Just Speak Our Minds?

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall's statements regarding the announcement that Osama Bin Laden was killed have come under fire.

From his Twitter account Mendenhall issued the following: "What kind of person celebrates death? It is amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."

Mendenhall then went on to express his thoughts on the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

Yesterday Mendenhall went into damage control.  I do not understand why.  I thought there was a thing called freedom of speech.

Well, I guess it exists for those in the majority.

Mendenhall issued the following yesterday to clarify what he we attempting to say.  He stated in his blog, “Nothing I said was meant to stir up controversy. It was my way to generate conversation.”

Mendenhall continues, “In looking at my timeline in its entirety, everything that I’ve said is with the intent of expressing a wide array of ideas and generating open and honest discussions, something I believe we as American citizens should be able to do. Most opinions will not be fully agreed upon and are not meant to be. However, I believe every opinion should be respected or at least given some thought.”

I will just get right to the point: I do not see anything wrong with what Mendenhall asserted on his Twitter account.  He is free to express himself the way he see fits. 

Mendenhall suggested he merely wanted to “generate conversation.”

Since when is that against the law?

Are people so rigid and programmed in their thinking it becomes impossible to consider a vantage that may be different than the majority?

Personally, I do not believe Mendenhall needed to clarify his statements or apologize.  I have grown weary of people who make statements who throw their rock but hide their hand. 

In my opinion, an individual should not apologize for something they truly believe in.  All men and women, while human, also have varied personalities and thoughts.  Mendenhall expressed a mode of thinking that is not in the majority view. 

Just because a view is to widely popular does not mean it is not worthy of critical discussion.

Does Mendenhall have the right to express his views even though they rival mainstream ideology?

I love the fact athletes who have a conscious to make their feelings known.  Just because you earn a lot of money, play professional sports and are a highly visible personality does not mean one has to subscribe to being docile and obedient.

Furthermore, what Mendenhall asserted was not necessarily controversial: He just stated something many have thought but were fearful of expressing in a public forum.

It is true that there is essentially one side of the story regarding what really transpired during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In my view, it is extremely plausible to assert how two world-class structures could fall so suddenly.  If everyone remembers, Tower No. 7 fell a short period after the Twin Towers crumbled to the ground, yet it was not struck by any planes. 

What is wrong with Mendenhall asserting his perception of what he feels happened or did not happen?

I have digested some commentary where Mendenhall should be traded like Santonio Holmes or he should issue a real apology for his unpatriotic stance.

Give me a break.

It is not Mendenhall’s issue whether the owner of the Steelers and President Obama are friends.

It is not Mendenhall’s issue whether so many people who reside in this country do not have the guts to assert what they really feel. 

Not everyone wants to be status quo and be politically correct: Some people have minds and the ability to analyze for themselves.

Instead of condemning Mendenhall for his position, people should look at his statements and simply ask one question: Does what he suggests have a level of credence?

That would indicate a level of understanding and extending beyond one’s cerebral comfort zone to consider another vantage point than the majority view. 

Since a segment of this country is so programmed and narrow-minded, they would much rather cling to the comfort of conformity rather than extend beyond their self-imposed boundaries and experience, which can be characterized as thinking freely.

Bottom line: Freedom of speech exists in this country, but apparently it's only protected for those who subscribe to the majority view.

Email me directly: drttcd@gmail.com

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cam Newton Is No. 1 in Carolina's Panthers Book: Let the Scrutiny Begin

It’s a done deal. 

The Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick in this years NFLdraft.
Newton caps a tumultuous year off the field but a superlative one on it.

Off the field Newton was the subject of persistent media scrutiny as he guided the Auburn Tigers to the BCS National Championship and an undefeated season.

Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, was believed to have brokered a deal for his son to play-for-pay at Mississippi State before he eventually settled on attending Auburn.  The media obviously feasted on the story.

Newton was scrutinized for his questionable character flaws and his fathers’ actions.  The media talked about an incident when Newton was at University of Florida he allegedly stole a lap top.  He was also accused of academic fraud while at Florida.

Newton moved on from Florida and played Junior College football where he guided Blinn College to the Division II National Championship in 2009.

As the 2010 college football season began Newton was not on the radar for winning the Heisman Trophy let alone leading Auburn to a national championship.   As the season went on Newton shined.  But as his star continued to shine brightly throughout the season so did the media scrutiny.

Despite the persistent bashing from the media and the questions about his past Newton blocked out all of the negativity and focused on winning.

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Newton’s name as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft he became just the second player to win a national championship, the Heisman Trophy and be selected the top draft pick in a one-year span.  The first to do it was Notre Dame’s Leon Joseph Hart in 1950.

Now all Newton has to do is prove his critics wrong again by competing at the highest level and prove he belongs.

I’ve heard the likes of ESPN Todd McShay and others blast Newton.  McShay suggests he has physical talent yet lacks the intangibles to lead effectively in the NFL.  McShay has also suggested Newton’s work ethic may wane once he gets paid.

Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker did not receive such scrutiny from McShay.

I wonder why.

Anyway, Newton proved his doubters wrong before and I think he will do it again.

Some suggest the way Newton has been characterized in the media leading up to the draft was outright racist.  Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon suggested recently suggested the following regarding Newton: “A lot of the criticism he’s receiving is unfortunate and racially based,” Moon continued.  “I thought we were all past this.  I don’t see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony.  He’s being held to different standards from white quarterbacks.  I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we’re not.”

What Moon suggested about Newton being scrutinized due to race is true in my opinion yet I don’t think it is quite as blatant as in the past.

History reveals there was once a time African-American quarterbacks out of college were not given opportunities to play quarterback in the NFL.  Simply put they were believed to be mentally inferior to whites.

Historically such ignorance has lead many African-American quarterbacks to be switched to other positions.  This ultimately reinforces the negative stereotype African-Americans are great athletes but don’t fare well in the ultimate thinking position of quarterback in the NFL.

Let’s look at the facts: Newton is a winner who plays a brand of football that’s not the prototypical style of play.  Without question Newton has both the physical and mental capability to be a franchise quarterback and revolutionize the position.

He can be characterized as a bigger stronger Michael Vick with notable power.

While the likes of McShay and other haters will continue to scrutinize Newton’s ability I’m quite sure he’ll continue to prove his doubters wrong despite the criticism.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cincinnati Bengals: Why Is Carson Palmer Getting a Media Pass?

Why is Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is getting the royal treatment from the media?

The embattled quarterback has consistently harped he wants out of Cincinnati.  Palmer has stated if he’s not traded he’ll simply retire.

Where’s the media outcry?

Why is the story flying so far under the radar?

I will give you part of the reason: Palmer’s trade demands are not deemed serious news due to the current media composition.

According the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 94, 88, and 89 percent respectively of the sports editors, columnists, and reporters are white.

African-Americans account for 1, 6, and 8 percent respectively of the sports editors, columnists, and reporters in sports media.

African-Americans account for 68 percent of the players in the NFL.

Facts indicate the vast majority of the sports coverage we digest comes from a white vantage point.
Clearly there is a glaring disparity between the number of African-Americans covering the NFL and those who play the game.

Point blank, if Carson Palmer were African-American I’d venture to say he’d be scrutinized more in the media.

Late last year a Q-Score rating was issued which measured the most disliked athletes in sports.  The top six most hated athletes on the list were African-American.

Palmer’s teammates Chad Ochochinco and Terrell Owens were voted in the top six.

If either Ochocinco or Owens were demanding trades do you think the story would be covered more persistently than what Palmer has experienced up to this point?

Based on Palmer’s performance last year I don’t think he’s in a position to demand anything.  Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but Palmer is not a top-flight quarterback in the NFL.  Ever since he made the Pro-Bowl in 2005-2006, Palmer’s quarterback rating has plummeted.

The past six seasons Palmer’s passer rating is as follows:

2005: 101.1
2006.  93.1
2007.  86.7
2008.  69.0
2009.  83.6
2010.  82.4

Palmer missed 12 games of 2008 season due to a knee injury but I don’t think the injury has anything to do with his current erratic play.

I believe part of the reason Palmer’s trade demands have flown under the radar is because he belongs to a distinct and privileged fraternity in the NFL: He’s a white quarterback in the NFL.  Based on past precedence, they evade criticism when it is richly deserved.

Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger are the poster-boys for being placed in the media’s witness protection program.

Favre was alleged to have sent inappropriate texts to Jenn Sterger while he was a New York Jet.  There was some talk Favre would be in hot water, but I knew better.  Turns out Commissioner Roger Goodell slapped the Golden Boy on the rear, fined him $50,000 and told him to enjoy his retirement.

Roethlisberger missed four games this past season for violating the personal conduct code.  He was accused of assaulting a 20-year-old co-ed in Milledgeville, Georgia just over a year ago.

Once the dust settled, the media gave Roethlisberger the space he needed to play football and work his PR campaign.  He did not have to worry about being asked tough questions—particularly at Media Day at this years’ Super Bowl—because he was protected by the lily-white media and his celebrity status.

Interesting how Michael Vick is still scrutinized to this day for a debt to society he paid two years ago.  Unlike Favre and Roethlisberger, Vick has consistently faced the media piper and answered tough questions.

If Vick had a season like Palmer and asked out of Philadelphia, you think he’d receive more media coverage than Palmer?

Palmer—a self-proclaimed elite quarterback who hasn’t showed any glimpses he belongs on that tier—is being protected by the media even though he has not demonstrated he belongs in the elite club.

Ochocinco has consistently been labeled an agitator who seeks the limelight.  He’s been portrayed as a loud-mouth who can be a distraction to team chemistry.

Sound familiar?

Rest assured, if Ochocinco had been kicking and screaming this off-season about a trade there would be media rumblings with nation-wide headlines.

Ochocinco recently stated the following via his Twitter account: “I love the media, I want out few years back im disgruntled n a distraction, I was sick of losing, Carson is tired of losing its still my fault?”

Ochocinco continued, "Carson Palmer demands a trade? Last person demanded a trade in Cincy was crucified by the media n had to win the fans back, how will this go?"

Then there’s Owens.  Owens has been labeled much of his career as being a cancer to the locker-room.  More notably he’s been accused of feuding with his quarterbacks and creating unnecessary friction.

If Owens had vocally blasted the Bengals organization and asked for a trade you think he would receive more negative media coverage than Palmer?

Apparently the double-standard extends to the head coach Marvin Lewis as well.  When asked about Ochocinco’s recent rendezvous, Lewis stated, “What has he ever done that he’s completed? What circle has he connected in any way?”

I have no issue with the latter, but why hasn’t Lewis ridiculed Palmer in public for his erratic play but is quick to pull the trigger on Ochocinco?

I don’t agree with some of Ochocinco’s antics but this time I totally understand his viewpoint.  Years ago when Ochocinco wanted out of Cincinnati the media feasted on the coverage.  Now that Palmer has issued the same proclamation this story continues to go unnoticed.

Perhaps if the media was more diverse there would be more balanced coverage.

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Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant Fined for Slur, but There's a Bigger Issue Here

NBA Commissioner David Stern did not waste any time in levying a fine against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant for uttering the slur “f**king fa**ot” to a referee during a Tuesday night contest against the San Antonio Spurs.

Bryant suggested he meant no ill-will towards the referee. He was just frustrated and meant no harm.
“What I said last night should not be taken literally," said Bryant on Wednesday. "My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period.”

Bryant added, "The words expressed do not reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone.”

The Human Rights Campaign begs to differ. They feel Bryant’s poor choice of words creates an atmosphere for bigotry to fester, as does the commissioner.

According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, Stern suggested such derogatory statements have no place in sports or society. “Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."

President of the Human Rights Campaign Joe Solmonese concurred with Stern’s swift action: "We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large."

Solmonese continued, "We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context."

Bryant spoke with Solmonese and issued an apology prior to yesterday’s season finale against the Sacramento Kings. Said Solmonese, "We had a very sincere conversation in which he expressed his heartfelt regret for the hurt that his words caused. He told me that it's never okay to degrade or tease, and that he understands how his words could unfortunately give the wrong impression that this is appropriate conduct. At the end of a difficult day, I applaud Kobe for coming forward and taking responsibility for his actions."

I agree with anyone who believes derogatory slurs should not be tolerated. On a personal level I’ve experienced some of the worst racial slurs ever hurled at a person. I continue to champion justice whether the insults are leveled directly at me or at others.

The show must go on.

I don’t have a serious issue with the fine levied. It’s not like $100,000 will force him into bankruptcy.
I think there’s a bigger issue many are overlooking: the need for athletes—particularly African American athletes—to speak out against social inequities in American sport and society, whether it directly affects them or not.

Speaking out will ignite both awareness of and dialogue concerning so-called controversial issues, and can ultimately serve as a catalyst for change. Marquee athletes have the ear of the media and the eyes of the public.

Doesn’t it make sense to use one's platform for something other than self-gratification? Most African American athletes keep their mouths shut unless turmoil visits their own doorstep.

Why wasn’t Bryant speaking out during the 2008 Olympic Games in China?

At the time over 500,000 Muslim Africans were being slaughtered by their Christian countrymen in Darfur, Sudan. China was supplying weapons to the Sudanese government, which were used to murder innocent Africans.

Where was the protest by the athletes?

In 2007 LeBron James was asked by a teammate sign a petition against the genocide taking place in Darfur. He refused, suggesting he needed more time to investigate the matter.

A year wasn’t enough?

James, like Bryant, participated in the 2008 Olympic Games and didn’t utter one word about China's involvement with the massacre taking place.

Last summer James held his famous “Decision” for all to see. After he was thoroughly roasted by a segment of the media and fans his mainstream popularity took a hit.

In an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien last year James was asked if race played a factor in his media portrayal. “I think so, at times,” he said. “There’s always a race factor.”

I totally agree race was a factor, but that’s not the point. James cried race when it directly effected him, yet he's not uttered a word in defense of its other targets.

Where were the African American athletes when Donovan McNabb was subject to racist bashing on ESPN by the conservative Rush Limbaugh in 2004?

Where was Bryant when Don Imus referred to several female basketball players as “nappy headed ho’s" in 2007?

Where was King James in 2008 when Golf Channel announcer Kelly Tilghman suggested players on the PGA Tour should take Tiger Woods and “lynch him in a back alley” to curtail his dominance?

The lack of diversity in the media ensures that the vast majority of information disseminated is manufactured by white males. So long as the media has lily-white vantage points on subject matter such as racism, sexism and gender, inequality will go vastly underreported.

According to The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 94, 88 and 89 of American sports editors, columnists and reporters respectively are white. Meanwhile, African-Americans account for 1, 6 and 8 respectively in the same positions.

Can anyone say "lack of diversity"?

We could experience a level of coverage that better reflects sports culture if publications, radio and television truly embraced diversity.

Slice the pie any way you like, but if the NBA is 80 percent African American there is a serious problem when just six percent of columnists covering it are African American and 88 percent are white.

Bottom line, we live in a society where many people both in and outside of sports opt for silence when noise is what's needed. Simultaneously, news outlets gloss over their need to diversify and remain vastly white.

What Bryant said was wrong, even though it was in the heat of the moment. But I think it would be great if the likes of Bryant utilized their platforms for more than self-gratification and personal gain.

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Bill Russell: Most Want to 'Be Like Mike' but I'd Rather 'Be Like Bill”

Now that the NBA Playoffs are set to start there are many questions.

Should Derrick Rose be named the MVP?

Will the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant repeat as champions?

Can the Miami Heat and LeBron James hoist the championship trophy this year?

Looking beyond the spectrum of this years playoffs I asked a fellow journalist the following question: Who is the greatest winner in NBA history?

Without hesitation he uttered, "Michael Jordan of course."

Good choice.

Jordan was the skinny kid who was cut from his high school basketball team.  He turned the negative into a positive in college as he helped lead the North Carolina Carolina Tarheels to the NCAA Championship as a freshman in 1982.

Jordan won two Olympic Gold Medals in 1984 as an amateur and in 1992 as a pro.  When Jordan helped lead “The Dream Team” to Olympic gold some experts suggest it was the greatest team ever assembled.

Jordan was selected third in the 1984 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls.  He essentially took the torch from Julius Erving from an athletic standpoint and raised the bar to another level.

Jordan electrified fans for 14 years.  His array of high-flying dunks and clutch last second shots were the stuff of legend.  We also know about his six NBA championships and six finals MVP awards as well.

Jordan, who is currently is the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, ended his career with the Washington Wizards in 2003.  His career scoring average is the best in NBA history at 30.1 per game.

While there is no doubting Jordan’s impact on the NBA there is someone else whom I consider better for various reasons.  This player has 11 NBA championships; two of which came as player/coach in 1968 and 1969.

His name is Bill Russell.

Like Jordan, Russell also won Olympic gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Before Russell embarked upon his stellar pro career he led the University of San Francisco to become NCAA Champions in 1955 and 1956.

Russell starred for the Boston Celtics from 1956-1969.  He was the centerpiece of arguably the greatest dynasty in team sports.

Russell averaged 15.0 points and 22 rebounds per game during his career.

There is a lot more to Russell than meets the eye.  Russell recently received the prestigious Medal of Freedom Award.  It represents the highest honor a citizen can receive.

Russell was a man who did things the right way but he did them his way.  After receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, Russell stated, "It's very flattering because I've tried to live my life doing what I think is right and for the right reasons and one of the reasons was never to get accolades or honors."

Today many athletes are about money, women and notoriety: In Russell’s day it was about inclusion, rights and activism on and off the court.

As a superstar athlete Russell was revered, but on the streets of Boston he often encountered racism.  For instance, Russell wanted to move into white suburb of Redding just outside Boston.  Despite being the star of the Celtics, citizens of Redding formed a petition to keep Russell out of the neighborhood.

As a player Russell’s home was broken into by racists. They proceeded to defecate on his bed and threw garbage throughout his home.  The intruders also destroyed many of his trophies and personal belongings.

In 1975, Russell was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He boldly refused entry because of the mistreatment he experienced from a segment of the Boston faithful.

Later that year the Celtics wanted to hold a ceremony in Russell’s honor to retire his jersey but he declined: Instead Russell hoisted his No. 6 to the rafters of the Boston Garden with only his teammates and coaches present.

Why?

Russell wanted to be in the presence of those who really respected him as a man.  Russell felt he shouldn’t allow fans to cheer him as an athlete and disrespect him as a man.

Russell didn’t bow down to the establishment.   He once proclaimed, “I owe the public nothing.”

In my opinion Jordan has the social-consciousness of a door-knob.  With respect to activism, Jordan is bankrupt.  He has never uttered a word that could be construed as controversial.

Jordan was a corporate pitchman who was given scripts to read and he obliged.  Jordan even famously stated, “Republicans buy sneakers too.”

Translation: Jordan wasn’t about making a difference.  He was about making money.

Unlike Jordan, Russell was pioneer on and off the court through his activism.  He was active during the Civil Rights Movement and routinely spoke his mind during a time when the African-American athlete used their platforms for more personal gain.

Activists like Russell often act in accordance with a vision that is vastly distinct from mainstream ideology.  An activists’ vision often prompts them to lead movements rather than be one of many who follow.

Typically, those who are closed minded negatively label those who use their platforms for more than making a buck.  Russell wasn’t moved by money—he was moved by doing what he considered right and he refused to allow others to dictate his destiny.

Pioneers like Russell continue to press forward because they know what’s labeled as controversial today will be embraced tomorrow.

To his credit, Jordan has extended his success in a realm that’s often eluded the grasps of African-Americans and that’s ownership. Yet Jordan’s success can be directly attributed to pioneers like Russell who helped create opportunities for African-Americans in both society and sports.

Many can construct a viable argument for Jordan being the greatest basketball player of all time.

That’s fine.

But without question Russell was likely the most important basketball player and the greatest winner of all time.

Personally, I’d much rather “be like Bill” than “be like Mike.”
 
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Warren Moon: Does Race Factor in How Cam Newton Is Portrayed in the Media?

As Cam Newton strives to be the first quarterback taken in the upcoming NFL draft, some suggest he’s been subjected to racist stereotypes.

Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has been advising Newton.  Moon—who experienced a lot of scrutiny as an African-American quarterback coming out of college—suggests the way Newton is being portrayed in the media is racist.

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com recently interviewed Moon regarding Newton’s characterization.  Here’s what Moon suggested: “A lot of the criticism he’s receiving is unfortunate and racially based,” Moon told Freeman.  “I thought we were all past this.  I don’t see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony.  He’s being held to different standards from white quarterbacks.  I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we’re not.”

Moon was a great quarterback who led the Washington Huskies to a Rose Bowl victory in 1978.  Moon ended up at Washington because other schools interested in his services wanted him to switch positions.  He refused.

Frankly speaking, some NFL teams did not want African-American quarterbacks on their roster.  Oddly, Moon was passed over by NFL franchises due to systemic racism within the NFL.

Moon took his talents north of the border to Canada where he played six productive years for the Edmonton Eskimos before the Houston Oilers called in 1984.

Moon played 17 productive years in the NFL, retiring in 2000.

Let’s face it; racism still is prevalent in society, so invariably it will be present in American sports.  Despite what some suggest, there is still a stigma regarding the African-American quarterback.

Moon recently told Freeman, “Of course there is racism in every walk of society.  We’ve made a lot of progress in this country. But racism is still there.  I just thought in the sports arena we were beyond it.  I think the way Cam is being treated shows we’re not. . . .”

Let’s delve deeper—who is writing these negative stories about Newton?

According to The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, much of the negativity attributes Newton receives stems from a lily-white media that clearly lacks diversity.

Facts from the institute indicate 94, 88, 89 of the sports editors, columnists and reporters are white.
African-Americans account for zero, six, and eight percent of those occupying the same positions: Yet the NFL has a player representation of 68 percent.

Facts indicate much of the information disseminated about professional athletes clearly come from a white male vantage point.

Doesn't it make sense to have more diversity in the media for balanced coverage?

Newton has been characterized as a great “athlete” who is “lacking the intangibles” to run a pro-style offense.  His leadership skills have been scrutinized as well by the so-called experts like ESPN’s Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Jr. and general managers around the league.

Why is Newton being scrutinized?

Didn’t he lead Auburn to a National Championship while going undefeated?

Yeah, Newton ran the spread offense.

Big deal.

Didn’t Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford run the same offense in college?

Were they scrutinized like Newton for running the spread offense?

Moon offered the following to Freeman, “The thing that makes me laugh is the question of can [Newton] come out of the spread offense?  Can he run a pro offense?  Colt McCoy came out of the spread offense and very few people raised that issue about him.  So did Sam Bradford. Same thing.  Very few questions asking if Bradford could run a pro offense.  Some of these questions about Cam are more about his intellect.  It’s blatant racism, some of it.”

Charlie Ward led the Florida Seminoles to the National Championship in 1993.  Ward also won the Heisman Trophy.

Ward was a gifted collegiate athlete who played point guard in basketball and was a great pitcher in baseball.

When the 1994 NFL draft came and went, Ward’s name was not called.  Ward stated he “deserved to be selected in the first round.”  He suggested if he wasn’t selected in the first round then he’d opt for basketball.
Ward was projected by experts as a third to fifth-round pick at best.

How can a quarterback who passed for 3032 yards, 27 touchdowns against four interceptions not at least get a legit look?

I believe race factored in to why Ward was snubbed, and it factors in to why Newton is being victimized by racist stereotypes.

I am quite sure some will suggest I am playing the race card.

Not so.

All those who think I’m playing the race card, I ask you to simply open your collective minds.  Allow a level of objectivity to infiltrate your ignorance so you simply ask yourself one question:

Does what he (Dexter) suggest have a semblance of credence?

Is that too much to ask?

For some, it’s much easier to continually clutch ones ignorance rather than attempt to constructively attack it.
I guess that’s to be expected, considering much of what we digest comes from a lily-white media.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Duke and Michigan Renew Rivalry Amidst 'Uncle Tom' Controversy

Oh the irony.

The Duke Blue Devils are set to square off against the Michigan Wolverines today for a trip to the Sweet 16.

No matter the outcome of the game a storyline that will not be avoided is the Fab Five’s (Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Chris Webber, Ray Jackson, and Juwan Howard) recent documentary which aired on ESPN recently.

Controversy swirls around both teams resulting from controversial statements made by former Fab Five standout and current ESPN Analyst Jalen Rose.

While the entire piece was rather telling it was Rose’s statement suggesting Duke largely recruited African-American players who were “Uncle Toms” that raised many eyebrows.

Does Rose’s statement have credence?

Being called an Uncle Tom is arguably the most damaging slur one can hurl at another African-American.
Whether or not you agree with Rose’s statement at least he had the stones to say exactly what he felt.

To put Rose’s assessment into perspective it’s important to define what an Uncle Tom is.

An Uncle Tom is defined as an African-American who turns on the community while they seek admittance into the white community.

He or she doesn’t associate with African-Americans to any substantial degree.  Furthermore, they rarely speak up on controversial topics that affect African-Americans in the mainstream, such as racism.

In short, it’s someone who is African-American by race but white by heart.

In my opinion, the preeminent example of an athlete being an Uncle Tom can be found by studying the institution of slavery: There you had house slaves and field slaves.

House slaves are the modern-day Uncle Toms.  They lived close to the master’s house and in some instances they lived in the house.  They dressed better than field slaves and ate better food.

House slaves were spies. They utilized to report back to the master of any slaves who were planning to escape or not working hard enough in the fields.

Field slaves were just that – they worked in the field.  They slept away from the slave-masters quarters and were treated like dirt.

They wore the worst clothes, ate the worst food and were watched with a keen eye by the master, the plantation overseer and the Uncle Toms house slaves.

The master treating the field slaves worse than the house slaves created a division between them: Simply put house slaves were led to believe they were better those who worked in the field.

Field slaves disliked the house slaves because they were selling them.  They were making a racist master happy who really didn’t care about them.

During the Civil Rights Movement, there were African-American leaders and citizens who were willing to accept white-rule.  Many feared the wrath of white oppression so much they simply did not act.

Due to their unwillingness to fight oppression while simultaneously trying to live white they were often characterized as Uncle Toms.

There were groups like the Black Panthers and Nation of Islam who did not bow down to racism.  There were leaders like Malcolm X who would not embrace oppression-they fought it with all their might.

Such activists were characterized as militants who didn’t accept racism.

Today in sports perhaps the classic example of an Uncle Tom would be Tiger Woods.  Woods has never embraced being African-American.  He felt so strongly about being associated with African-Americans he made up his own race called “Cablinasian.”

Woods has never taken any controversial stands or aligned himself with the African-American community.  He has done all he could to evade controversial issues and remains silent on hot-button topics, such as race.

Myself and others were quick to blast Woods for not speaking up when Golf Channel announcer suggested other golfers on tour should take Tiger in a “back alley and lynch him” to curtail his dominance on tour.

Uncle Tiger did all he could to sweep the situation under the rug.  On January 18, 2008 I issued the following: “I’m disappointed in Tiger.  Oh, I’m sorry, ‘Uncle Tiger.’  I know he doesn’t want to be, but Tiger is an African-American male living in white America”

Let’s not forget the media.  FOX sports writer Jason Whitlock has sometimes produced commentary that doesn’t bode well in the African-American community.

Most notably in 2007, Whitlock made rather ludicrous comments when radio personality Don Imus referred to several Rutgers female basketball players as “nappy headed hos.”

Whitlock suggested Imus was not the problem.  He made anti-African-American comments by issuing the following: “Imus is not the real bad guy.”

Whitlock continues, “I am sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dog’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy headed pimps and hos.”

Now there’s hopefully a better understanding of what an Uncle Tom is and who it has been associated with let’s address Rose’s assessment.

Isn’t true Coach K goes after African-American players that are raised in affluent homes?

Apparently he doesn’t want to worry about his players taking money under the table, corresponding with agents, or having their parents brokering deals on the side.

Translation, Coach K doesn’t recruit in the hood.

Case and point: Duke’s top recruit for next year is Jeremiah Rivers, the son of the Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.

Rivers is African-American, comes from a well-to-do home, and plays great basketball.
Is the latter right or wrong?

Even though Coach K has historically recruited African-American players with a distinct background does, that doesn’t mean the African-American players themselves are clearly Uncle Toms?

Perhaps if we look beyond Rose’s comments we’d realize his choice of words and line of reasoning indeed has credence.

Bottom line: Rose ignited a discussion that was needed.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Jalen Rose: Fab Five Documentary on ESPN a Job Well Done...


The ESPN 30 for 30 special on the Fab Five is a must see.  It was an excellent depiction of how five freshman basketball players at the University of Michigan changed the landscape of college basketball with their confidence and style.

The piece was a job well done.

Even more telling I was extremely surprised at some of the brute honesty that came from the likes of Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson, and Jimmy King.

Chris Webber declined to participate in the documentary. 

I have more on Webber a bit later.

Rose suggested the type of African-American players Duke recruited were “Uncle Toms.” He suggested Duke rarely recruited so players from the hood from poverty stricken circumstances.

Jimmy King referred to Christian Laettner as an overrated “bitch” that over-hyped by the media.

Ray Jackson said he simply “hated Duke” and all they stood for.

The latter statements were very powerful points of view: As those of you who follow my commentary such points of view are right up my alley. 

Why not keep it real?

The Fab Five ushered in an era that embodied the Hip-Hop revolution that was transpiring in the early 1990’s. 

The Fab Five wore baggy shorts with black socks.  They sported tattoos with bald heads to add to their undeniable mystique as being great basketball players who were changing college basketball.

As a group the Fab-Five realized they were more than college basketball players.  During their freshmen year they student-athletes but as sophomores they realized they were professional athletes who were treated as amateurs.

While Rose has the utmost respect for then Michigan head coach Steve Fisher he pointed out he was getting mega-paid while they suffered financially.

Rose pointed out Fisher was making money from his coaching contract, endorsement deals, and radio shows.  But the fans were not coming to watch Fisher coach: They were coming to see five young men usher in a brand of basketball that reflected their up-bringing and Hip-Hop.

The Fab Five witnessed first hand the hypocrisy in 1991 that still exists in 2011.  Student-athletes, particularly the African-American athlete, are being taken advantage of. 

For instance, Nike made tons of dough off selling Fab Five jerseys and shoes.  The coaching staff sported Nike gear as well.  

When Michigan won the National Championship in 1989 the school reportedly grossed just over 1 million.  While the Fab Five was there the figure rose to 10 million.

How can the most important cog on the wheel—while generating a lot of press—were not recipients of some of the revenue they produced?

While they were at the apex of their celebrity at Michigan the Fab-Five were the recipients of a depth of racism that largely went undocumented.  The documentary showcased letters boosters and fans wrote to the coaching staff and the players that were littered with racial slurs.

They were often referred to as “niggers” and uncivilized “coons” wearing “baggy shorts” that listened to ghetto music.

They were characterized miscreants who were menaces to society because they played a brand of basketball that reflected their reality—which by most accounts then and now—is in direct opposition to what a segment of white America embraces.

This phenomenon has long existed before the Fab Five.  Those whites—in the mainstream media and otherwise—who harbor negative sentiment towards African-Americans do so out of a combination of fear and ignorance. 

The media contingent that covered the Fab Five twenty years ago reflects the whiteness that now exists in mainstream media.  Currently 94, 88, 89 of the Sports Editors, Columnists, and Reporters at mainstream newspapers, magazines and online entities are white: Therefore it would not be a stretch to suggest the numbers slightly worse two-decades ago.

Imagine a group of young African-Americans playing a brand of basketball that captured the sports world by storm yet their every move is being chronicled by a vastly white media contingent.  They were labeled in a negative fashion because they were largely misunderstood.  

As mentioned earlier Webber declined to participate in the program. I didn’t concur with his decision but it’s not for me to decide what he does or doesn’t do.  But I am free to speculate.

After Webber bolted to the NBA and investigation was launched into the Michigan program.  Webber lied to a grand jury about taking money from Ed Martin.  Other members of the Fab Five took money but they kept it real and told the truth and Webber didn’t.

Martin helped many urban youths by providing monetary assistance to those who needed whether they were blue-chip athletes or not.

Michigan officials want an apology from Webber but he won’t oblige.  This I totally agree with Webber. 

If I were Webber I would grant Michigan a through apology via press conference on ESPN.  I will call it the “Apology.”

So long as the Michigan administration would cut a check in proportion to the revenue Webber helped to generate and apologize for exploiting him I’d be good with that.

I do think Webber should apologize to Michigan at all: If he hasn’t already he should apologize to his Fab Five brothers and Martin’s family for dragging his name through the mud.

Lastly, I must give ESPN some kudos.  They allowed this production to have a level of realism that is needed.  Networks must allow those who have voices in the sports world to be covered by those who they feel comfortable with.   

We have a long ways to go before we reach a level of diversity in the media that not only allows but embraces varying vantage points. 

The Fab Five documentary was a job well done.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Jim Tressel Keeps His Job at Ohio State, but Should He?

Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel just got smacked with a two-game suspension and a $250,000 fine for not notifying the NCAA that he knew two of his players were under investigation by the FBI. The players in question were also receiving improper benefits for selling property they owned.

In an email sent to Tressel by a lawyer dated April 2, 2010, Tressel was made fully aware of the infractions. Oddly, he opted to plead the fifth and not notify Ohio State officials or the NCAA. That means

Tressel kept the information to himself for nine months.

Tressel did his best to live up to the code of keeping your mouth shut and not ratting anyone out, but the cat is out of the bag now.

All of this over five guys who sold items they owned for a few extra bucks.

Tressel issued the following at his weak press conference yesterday regarding the "E-Gate" scandal, saying, "I take responsibility for what we do at Ohio State tremendously seriously. Obviously I plan to grow from this. I'm sincerely saddened by the fact that I let some people down and that I didn't do some things as well as I could possibly do."

Tressel has a clause in his contract that mandates he reports infractions he's aware of to the proper channels, and failure to do so could result in his termination.

This information should have been reported directly to athletic director Gene Smith, and the ball should have rolled from there. But based on Smith's comments at the press conference, whether Tressel had gone to Smith or not, Tressel's job is safe.

"Wherever we end up, Jim Tressel is our football coach," Smith said. "He is our coach, and we trust him implicitly."

How you can you "trust" a coach who knowingly withheld information?

How can you "trust" a coach who allowed his players to get bashed in the media as he played dumb and remained silent?

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit had no problems blasting Terrelle Pryor and his four teammates for their unacceptable behavior.

After the players were suspended, Herbstreit said, "This is a selfish act by Pryor and the other players."
Herbstreit was vocal about the players being "selfish," but why is Mr. Ohio State silent now?

While the likes of Herbstreit and the rest of the media were busy blistering the five suspended players, Tressel faked amnesia for nine months and allowed his players to be scrutinized because he didn't have the stones to tell the truth.

Despite the vote of confidence from Smith, I believe Tressel should be fired.

The time has come for athletic programs and the NCAA to stop engaging in blatant hypocritical behavior. College coaches who earn millions of dollars continue to incur minor punishments for major infractions compared to the athletes.

Cam Newton has been consistently shellacked by the media for what he did as a freshman at Florida and for his father allegedly brokering a deal with Mississippi State prior to his junior year.

The media created an atmosphere for Dez Bryant to get suspended by the NCAA for the final 10 games of his junior year at Oklahoma State—all because he lied about having a meal with Deion Sanders.

Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green was suspended four games for selling a game jersey he owned for extra cash.

Pryor and four teammates were suspended five games starting next season, yet they were allowed to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl game.

The NCAA must make that loot for the sponsors, right?

Bottom line, Tressel should be fired.

But since the program doesn't have the guts to do the right thing, at least administer a legit suspension and fine.

If the Ohio State players must miss nearly half of next season, then Tressel should be disciplined in a similar fashion, plus forego half his annual salary.

What's good for the goose (players) is good for the gander (coaches), right?

Sadly, it is not about equitable administration of justice.

Tennessee Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl lied to NCAA investigators, was suspended by the SEC for eight games and got his contract reworked.

After Pearl gave a tearful apology at a press conference in early September, it was alleged two weeks ago that he committed more NCAA infractions just four days afterward.

That Pearl is a piece of work, isn't he?

Louisville Cardinals head basketball coach Rick Pitino was in court last year. Pitino was the victim of extortion, yet it was revealed he was having an extramarital affair. His poor personal choices brought shame to the university, but he was not subject to any discipline from Louisville or the NCAA.

Seemingly everywhere current Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari goes trouble follows him.  Facts indicate Calipari has forfeited two Final Fours (1996 and 2007) because of NCAA infractions that transpired on his watch. Still, he continues to coach without truly facing the wrath of the media like the athletes do.

Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun just got hit with a three-game suspension commencing next season for violating NCAA rules.

If the players are penalized harshly and bashed by the media, why aren't the coaches?

Furthermore, is it merely a coincidence the players largely victimized are African-American, and the coaches who escape legit punishments are largely white?

Hey, I'm just making an observation.

At day's end, this isn't about players selling their own property—which is legal in society—or coaches getting off easy.

It's about truly legitimizing the NCAA to properly govern instead of haphazardly enforcing rules that are truly idiotic and favor those in authority.

It's about the NCAA running a mafia-like operation that has cleverly exempted itself from being regulated.
Millionaire coaches—who are supposed to provide leadership and serve as role models for athletes—continually engage in unacceptable behavior, yet the NCAA and athletic programs protect their coaches like referees protect quarterbacks in the NFL.

What's the solution here?

Many of the problems that hamper collegiate athletics rest squarely on the shoulders of the NCAA, their ridiculous rules and blatant hypocrisy. These nameless, faceless people simply hold too much indiscriminate power.

They create legislation that is utterly ridiculous where the athletes—who are the most vital part of the athletic equation—consistently get dumped on.

Pryor and his teammates were suspended for engaging in an activity that is legal in society.  Last time I checked, if someone owns a piece of property, they have a right to sell it. Yet, they are made examples of.
Players like Pryor—who aid in raking in millions of dollars for the institution, the Big Ten and the NCAA—deserve to be paid a stipend over and above what they get in scholarship money.

In short, pay the athletes and some of the senseless, spineless coaches like Tressel won't have to lie, and institutions like Ohio State won't look so foolish.

All of this over a few players who needed a few extra bucks.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ali & Frazier: Was ‘The Fight of the Century’ the Greatest Sporting Event of All-Time?

March 8, 1971 was arguably the most magical evening in sports history.  On this date 40-years ago two undefeated heavyweight champions squared off at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, in what was billed the “Fight of the Century.”

Muhammad Ali entered the fight with a 31-0 record with 25 KO’s while “Smokin” Joe Frazier was 26-0 with 23 KO’s.

Frazier held the belts but Ali was still the peoples’ champion.  Ali was seeking to reclaim that which was stripped by the United States government and the boxing authorities. 

His championship belts.

In 1967 Ali refused to military induction.  His controversial stance led to his forced 42 month exile from boxing.

Despite being rusty from the long layoff Ali won two tune-up fights before climbing into the ring with Frazier: He cut Jerry Quarry to shreds in winning by a TKO in the third round and he knocked out Italian brawler Oscar Bonavena in the final round of their fight.

Ali looked surprisingly sharp against Quarry but he was rather lethargic against Bonavena.

Meanwhile Frazier was a primed and ready fighting machine.  Frazier was methodically dismantling his opponents with his famous Philadelphia left-hook.

Before Ali was stripped of his livelihood he was clearly the best fighter in the world.  He was so great he literally ran out of worthy opponents to fight. 

The competition was so scarce Ali even contemplated fighting 7-foot tall giant Wilt Chamberlain prior to his being stripped of his title.

Leading up to the “Fight of the Century” Ali was in rare from with his mouth: He was blasting Frazier with a ferocious barrage of verbal abuse.  Due to Ali’s sharp tongue and the societal conditions the fight had racial and political undertones.

Ali was a giant figure who was against the Vietnam War; he stood up against the United States government and prevailed.   

Ali labeled himself as the spokesperson for African-Americans.  He portrayed himself as the poster-boy of blackness. 

Ali embraced the Nation of Islam, changed his name, and freely told white America how he felt.  He consistently boated of his beauty while simultaneously declaring Frazier as being “ugly.”

In the African-American community Ali represented those who had no platform or voice.  In short, he was adored by African-Americans and hated by a large segment of white America.

Ali characterized Frazier as an “Uncle Tom” who embraced Christianity who supported the war.  Frazier, though African-American, was adopted by working class whites who wanted him to close Ali’s big mouth.

Frazier often refused to acknowledge Ali’s new name.  He continued to call him Cassius Clay.  The latter infuriated Ali yet Frazier continued to call him out of his name. 

The media portrayed Ali as the loud-mouth Muslim who denounced the war while Frazier was depicted as the God-fearing Christian who represented American values.

Between Ali’s ranting and Frazier’s unwillingness to call Ali by his name created obvious friction between the two fighters thus creating tremendous energy before they would ultimately come to blows.

The stage was set for one of the most anticipated fights spectacles in all of sports.  The crowd was electric and loud.  The crowd was so noisy most at ring side couldn’t hear the introduction of the fighters.

Everybody who was anybody was in attendance.  Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Ted Kennedy, Walt Frazier and Woody Allen were there just to name a few.

Now it was time to brawl.

In the early rounds Ali was on his toes dancing and blistering jabs to Frazier’s forehead along with right-hand leads. 

Frazier kept coming forward as usual by bobbing and weaving his head as he looked to land that lethal left hook.

As the fight got to the middle rounds the fight was fairly even.  Ali—who coined the phrase “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”—was still stinging but his floating had subsided.

Frazier began landing his left hooks to the body and Ali’s right jaw.  Ali fought from the ropes to conserve energy. 

Midway through the 11th round Frazier landed a bodacious left-hook to Ali’s head which sent him reeling against the ropes.  Ali was clearly rubbery-legged but Frazier surprisingly failed to move in for the kill.  He allowed Ali to regain his senses going into the 12th round.

Ali remarkably resumed pummeling Frazier with jabs and right-hand leads in shellacking Frazier for the next two rounds.

Frazier was slightly ahead on all three scorecards entering the 15th round.  In my opinion it was an even fight.  I did not attend the fight-I was not old enough to remember the bout but I own the DVD.  I’ve watched it enough times to formulate a solid opinion.

In any event, as the 15th round started Ali was circling to his left when he nailed Frazier with a left upper-cut.  As they broke from a brief clinch Ali sought to throw a right-hand lead but Frazier landed a left hook that could have knocked down the side of a brick building.

Ali fell only to the canvas only get up within three seconds to finish the round strong.

Frazier won in a unanimous decision.

When the final bell rang the fight exceeded everyone’s expectations. 

Frazier went to the hospital for an extended stay while Ali sported only a swollen right jaw.

After the fight there were rumors Frazier had died because of the severe beating he took from Ali: Both eyes were nearly shut and his forehead was swollen with lumps from Ali’s jabs. 

“The Fight of the Century” reminds me of what boxing use to be and how horrible the game is today.  Boxing is a sport that’s currently in shambles.  Today there are very few great rivalries to speak of let alone great fighters. 

Therefore I easily declare the “Fight of the Century” to be the greatest fight and sporting event of all-time.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Murder in Mississippi: Lynching or Suicide?


President Barack Obama being elected the first African-American President of the United States was viewed as significant forward along racial lines.  President Obama’s rapid ascent towards oval office glory was supposed to signify we’ve officially embarked upon a post-racial society.    

While there may be an element of truth regarding advancements along racial lines we still have a ways to go. 

I was recently forwarded a rather disturbing story written in the Final Call from Coppin State professor Byron Franklin.  The story was about a young African-American man who lost his life in Mississippi.  The authorities ruled the death a suicide but some believe the victim was lynched.  

That’s right, a possible lynching.

I humbly ask, where’s the media coverage?

Dec. 3 the limp body of 26 year-old Frederick Jermaine Carter was found hanging from an oak tree with a noose securely tied around his neck in a predominately white neighborhood in Greenwood, Miss.

According to published reports in the USA Today Carter was in Greenwood working with his step father painting a house.  Apparently the stepfather left Carter at the house to get some tools. 

It’s being alleged Carter wandered off from the home after his step father left to get tools.

Carter, who resided in Sunflower County, reportedly had a history of wandering off as a result of mental illness. 

LeFlore County Sheriff Ricky Banks suggested based on his findings a murder had not been committed due to insufficient evidence at the scene.  Carter stated, “I didn’t see any indication of anybody else being in that area, going from physical evidence and the general tracks.”

Banks went on to suggest Carter likely dragged a nearby table to the base of tree, tied a noose, and proceeded to hang himself.

Mr. Banks stated, “The frame probably broke, possibly because Carter kicked it out from under himself.”

Even though the LeFlore County Coroner’s office ruled the death a suicide Carter’s family and some residents are not buying it.

Some, like the Mayor of Sunflower, Miss. Michael Pemberton, believe Carter’s death was a homicide.  Pemberton stated, “This is 2010 and we still have Black people hanging from trees? They're saying he hung himself but I have doubt in my mind that he actually did that. That wasn't his character. This wasn't a suicide, this was a homicide.”

Attorney and spokesperson for Carter’s family Valarie Hicks-Powe believes a more detailed investigation was needed.  Powe stated, “A crime scene was never established. They never roped the scene off and this has not been treated as a crime. There is no reason to believe that he would commit suicide. We appreciate attention being brought to this because we need an outcry from the people.”

Leflore County Supervisor Preston Ratliff is questioning the reported suicide as well. “I have not made many public statements because I'm still waiting for more information but I do think it is strange that he would hang himself in such a remote area. The mere fact that a Black man is found hanging in a White neighborhood is disturbing based on the history of the Delta.”

The president of the Leflore County branch of the NAACP Willie Perkins stated: "There are a lot of concerns there, No. 1 that this individual could not have (hanged) himself without the assistance of someone, if it's being declared a suicide," Perkins stated: "Why would someone from Sunflower County come to North Greenwood, the predominantly white housing area of Greenwood?  Why would someone that far away come and hang themselves in North Greenwood by a river? That does not pass the smell test to me."

Even though we’ve embarked upon a new year there are still many more questions than answers regarding Carter’s death.

Frankly speaking, it is not an everyday occurrence to find an African-American with a noose around his neck these days is it?

Where is the national television commentary?

Where is the mainstream newspaper coverage?

Why hasn’t President Obama or Eric Holder got involved?

Where is the radio commentary on satellite radio and NPR?

Where is Rev. Al Sharpton? 

Perhaps this incident doesn’t pay as well as marching against Senate Bill 1070 in Arizona.

During the 1950’s it was routine for whites to lynch African-Americans, particularly in Mississippi.  Arguably the most heinous of them all was the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955.

Till was a 14-year old boy from Chicago.  He was visiting his family who lived near the Mississippi Delta. 

Till found himself in a world far different than the world up north: Racism and segregation was the law of the land in Mississippi and there no exceptions.

Till arrived in Jackson, Mississippi August 21, 1955 a handsome youngster but sadly he would not return to Chicago in the same capacity.

Till was accused of whistling at a 21-year old white lady named Carolyn Bryant.  The word spread quickly around town about Till’s alleged actions.  One of the first to hear about it was Bryant’s husband Roy.

Several days later Roy Bryant and JW Milam broke into Tills’ uncles’ house in the middle of the night.  Till was taken from the home and placed in back of a truck and beaten. 

The thugs drove Till to a barn where he was beaten to a pulp.  To make certain of their work the racists gauged out Tills’ right eye before they shot him to death.

Till’s body was loaded back into the bed of the truck.  Bryant and Milam tied a 70-pound cotton-gin around his neck with barbed wire and dumped him in Tallahatchie River. 

Till was found three day later.

We have an African-American in the White House yet simultaneously there may have been a lynching in a state that storied history of hate:  How can this story fly so far below the radar?

Is it a coincidence Carter’s murder took place just 10 minutes away from where Till was murdered?

Why would an African-American wonder off to a predominately white neighborhood and commit suicide?

As Perkins stated earlier this story “does not pass the smell test.”

The time has come for people to wake up.  Many have been lulled to sleep embracing the notion America has progressed so much with respect to race relations. 

Sorry, but we are from a post-racial society.

Let’s look beyond Carter’s death and look at the bigger picture.  Ever since President Obama was elected President there have been some pretty high-profile race-based situations. 

Esteemed scholar Henry Louis Gates was treated unjustly by police as he was attempting to enter is own home Cambridge, Mass only to be arrested for disorderly conduct.  There was weeks of media coverage but no concrete results occurred from the situation.

President Obama promised us a “teachable moment” but it never came to fruition.

Shirley Sherrod was unfairly portrayed as a racist by a conservative Andrew Breitbart.  There was a rush to judgment in the media.  As a result Sherrod was fired from her position at the Department of Agriculture. 

Even the NAACP publicly denounced Sherrod only to retract their statements. 

CNN aired a special on Sherrod which showed she was a champion for justice and not a racist. 

Again, where’s the “teachable moment.”

A segment of white America has voiced their disenchantment with current state of this country.  Conservatives like Glenn Beck suggest they want to “restore America” to the days of old and place the power back where it belongs.

Groups like the Tea Party have spewed similar rhetoric; some of which is out-right racist. 

In March Tea Party members spat on Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)  Civil Rights giant John Lewis (D-Ga.) was called a 'ni--er.' and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot."

What does this have to do with the death of Frederick Jermaine Carter?

It means conservatives like Glenn Beck and groups like the Tea Party are creating a climate of hate for more potential violence to occur. 

It is quite possible the notion of “restoring America” means restoring times to the days of old in Mississippi and otherwise?

Slice the pie as you choose but an African-American hanging from a tree in Mississippi is a big deal.

So, I humbly ask again, where is the media coverage? 

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