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Old Mon Nov 22, 2004, 05:00pm
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Question

Below is an article written by a KC sports columnist. I thought it was interesting reading on Stern & the NBA players. I don't know if I agree with it, but I wondered what some of our officials thought about it.

"Black players in particular should heed Stern warning"

by JASON WHITLOCK

NBA commissioner David Stern sent a message to his players Sunday.

By issuing three of the harshest penalties in league history — a 73-game suspension of Ron Artest, 30 games for Stephen Jackson and 25 games for Jermaine O'Neal — Stern let his players know that the league will aggressively try to clean up its image problem.

For their role in Friday's ugly brawl at Detroit, the Pacers, favorites to represent the East in the NBA finals, received the death penalty. Indiana's season is over. O'Neal, Artest, both All-Stars, and Jackson are Indiana's three best players.

Stern had no choice. TV ratings for the league have been steadily falling since Michael Jordan's heyday. The league's image has been in decline since Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Jordan ruled.

Allen Iverson, Latrell Sprewell, Kobe Bryant, Dream Team failures, an embrace of all the negative aspects of the hip-hop culture and a horrid style of play have conspired to make the NBA easy to ignore. By decimating the Pacers and publicly acknowledging that there has been a lowering of expectations in terms of player (and fan) behavior, Stern made it clear he's not in denial about the NBA's troubles.

I am, however, concerned that the league's players will remain in denial. Surrounded by groupies and yes-men, fortified by multimillion-dollar contracts and endorsement deals, it will be easy for NBA players to misinterpret Stern's warning.

In this column, I am calling on my peers in the media to level with NBA players (and all professional athletes) and tell them what's really going on.

American sports fans, particularly those who consistently shell out the hundreds of dollars it takes to attend a professional game, are fed up with black professional basketball players in particular and black professional athletes to a lesser degree.

Yeah, let's cut through all the garbage and get to the real issue. The people paying the bills don't like the product, don't like the attitude, don't like the showboating and don't like the flamboyance. The NBA, which relies heavily on African-American players, is at the forefront of fan backlash. Stern realizes this, and that's why, spurred on by the Detroit brawl, he is reacting decisively.

What the players must come to grips with is that just because race is an element in the backlash, that doesn't mean the backlash is fueled by racism.

We're witnessing a clash of cultures. A predominately white fan base is rejecting a predominately black style of play and sportsmanship.

Who is on the right side of this argument? The group that is always right in a capitalistic society. The customer. That's why Stern, endorsed by his owners, came down hard on the players. He stated that the NBA would take steps to ensure that its fans improved their behavior. But Stern knows the real solutions are in the hands of his players. A good businessman caters to his audience. They don't play country music at my dad's inner-city bar for a reason.

Stern's players must bow to the desires of their fan base.

In general, African-American athletes have always been — for lack of a better description — more expressive and flamboyant on the field of play. Go back to the Negro Leagues — showboating was part of the entertainment package. The Negro Leagues catered to a predominately black fan base.

We, black people, begged for integration. We demanded the right to play in the major leagues, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL. These leagues accommodate a white audience. As long as the customer base is white, the standard for appropriate sportsmanship, style of play and appearance should be set by white people.

This is fair, particularly when the athletes/employees earn millions of dollars and have the freedom to do whatever — and I mean whatever — they want when they're not playing or practicing.

If African-American players are unwilling to accept this reality, NBA owners will speed up the internationalization of their team's rosters. Many African-American players with NBA-quality skill will soon find themselves circling the country playing basketball with Hot Sauce and the And 1 Tour while Yao Nowitzki collects a $10 million NBA check.

The black players will have no one to blame but themselves.
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Old Mon Nov 22, 2004, 05:22pm
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Bullsh!t, total bullsh!t!

This had nothing to do with Hip-Hop Culture or music. This had nothing to do with Black players vs. a white audience. This was about alcohol and fans trying to interject themselves onto that playing surface.

I remember a few fights that happen in hockey games long before this incident on Friday, and I did not hear anything about Hip Hop Culture. There is nothing but white players and fans at Hockey games, I not sure rock and roll had anything to do with that incident. Nor did anyone even attempt to suggest that craziness.

I think there are a lot of things in this society that affects the way people act. We are in a war right now where we constantly hear both death and destruction. We can see beheadings on the internet and other types of torture if you know how to search for it. We have a society that advocates drinking as a hobby at these very sporting events. The last time I checked I did not know they sold Old E at an NBA game. But they do sell Bud and Miller left and right and we even have commercials that make light of the beer choices and other societal situations (women and sex for example). And this clown boiled all this down to Hip Hop?

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Old Mon Nov 22, 2004, 08:11pm
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Good grief! I actually agree with Rut (I can't believe I'm saying this )

I don't think the color of the players had anything to do with this incident. I think it was a result of some drunk fans and some players who forgot they don't get paid for playing basketball, but get paid because people are willing to pay to watch them play basketball.

There's enough blame to go around on the part of the fans and the players, but the players should have just left the arena when the sh!t hit the fan (pun intended).

I don't pay any attention to the Blazers because of their off-court behavior (or lack thereof). As a fan who is being asked to spend my disposable income to support them, I have the preogative to not spend money on them for any reason I choose, including their attitude toward my community.

Professional athletes are in the entertainment business. If they want people to spend their entertainment dollars on them instead of going to the theatre, etc., then they have to show gratitude and treat their customers (because that's what we are) with respect or else we'll stop paying their salaries.

Whew - I'll go back to watching Spongebob now.
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Old Mon Nov 22, 2004, 10:00pm
SF SF is offline
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I live in Kansas City, and just about everything that idiot writes is garbage. He tries to tie race in to everything, and constantly takes a point of view that makes you go "What?" Just disregard him. That's what I do.
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Old Mon Nov 22, 2004, 10:49pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by SF
I live in Kansas City, and just about everything that idiot writes is garbage. He tries to tie race in to everything, and constantly takes a point of view that makes you go "What?" Just disregard him. That's what I do.
I do not have a problem with him tying an article to race. I think what happen has as much to do with the culture of fans and sports radio that look at athletes as owing them something because they make money. The NBA and any other sports leagues make money because the public is willing to pay money for jerseys, other merchandising and ticket prices. And this culture supports a lot of drinking and adolescent behavior that would not be tolerated in any other part of society. I do not know that if these players were white they would not have done similar things in a hostile crowd.

Peace
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Old Mon Nov 22, 2004, 11:17pm
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and this was written by a Black man

Whether you agree or disagree with the writer's expressed views. I believe that it should also be noted for those on this forum who may not be aware that Jason Whitlock is Black.
Just pure information. Nothing else is intended by my stating that fact.
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 12:44am
SF SF is offline
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Rut -

I should clarify what I said. I didn't mean to say that he shouldn't mention race in a newspaper article. I was simply saying that he tends to make many things into a racial issue, and I don't agree with him. Not everything in the world is white vs. black, and to define everything that way, as he has a history of doing, is narrow-minded. And I agree with you that as far as this incident goes, it didn't matter if the fans were black instead of white or the players white instead of black.
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 01:14am
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Re: and this was written by a Black man

Quote:
Originally posted by Nevadaref
Whether you agree or disagree with the writer's expressed views. I believe that it should also be noted for those on this forum who may not be aware that Jason Whitlock is Black.
Just pure information. Nothing else is intended by my stating that fact.
I already knew that. His race does not make what he says any less right. He has been on ESPN Sports Reporters for years and usually he says some strange things on that program if you ask me.

Quote:
Originally posted by SF
I should clarify what I said. I didn't mean to say that he shouldn't mention race in a newspaper article. I was simply saying that he tends to make many things into a racial issue, and I don't agree with him. Not everything in the world is white vs. black, and to define everything that way, as he has a history of doing, is narrow-minded.
Well I cannot address previous articles I have never read. But I will say this. To many Black people in this country, many things do divide along those lines. Maybe you do not have to face it, but many do. At it is not narrow minded to point those things out. I know race plays apart in many situations I am in, I just do not tell everyone what I am thinking when it comes to those. Or better yet, the mostly white people that I come in contact with.

Quote:
Originally posted by SF
And I agree with you that as far as this incident goes, it didn't matter if the fans were black instead of white or the players white instead of black.
That is not what I said. I said that this issue has nothing to do with the Hip Hop Generation and why the fight came about. I did not say there could have not been issues related to race for the reasoning for the fight. I do not know I was not there. But there are many that feel the attitudes toward athletes have many times a racial undertone to it and the way the criticism are given out. I know it shows up at the HS and college level. I hear comments from the stand and see the attitude people take towards players that are not on their team or from their communities. But again, that is not what I was saying. This would have happen regardless of what race someone was if they threw a bottle of beer.

Peace
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 10:04am
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Unhappy

I will agree with Rut...this has nothing to do with race. What it has to do with is a total lack of personal responsibility in our society today. Millionar players like Artest feel that they can do anything and get away with it because of thier star power. Joe Blow in the stands feels that he paid the price for the ticket so he should be able to do whatever he wants. I truly hope that they identify, arrest and convict each of the fans that participated. I also hope that Artest is sued by everyone he hit for millions of dollars. At least he has his rap career to fall back on.
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 11:00am
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I tend to agree

I tend to agree with the author although I don't believe this is a race issue.

I do believe that in some way the Hip-Hop culture is at the crux of the problem here. When looking at the entire picture, you simply cannot blame it all on beer. Drinking has been a part of the sports scene for a long time and yes, there have been incidents involving drunken fans, but this is just not about drunken fans, and I think if the NBA soley focuses on that one thing, they miss the larger picture. Who do they want to sell their product to?

Let me say that I do not believe there is anything wrong with Rap music, but there is a dark side to that venue. That being the ganster rap. It is this element that I have seen creep into the all sports but the NBA moreso.

Trust me, it will not be long before an NBA player is gunned down. I hate to say it, but the culture of this ganster rap is at the forefront. The younger guys live this stuff and I believe it carries over, and we all know that it carries over with the fans. The fan that came down on the court and faced Artest was not pointing his finger to catch the breeze.

Don't get me wrong here. This is not a condemnation of Rap in general but merely an observation of a type of rap, noteably ganster rap.

Of course there are other issues at play here like drinking, but the culture in the NBA is far different than any other sport. It is my belief from what I've seen over the years, that there is a negative element that has entered the NBA and part of it can be traced to their embracing of ganster rap scene.

Race IMO is not the problem. The Celtics started 5 black guys way back in the early 60's and the league has been 80 percent black since the 70's, so one can hardly blame it on race. Fans too have always sat close at NBA games, so it is not that either. Fans have always been verbally abusive, and you can go back and see there have been incidents of players and fans for years and years. Sir Charles flung a notable luggie at a fan, and "Cornbread" Maxwell for the Celtics went after a fan in the 80's too.

I think the NBA needs to take a hard look at itself and possibly examine exactly who they want to sleep with. They are trying to market and sell a product. If they want to sell it mainly to the rap industry, more power to them, but don't come around and blame race, drinking, etc. for your problems when the very audience you wish to market to, revels in ganster type behavior, where disrespect, fighting, and killing is a way of life.

just another 2 cents, not fifty cent!

goose

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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 11:34am
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While listening to talk radio this morning on the way to work (San Diego area) they were still talking about this incident and the ramifications that are coming out of it. The host was trying to lay blame on the officials and why they didn't stop/prevent this from happening. Now, I don't watch NBA games so I can't comment on how the officials were managing the game.

I guess we'll see how this twist plays out.
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 12:12pm
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I have to agree with SF. I used to live in KC and listen to Whitlock in the morning on the sports radio station. Everything he talks about he boils down to race. I actually couldn't believe he got a column on ESPN.com a couple of years ago. Sportsmanship has no color.
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 12:41pm
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Angry WOW!

Quote:
Originally posted by Goose
I tend to agree with the author although I don't believe this is a race issue.

I do believe that in some way the Hip-Hop culture is at the crux of the problem here. When looking at the entire picture, you simply cannot blame it all on beer. Drinking has been a part of the sports scene for a long time and yes, there have been incidents involving drunken fans, but this is just not about drunken fans, and I think if the NBA soley focuses on that one thing, they miss the larger picture. Who do they want to sell their product to?

Let me say that I do not believe there is anything wrong with Rap music, but there is a dark side to that venue. That being the ganster rap. It is this element that I have seen creep into the all sports but the NBA moreso.

Trust me, it will not be long before an NBA player is gunned down. I hate to say it, but the culture of this ganster rap is at the forefront. The younger guys live this stuff and I believe it carries over, and we all know that it carries over with the fans. The fan that came down on the court and faced Artest was not pointing his finger to catch the breeze.

Don't get me wrong here. This is not a condemnation of Rap in general but merely an observation of a type of rap, noteably ganster rap.

Of course there are other issues at play here like drinking, but the culture in the NBA is far different than any other sport. It is my belief from what I've seen over the years, that there is a negative element that has entered the NBA and part of it can be traced to their embracing of ganster rap scene.

Race IMO is not the problem. The Celtics started 5 black guys way back in the early 60's and the league has been 80 percent black since the 70's, so one can hardly blame it on race. Fans too have always sat close at NBA games, so it is not that either. Fans have always been verbally abusive, and you can go back and see there have been incidents of players and fans for years and years. Sir Charles flung a notable luggie at a fan, and "Cornbread" Maxwell for the Celtics went after a fan in the 80's too.

I think the NBA needs to take a hard look at itself and possibly examine exactly who they want to sleep with. They are trying to market and sell a product. If they want to sell it mainly to the rap industry, more power to them, but don't come around and blame race, drinking, etc. for your problems when the very audience you wish to market to, revels in ganster type behavior, where disrespect, fighting, and killing is a way of life.

just another 2 cents, not fifty cent!

goose

This has to be one of the dumbest posts I have ever read. A NBA star is going to be gunned down because of rap music?

Wow, you watch way too much TV. Why not blame it on video games? Why not blame it on parents that do not teach values? Why not blame it on the coaches that allow these kids to do anything they like and they learn no skills of how to cope later in life with adversity. Rap music?
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 01:00pm
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I think it all boils down to to things a lack of class and a sense of entitlement. The drunk fans in the stands didn't have enough class to keep their fannies in their seats, no, they had to throw their beer and come out on the court showing no class. They have not been taught or shown by example that this isn't the way that you deal with things. Why did they do this? Because they paid $80/ticket to come and they feel like it is their right to be this way and their lack of class doesn't stop them.

The same class argument can be applied to the players. Many (certainly not all) NBA players don't have much class. Sure, many of them are millionaires but money doesn't equal class. Many NBA players grew up in the projects with little or no role models who taught them how to treat others with dignity and respect. Their only role models were other thugs and drug dealers and we all know what they taught them. Once the NBA star comes emerges, they have "made it" they are now the juice and they can act with impunity because they are millionaires and they are justified with just about any action, including clubbing fans at games.

Now when these low-class groups get together, add alcohol, competition, wrap music, loud speaker systems, yelling, screaming, and a sense of entitlement by both groups....POW....we wonder why this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.

As officials we are in the cross-hairs. Game management, anger management, and situation management become supremely important as the overall society's class degrades. All we can do is work on our games and be vigilent in dealing with the little parts of officiating so that things don't blow sky high.
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Old Tue Nov 23, 2004, 01:43pm
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Here we go again!

This is just silly. Should we take Run DMC to court? Or the Sugar Hill Gang? I guess if we believe the cop out in America there was a lot less violence before the pioneers of rap forced their culture on us! Like it or not kids listen to rap and kids grow up to be adults. I have no intention of turning my life over to the "Hip Hop culture" but every once in a while a song comes out and I want to shake my a$$. It is even more ridiculous to single out "gansta rap." Let's look at the "gansta" rappers. Eazy-E is dead, Dre was the one who discoverd Eminem, Ice Cube is making movies (funny movies too) and Snoop has a video where he is clicking his tongue and dancing. Oh yeah, they are really pushing that "gansta rap." When a phsycho does something like shoot up a school they don't bring rock or alternative music to the forefront but every time something happens and the person is black let's blame it on Hip Hop. Come on people, we can't be so naive.
I think Artest is a lunatic/smart/gifted athlete. The gifted athlete part is self explanatory but the lunatic part runs in his family. His brother played JUCO in Vegas (when his grades were right) and he too was a player you had to watch at all times. He was the same he just couldn't play basketball as good. As far as being smart, think about it. You go after someone who didn't do anything and is small, past the person who did something who is a little bigger after someone bigger than you just gave you two hands to the neck and face? He is smart enough that he didn't go after big Ben! That is who I would want a piece of.
IMO our society has taken a turn for the worst with the invent of parenting books/experts, time-outs and the like. These kids are growing up now and they aren't scared of anything. They will do anything because they were given a time-out instead of a good leather belt. Sure child abuse occurred with whippings but it happens now too. That might not be the answer to all of our problems but I don't think it will hurt!

Don't blame a genre of music on all the ills of the world. Please open your eyes and see there are other things going on in our country and with Americans in other countries that are based on far worst things than a Fifty-Cent "song." Plus, you know "Up in da club" was hot.

I had to edit. Goose, that post is a G E M. What are you thinking about? You need a reality check

[Edited by tomegun on Nov 23rd, 2004 at 01:47 PM]
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