Musings from the Snow Belt

NBA commissioner David Stern dropped the hammer on Gilbert Arenas (center) and Javaris Crittenton for their half-cocked behavior.

This week has provided too many topics to dedicate a pontificating opus to just one. So, here’re a few thoughts on the week that was:

STERN MESSAGE: Outside of gang-bangers and far-right fundamentalists, the best example for the need to outlaw handguns and assault weapons in the U.S. is the NBA. A decade of firearm embarrassments for the league came to a preposterous conclusion last month, when Washington’s Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton nearly went Doc Holiday-Johnny Ringo over a gambling debt.

This week, NBA commissioner David Stern suspended the amateur quick-draw artists for the rest of the season. My opinion of Stern historically has hovered somewhere between Dick Cheney and cockroaches, especially since his imposed sentences following the Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004 destroyed Reggie Miller’s final year. This time Stern got it right.

A sizable portion of the NBA is a testament to some of the failings of our society and struggles within African American culture. The ludicrous War on Drugs has helped put 1 in 20 black men in prison, which coupled with a deficiency of male accountability, has contributed to the erosion of family structure. Fatherless hoops stars are often handed grades in high school and disciplinary issues are buried as they’re coddled by coaches and AAU parasites. By the time they enter the NBA — now after a mandated year of continued pampering in college — many are unprepared for adulthood and responsibility, and outside of parenthood, few responsibilities are greater than gun ownership. Throw in the patented athletes’ aura of invincibility, and a fear of robbery of the thousands of dollars in jewelry the average player wears, and you have a hazardous mix.

Stern’s suspensions without pay have set a new standard. It is now up to the NBA Player’s Association to hammer the point home, and perhaps one day we can truly combat what ills the black community.

A LETTER TO THE NEW YORK POST: Public Enemy once lyrically defined the New York Post as “America’s oldest continuously published daily piece of bulls–t.” I had to agree with that assessment a day after the Indianapolis Colts sent the over-hyped Jets, blowhard coach Rex Ryan and their Neanderthal fan base home for the season.

Despite the Jets’ early 17-6 lead in the second quarter of Sunday’s AFC title game, the Colts’ crowd was unrelenting and never took a play off. I know this because I was there, and had the sore throat and accompanying full-body fatigue to prove it. I was not shielded in a box high above the field, completely sequestered from the atmosphere by thick glass like Post columnist Mike Vaccaro, who wrote about the first half:

“(The Jets) turned Lucas Oil Stadium into a morgue save for the pockets of grandstand where you could hear Jets fans chanting.”

This did not happen, but Vaccaro felt it necessary to lie for the folks at home, who if they possess the general loathsome demeanor of the Jets’ caravan of muttonheads, can’t read anyway. With the existence of Fox News, I’m used to agenda-based deception, but Vaccaro’s was nothing more than pointless placation to the most self-congratulatory sports city in America.

THE REAL STATE OF THE UNION: President Barack Obama’s task was multidimensional Wednesday night, as he tried to reach all elements inside the militant fringes of our society. While he might’ve succeeded in mildly reenergizing his increasingly disaffected base, most of his words bounced off the impenetrable forcefield of distrust and dislike surrounding his antagonists.

Naturally, the president’s address was praised on CNN and MSNBC and was target practice for Fox. I didn’t need Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda network and its journalistic impersonators to tell me the vibe from the right was cold. Long before Obama concluded, my Facebook home page lit up with conservative friends’ proclamations of petulance.

Misguided as it may be, I understand their rage. I felt the same way during the long, dubious reign of Darth Bush the Blunderer. Those days are over, and even though I’m one of Obama’s disappointed supporters through Year 1, a mess the size of the exploded Death Star takes a long time to clean up. Still, it is time to produce in Year 2.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?: Around 200,000 could be dead in Haiti, but incredible stories of survival have been abundant. On Wednesday, Darlene Etienne, a 16-year old in Port au Prince, was rescued from under a crumbled building 15 days after a 7.0 earthquake devastated the country. Darlene apparently survived on a small supply of Coca-Cola.

With searches officially called off, sadly, Darlene’s will likely be the last miracle we’ll see.


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