Guilty Is The New Black

So I was going to write about the need to protect the black athlete, but I think there’s a bigger problem that has surfaced.


A 55-year-old man and a 19-year-old kid. Guess who was expected to be the bigger man?

By now you’re probably aware of the Marcus Smart incident. The emotional, Oklahoma State guard was suspended for shoving Texas Tech “super fan” Jeff Orr.

There was a lot about this situation that didn’t sit well with me starting with the initial reactions. The sentiment shared by me and my predominately black Twitter timeline was “that guy must have called him the magic word or at least alluded to it.” A few of the commentators and analyst on ESPN all but called for his head as they wondered why he wasn’t automatically ejected from the game. They said his actions were inexcusable and basically there isn’t  room for that in college basketball. While I don’t agree with using violence as a method to solve problems, I do feel like it does matter what was said. Buying a ticket doesn’t give you the right to hurl racial slurs at 18, 19, 20-year-old players. So problem number one: There’s is an overall lack of empathy and concern for the 19-year-old black kid.

The following day, there were several interviews  in regards to the incident. Smart issued an apology and accepted his three-game suspension, which will ironically end on Feb. 22, when Ok State plays Texas Tech again. Orr denied using any racial slurs, but admitted to calling Smart “a piece of crap,” and he voluntarily banned himself from Texas Tech games for the rest of this season. Head coach Travis Ford and athletic director Mike Holder said Smart made a mistake and this incident will be a learning experience for him. Holder went on to say something to the extent of athletes can’t let external factors distract them from playing the game. Now we don’t know exactly what was said, though it was reported Saturday night that Orr said “go back to Africa.” There was no further investigation on the matter on Orr’s end Oklahoma State decided not to appeal Smart’s suspension. Problems number two and three: The 55-year-old white antagonist’s story was taken at face value and Smart was told to basically to accept everything, racial slurs included, in stride and that this was still his fault.


That fact that they’re still deliberating is making me nervous.

The sports world is now acting as a microcosm on how society views black men in general. Trash-talking, defensive black athletes are seen as thugs and bad for the game, while their white counterparts are seen as fiery competitors. There are very few instances where the black man is the victim and this attitude is becoming more prevalent in society. As we saw in the Trayvon Martin case, he was basically put on trial for his own death and found guilty. The most recent incident is the Jordan Davis case, where Michael Dunn basically shot up a car full of teens and killed one because he was upset their music was too loud. The case seemed pretty open and shut from the beginning and yet the jury is on day three of deliberation. The questions they’re asking lead me to believe that they’re trying to make 100 percent sure the black kid wasn’t at fault, despite the three living witnesses and inconsistencies in Dunn’s story. Oscar Grant, Troy Davis, the list goes on of black men killed with little to no consequences or sympathy from the general public.

I write this wearily, but hopeful that the aforementioned incidents will, as Holder put it, serve as a teaching moment. Not just for those involved, but for everyone on the outside looking in. My hope is that we continue to challenge society’s perception and fight for justice so that our black men are no longer painted as villains while being victimized.

And that’s just how I’m feelin…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dexter Johnson
    Feb 15, 2014 @ 11:32:23

    Well put.


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