Nothing Special, Really

Friday, September 19, 2008

Being Un-American

Josh Howard is an idiot. Let's start with that.

If you don't know who Josh Howard is, here's a summary:

1. He plays in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks
2. He's a pretty good player, even making the All-Star team a couple of years ago.
3. He's not worth much in fantasy basketball because doesn't do anything great statistically other than score points.
4. He made headlines earlier this summer when he admitted that he smokes pot during the offseason.

That last statement makes him an idiot. Not because he smokes pot, but admitting to it to a journalist as a public figure. There was some backlash for a while, but for the most part, it's been brushed under the rug. What also makes him an idiot is, despite the public outcry from that, he was stupid enough to go and do this.

The video was taken on a cell phone camera at some charity event sponsored by Allen Iverson, another NBA player. Howard hasn't come out and made any sort of public statement now that this has become such a controversy, so who knows what his intent was. Perhaps behind that was some sort of social commentary about how the National Anthem was written during a time when slavery was prominent, and authored by someone who lived on a plantation and related to someone who authored the Dred Scott decision (stolen from Wikipedia, I didn't know that either). Perhaps the intent was to communicate that patriotism amongst the black community is much different than patriotism from the white community given that many of the common symbols of patriotism are much more prominent within white culture than black culture (although it could be interpreted to mean many different things, I can't imagine very many blacks connecting to a "patriotic" song like Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The U.S.A.").

But Josh Howard didn't say any of those things. What he said was anything but eloquent. What he said came across as ignorant and disrespectful, and can easily be interpreted as Josh Howard not being proud of being an American.

And you know what? If that's the case, that's fine. Of course, until he makes a statement, we'll never know what his true intent was (and even then, it'll probably be a statement doctored by some PR agency to put this whole thing to rest, so maybe we'll never know what his intent was). But if that's how Josh Howard feels, then so be it. We have the right to believe what he says was ignorant and misinformed, but he, as an American, has the right to say what he said.

Some of you reading this probably didn't even know who he was until now. In fact, I'd venture to say that a very large portion of people who were offended by his comments didn't know who he was either. Many people probably saw some clip of the video on SportsCenter or some other show, and immediately got offended by a rich, black athlete making an unpatriotic statement about THEIR country. They then maybe read comments from Mark Cuban, the Mavericks owner, regarding how the issue was being handled by the organization & felt unsatisfied with the resolution. Some of them even took to Cuban's blog and made their thoughts known, just as Josh Howard did at some small charity event back in July.

And in a brilliant move, Cuban organized many of those comments, which were posted with email addresses and names, and centralized them into a blog post which you can find here.

Perhaps you'll disagree with me, but personally, I'm much more offended by the majority of comments on Cuban's blog than I am about Howard's statement. I believe that what Josh Howard said was just plain retarded, and while there may be a different intent behind his comments, on face value, his remarks were out of line. But I'm not offended by them. What I am offended by are Americans, in this day and age, still referring to someone like Josh Howard as a "coon" or a "nigger". Or the opinion that "him and Hussein Obama can go to another country and live if they don’t want to support our symbol of freedom." Or "If you allow a hate of America play for your team, you also Hate AMERICA. GET OUT OF HERE!!!!" Or, maybe my personal favorite:

"Fire that ass hole this is America send him to Iraq No wonder kids act the way they do this is there role model they have no clue what we have been through in our history and how we became this country we all have faults but this is not the 60`s if it was he would of been hanged. I suppose that he thinks all the fireman, police and innocent citizens in 911 should of died also only in America could this happen and thats the point he does not get."

I respect that all of these people, as citizens of this country that they may or may not support in the historically approved methods that the majority support (i.e. National Anthem, American Flag, etc.) have the right to speak their opinion. But I consider using racial epithets, suggestions of deportation, or the ideology that criticism of America is equal to hatred of America and therefore makes a person not worthy of living in their own country MUCH MORE UN-AMERICAN than the voice of one person, whose opinion shouldn't mean anything to anyone anyways, making an ignorant comment about the National Anthem.

That's all I can say right now. Today is the first day that I was actually up before 8:30am, and I don't want to waste my morning spewing on a blog post how sick and tired I am of what has become a narrow definition of what being "patriotic" or "a good American" is. I'll save that for another post. Instead, I want to leave you on a lighter note.

In what was either a pure stroke of genius on ESPN's part or just completely unintentional comedy, Bob Ley of ESPN conducted a short interview with the person who recorded Josh Howard's comments on his phone. For one of the most incoherent interviews ever, complete with unrelated answers to questions, horrible attempts at spinning the interview another direction, and misguided rambling, click here.

2 Comments:

  • jeudI'm glad you are becoming so interested in politics and peoples attitudes. I can't and wouldn't try to tell you how to vote, that is a decision only you can make. As far a being patriotic is concerned, to me it's a personal thing like religon. When I think about my country, I think about all the people who are trying to come here as opposed to those that are trying to leave. I have been in other countries, where the people are not allowed to express their opinion (right or wrong), without fear of reprisal. Here, if you have an opinion and some one does not agree they and you are free to discuss it and free to disagree. I love my country and I think it's the best one on earth, where anyone caanbe whatever they have the talent and the will to be. Now, as far as the upcoming election, again your choice, there is some truth in what each candidate say and some stretching of the truth. Both candidates promise change, one candidate picks, as a vp, one of the same old politicians that have been screwing the people for years, and one picks someone who has actually changed things. Throught out our country's history there has only been one individual who "was qualified" to be President- Franklin D Roosevelt, in his 3rd term. There are only 2 things that will change the country. One is(and it will never happen), term limits for Congress and the 2nd is line item veto power for the President, this could happen. Think about it, our founding fathers envisioned a person going to Congress for a few years and then going home, not staying their whole life. It's time we got back to the real intent of the framers of the constitution. I do believe that all men are created equal and the choices they make is whar makes them different, not their religon or the color of their skin. Love ya Matt, get a job.

    By Anonymous msc, At September 19, 2008 at 8:27 PM  

  • I also love it when people are like "if you hate America so much, get out of this country." It's funny because the people who make statements are idiots... because by saying that, they are going against the very grain of what America stands for. Freedom to express your own opinion. But people are generally stupid. So I guess it is what it is.

    By Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage, At September 22, 2008 at 10:42 AM  

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