Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 at 11:30 am  |  46 responses

Al Sharpton Injects Race Into Arenas Mess

It’s what he does best. Sigh: “Sharpton, who spoke with Stern by phone Monday and hopes to meet with him later this week, was not in a laughing mood. ‘The NBA needs to stand up and send a strong message by dealing with this situation,’ Sharpton told the Daily News. He also chided black leadership groups for not speaking out about the ‘culture of violence being perpetuated in professional sports.’ Sharpton cited former Giant Plaxico Burress as an example of professional athletes run amok … Sharpton believes the reaction over reports that Arenas allegedly drew a gun on teammate Javaris Crittenton on Dec. 21 has been tempered because the players involved are black. ‘If it had been a white player pointing a gun at a black player, there would have been much more of an uproar,’ he said. ‘It’s almost as if people are saying, ‘Well, we don’t expect anything better from our black athletes.’ Sharpton also scolded White House security in an attempt at humor. ‘This all happened in the Verizon Center?’ Sharpton said. ‘This is the same place where the Obamas watched a Wizards game (on Feb. 27, 2009). You telling me that he had guns in the locker room when Obama went to the game?”‘

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  • Thype

    Damn, Al, you have hundreds of situations centered around racial inequality and this is the one you choose to fight? Guns in a locker room, really?

    Way to invalidate your message.

    Guess I’m not surprised.

  • NAS

    he is right; good job al; btw is their twitter in jail?

  • JMoney

    Sharpton is a JOKE. Why does he think he represents the majority of black people. HE DEFINITELy doesn’t represent me.

  • http://www.twofistedpress.com Pve84

    I don’t think Sharpton represents any significant portion of Black people, let alone intelligent and self-respecting Black people, but unfortunately some parts of the media portay him as such.

  • http://slamonline.com NUPE

    Sharpton brings a perspective shared by many – not all. Stern is going to have to weigh and evaluate a lot of various perspectives from multiple people/sources prior to making a decision. The most ‘interesting’ thing that he brought up was the security issue where a gun was in the lockerroom when the president was there.

  • http://www.boogiewillaims.com Boing Dynasty

    OOOOOOOOR, maybe its not that surprising that a player pulled a gun in the locker room when there was aleady a story in the paper a week earlier that said player was keeping a bunch of guns in his locker…

  • riggs

    and if it had been an islamic player running around with fake sticks of dynamite, he wouldve been shot dead by now. two can play that game al.

  • Dave

    Sharpton, this was one of your better moves.

  • James aka…

    I don’t see how he’s making it a racial issue at all, he’s calling for the situation to be treated seriously. If had said something like Arenas was getting too much flack because he was black, that would have been an outrageous statement. ARguing though that he should be punished severely is hardly a controversial statement to be made, its the general consensus. And he may be right that there would have even been more heat if there had been a white guy pointing a gun at a black guy, though thats debatable in my opinion. I don’t think the other commenters here even read what was posted above.

  • Seven Duece

    I get what he’s saying, “Hold the individual accountable, instead of making justifications for the action.” Because it’s Al though, many people are quick to dismiss anything he says. I don’t agree with everything he speaks on, but I hate that people always want to shut his comments down because he holds the lens of racism up to many issues. The thing is racism really does have direct and indirect influence on a multitude of things. Just because you don’t like the messenger doesn’t mean the message isn’t true.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Strange thing, Al’s comments will likely be picked up conservatives and championed. He’s basically arguing tha Arenas got a pass because he’s black and he pointed a gun at another black dude. That’s an interesting argument from Al.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling/index276.html chiqo

    so he wants people to make a bigger deal out of this and is upset that they aren’t and thinks it’s because they’re black? stfu sharpton.

  • O

    I wonder which white player would have it in him to pull an “Arenas” in the locker room.

  • Erika Badu

    I’m not black but i don’t understand how a black person could condone anything Sharpton does let alone support him. He perpetuates racism if anything and the man gets PAID to do so.

  • tavoris

    no real surprise here, Al is tired of our young role models doing STUPID stuff.

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    AllenP: yeah, I thought that was weird too. This is only going to be used as fodder by the far right or fox news.

  • tavoris

    Al is too much of an opportunist to NOT speak up. The problem is that he couldn’t possibly argue the other position without undermining his already middling credibility. It’s just an opportunist making an opportunistic statement.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Our man Dave Zirin has a take of his own he wanted to share. Here’s his piece from the Nation’s site:

  • tavoris

    thanks 4 the link Ben…interesting

  • http://juan.garcia@computershare.com That’sWhatSheSaid

    Maybe the race thing is not the question here but when the Brawl at the Palace went down people were all in an up roar cause players hit some fans . However, when this stupid mofo Arenas threatens another human beings’ life with a gun, and don’t give me that “it was only a joke”, who the fk you think you’re fooling?, it is swept under a rug.
    Seems to me all that is important here is the dollar. Stern says “you’ll get suspended a whole season if you hit our fan$ but you stupid players go ahead and blow your brains out.”

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i was turned off after reading Sharpton’s quote above, then I read Dave Zirin’s piece, and it just made Sharpton looked even more ridiculous. Agent Zero will pay for his stupidity, especially as this is becoming the biggest story in sports now (Tiger can breath a sigh of relieve), so why did Sharpton come out and pile more on him?

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    this is whay sharpton does, stir up mess where its not applicable, he stopped talking about jena 6 a long time ago didnt he? every couple years or so a black man get beat down on camera, he and others make a big hoopla for a couple weeks then move on. that type of thing doesnt stop just cuz its not on the news. sharpton is a headline chaser, and NOT a leader of any sort.

  • http://zapata10.wordpress.com Adrian Zapata

    Good Stuff Sharpton. Arenas shouldn’t be let off easily! Make him an example!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    As usual, Dave Zirin is one of the smarter people in the room. Thanks for that, Ben.

  • Hoodsnake

    ‘The NBA needs to stand up strongly by dealing with this situation’ Couldnt have said it better- the NBA is a league full of role models for black kids and they should know better. An example needs to be made. Wasnt feeling the tone in which this or Zirins article was written. Arenas contravened a law and also set a poor example. No need to critique the character of mr Sharpton- he is not at fault here

  • james

    how come whenever you go to an all black neighborhood its considered a bad area?

  • rainman10

    Did somebody say Gilbert is a young role model? LOLOL

  • rainman10

    News networks should have better things to do then cover a story about something Al Sharpton said about the NBA.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/san-dova-speak-easy/ San Dova

    I don’t think Sharpton said anything that’s invalid, really. I think there’s a huge fallout with anything with Al because of his image, but he’s made some good points. In general, though, the perception of ethnicity is always at play, because many people are just so uncomfortable with the idea of African American millionaires making up the majority of the league.

    Also interesting is that Gilbert is half-Cuban, as well.

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    Ben: I like the Zirin piece. I actually dig his regular column in Slam — its refreshing to see an insightful and unabashedly political column in a hoops mag. I prefer it over seeing pages and pages of new kicks.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The knee-jerk reaction to Al Sharpton by most people is just as disturbing as the knee-jerk reaction Sharpton often has about racial issues.

  • http://dsjfhklf.com Jukai

    Zirin’s piece may be the best political sports article I’ve read this year (okay, probably the last two/three years too!).
    He’s 100% right.
    I’m really amazed Sharpton brought himself into this. I wonder if this is his way of staying relevant?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    A lot of people are discrediting Al Sharpton just for being Al Sharpton. I see what he is saying. His point is, if this was a cross racial situation their would be an even larger uproar (Sharpton sort of is acting oblivous though, their already is a huge uproar). But since it is black on black, a lot of people seem to be brushing it off……………………………………………………I guess his point is, the NBA shoulg just give GIlbert a huge puinshment for pulling a gun Javris Critterton and treat it like a racial situation even if both players are black? I guess i actually dont see what he is saying.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Maybe he meant the NBA would act quicker if it was a racial situation, but arent acting as quick because it isnt one? If that is what he meant, i sorta see that. But of course the NBA would react quicker if their were more variables involved.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Al Sharpton is talking nonsense. He’ll use his statement hear against conservatives when they claim he only attacks white people. That’s the reason he made this silly statement that’s based on a the reporting of the New York Post, which Sharpton hates.
    There is no proof Arenas drew a gun. Why would Sharpton have the public react to media reports in this instance, and then call for people to wait for all the facts in other instances? Because Al Sharpton’s comments aren’t about Arenas or the culture of violence in black America, they are about getting Al Sharpton some press time.
    That said, the kneejerk way people responded to Sharpton’s name is just ridiculous. He’s wrong this time, sometimes he’s right.

  • http://realcavsfans.com Anton

    Al Sharpton doesn’t care about issues not involving black people.

  • jay

    AllenP, I guess the two go hand in hand. I am not the biggest Al Sharpton fan, but I see where he is going. Just the other day i was reading an article over at deadspin with an excerpt from Forbes magazine, in which the editor claimed “Nba players carry guns and the league if full of thugs”. Sharpton is just saying that since its 2 black athletes the first things that comes to minds of many (the Forbes writer as an example) is, its just thugs being thugs, oh well what you gonna do. Should this be the type of behaviour to be expected based on the color of your skin? I would think not, but unfortunately I’d be wrong.

  • Kadavour

    @ Tarzan: “every couple years or so a black man get beat down on camera, he and others make a big hoopla for a couple weeks then move on” Only Al would say something just as stupid just to seem relevant. thanks for the link Ben, good read.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Haha, Al Sharpton is funny. He never fails. One of the few constants in this world.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    @Allenp: When you cry the same tune every single time, you’re bound to be *right* sometimes. That’s Al Sharpton.

  • Jon

    so sad to see that race still plays a part. if nash or kidd did the same thing, would they be charged with the exact same punishment arenas is about to face? YES. what does race have to do with this? this is purely a stupid and overpaid idiot clever enough to bring guns to the locker room. he should be suspended. the end. whats up with bringing race in?!

  • doyouwantmore

    Sharpton strikes me as naive at best, opportunistic at worst. Probably both.

  • JD

    Y do Americans treat Black and White people like their completely different species?! Its only skin color!

  • http://www.luketynan.blogspot.com litetitan

    Essentially Gilbert knows he is going to be in a whole big mess.
    It’s obviously why he tried to get to the authorities straight away.
    He will be punished/discipled for this activity, thats for sure.

  • Yesse

    Reverend, Al Sharpton?Ohh come on.Why did he have to get into this mess.

  • tavoris

    JD-there’s a simple & well-known answer to that question.