Paul Shirley: Not a Fan of Haiti (UPDATE)

by January 27, 2010

The former (marginal) NBAer turned scribe expressed some interesting thoughts on the devastated country. And our man Dave Zirin took him to task (thanks for the tip, @thefarmerjones): “I had plans to write a political response to this excrement. I was going to wonder why someone would write something so hurtful while people are still digging their own family members out from the rubble. I was going to marvel at Paul Shirley’s ignorance of Haiti’s history. I was going to ask if he knew anything about the crushing debt Haiti has lived under for two centuries. I was going to point out the U.S. occupation of the island from 1915-1934, which left behind a 98 percent illiteracy rate, a broken economy, and a U.S.-trained military schooled in the art of repression. I was going to ask if he had any knowledge of the unspeakable brutality of the Duvalier dictatorships. I was going to write that before he talks about ‘history as a guide’, he should dare read some history like The Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer or The Rainy Season by Amy Wilentz. I was also going to suggest that he actually try to live on a dollar a day or care for someone H.I.V. positive who has no access to medicine. I wanted to dare him to work for ONE DAY in a garment industry sweatshop. I was going to write all of these things. But instead I think I’m just going to write my own open letter: Dear Paul Shirley, I only wish your father had taken your own advice and worn a condom. Go to hell. Sincerely, Dave Zirin.”

UPDATE: Paul has lost his ESPN gig as a result of his diatribe.