You Might Have The Cash, But You Can’t Cash In Your Face

By CEO/President, Roland Rogers
Updated: November 23, 2004

Stevie Wonder

NEW YORK, NY—All the Hoopla surrounding the beat down at the Palace drove a point poignantly home. Black athletes, up until last week’s “Black Friday” were immune to the pain of growing up powerless and poor in America. The last straws were the dropping of charges against Kobe Bryant for his transgressions in Colorado, Monday Night’s booty call involving Terrell Owens and Maurice Clarett’s declaration of revenge against Ohio State University.

But more than anything, hitting white boys on television by “angry black men” in front of millions of viewers in prime time went way over the line and couldn’t be tolerated! Aside from a CEO of a major corporation being fined for ripping off the system can anyone recall anybody in any profession (Especially 25 years old kid) being fined “$5,000,000” and unable to work for 1 year because some drunks thought they could step over the line to taunt, humiliate for 5 minutes of fame or was this a call to arms of a society fed up and unwilling to take the B— S— any more!

Yes my friends, after November 2nd 2004, has changed life forever in America. To single Ron Artest out as “One Angry Black Man”, incapable of suppressing the rage but talented enough to have escaped the hood to follow the only the dream life allowed growing up in a housing project and reached the pinnacle of success in his chosen path of becoming a professional basketball player is ludicrous and although most of the players in the league are black the rigid standards by which these players have to conform is downright insane. As they say, you can take the man out of ghetto but you can’t take the ghetto out of man.

While watching the mob scene descend onto the Palace court I went back to a time in 1966 when my Bennett High School Tigers, led by my teammate and friend, NBA Hall of Fame Bob Lanier were confronted by a mob of Italian students who’s only beef was that we were undefeated and Bob was the only 6’11” center who dominated the game and had answers to every defensive scheme the other team could throw at us. Out of frustration and racial intolerance they stormed the court with their only focus was to cut Big Bob down to size. As if they had a chance, one by one, Bob punished them to the degree where it looked like little ants scurrying back into the stands and out the exits to escape his wrath. It wasn’t about winning and losing, it was about hurting that nigger and getting him off the court!

As I watched the Commissioner deliver his stern verdict and send a message that Artest, Jermaine O’Neal, Stephen Jackson and the rest of the players involve would not only be punished for their lack of restraint and embarrassing the cash cow which is the National Black Association, the white media demanded the toughest penalty ever handed out in sports entertainment history! They even enlisted the “EVERY BROTHER AIN’T A BROTHER, SOME BROTHERS ARE MOTHERS” at ESPN to co-sign the hatched job.

After letting Latrell Sprewell, Vernon Maxwell, Nick Van Exel and Dennis Rodman off the hook with minimal penalties, this orchestrated act of retribution wasn’t going to have any racial overtones to polarize a society and alienate a community, but as Billy Hunter, executive director of the players union reiterated, “ the suspension of Artest was unfair and the length of the other suspensions were a bit egregious” symbolized and spoke volumes that “race” IS the issue!

Globally, there have been many instances where fans and athletes have clashed and emotions reached epidemic levels but more to point of being the lead story on EVERY TV, radio and print edition. No, this is clearly sending a message and I think this message has been evolving since the migration of European players into the league. If you look into stand these days the majority of fans are white suburbanites. With tickets and players salaries skyrocketing inner-city residents are being ostracized and can no longer afford to attend games while being held hostage and high- jacked by their local cables companies. This is ALL about the money and nothing more. All the rule changes, expansions, developmental leagues are just by-products of a larger issue: To make sure the game remains a wholesome family entertainment and to keep those dollars rolling in. If we they have to sacrifice a Ron Artest or any other player, well, that’s just way the basketball bounces…

BASN deplores this harsh penalty and ask Commissioner Stern to show some compassion:


Note: Aside from appealing his suspension, as of today he’s back in the media’s eye, on tour, promoting his new CD. He’s going to have to sell a lot CD’s to make up for all that lost venue. Who knows, maybe Stevie W.will give him a deal… That’s Entertainment!