A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Heck In The Barbershop, Some Want Irvin To Go Away On ‘GP”
SAN ANTONIO – “He needed to be arrested on GP. What he did was just plain stupid” Ahh barbershop talk. There’s nothing like it in the world and when a writer like myself wants a little inspiration, it’s all about going down to the barbershop and check in with the fellas and see what’s the hot topic. The topic of this week was most definitely Michael Irvin but I was really interested and somewhat taken aback at how many individuals in the shop wanted to run Michael Irvin.
“What he did was just plain stupid,” one barber said. “How in the hell do you just forget that you put a drug pipe in the car? It’s worse than, “Baby I forgot our anniversary.” “Man, forget about putting it in the car, why would you have outstanding warrants when you make enough flow to pay that stuff off,” another one said.
“See,’ said a third, “That’s why I can’t believe him. His mannerisms are those of somebody always trying to hide something. Heck the police should have arrested him on what Sammie said, ‘GP’.” And thus went the conversation. General principles were the main topic and a good majority in the barbershop wanted Irvin to basically disappear from their sports garden. They were fed up with the story of him trying to help a friend and a good majority of them were thinking he himself was back into dealing with that poison.
“Man Irvin is a clown. He can’t use that excuse of helping a friend,” another patron said. “I’ve been down his road, cleaned myself up and I don’t even associate with the people who I used to get high with because I don’t want to jeopardize what I currently have.” “Yeah, I hear ya brah. That’s the wackiest excuse for 2005. He might as well ask Ruben Studdard to redo ‘Sorry 2004’ just for him.” It’s about general principles with many in the African American community and it is about accountability for a good many who have watched this whole scenario play out. It may not seem like a big deal in some communities but stories like Irvin’s hits home far too many times and Black barber shops like the one I go to for not only getting a haircut but to also have meaningful conversation on such issues is why many in this community are not too endearing to Irvin right now. They have seen the destruction that drugs do and they have dealt with far too many ‘quitters’ like Irvin’s friend and they want no part of such life issues and many feel that Irvin should be thinking about himself more and these so-called friends less.
“Look, we all know that we have friends who are on this mess,” one of the other barbers said who is also an elder in his church. “And I’m not advocating that you should be turning your back on those in need. But common sensibilities have got to come into play during these times. Michael’s friend may be one of the best friends in the world but those drugs have got him messed up.
“Anyone who would quit a drug rehab that they haven’t been in for even 18 hours isn’t ready to be totally cleaned, healed or cleansed. Michael needs to separate himself from such individuals so that he does not have this embarrassment put upon him again and again.” And so the debate/conversation continued for about two more hours and if space allowed, I would give you the whole context of the debate that I have affectionately titled ‘GP’. You may not fully understand everything that was quoted but here is something that you can take with you: when it comes to jeopardizing a career and family stability, just about everybody says that Irvin is treading on thin ice. And that is why many are not feeling his plight right about now.
BARBERSHOP TALK PART II There was another conversation that was just as heated as the Irvin story and that was on the spending power of young African Americans versus the fat pockets of the sports team owners.
The debate came about because some believed that the young folks had the money that was lining the owners’ pockets while myself and others kept saying that while these young people may have the disposable income and buying the jerseys and such, they were not your season ticket holders with floor seats or corporate sponsors.
An interesting conundrum isn’t it but figure that where the conversation was being generated from was more on expendable income versus amassed wealth/fortune. As many listeners listened and those of us who were in debate demonstrated, sometimes a perception is strictly that. One of the biggest perceptions out there is to automatically assume that every person who can buy a throwback jersey had the per capita income to purchase a game ticket. That is not always the case as was pointed out by several older African Americans who were in attendance. It was also proven that ‘flash and dash’ does not make one a wealthy individual.
“Stereotypes such as how nice your ride is, the amount of jewelry one wears means nothing in the long term,” I told the assembled group and many of them agreed.
Yet this too was a good debate for those in attendance because it proved an old hypothesis true that I wrote about in the Black community; sometimes the best conversation for those of us who love sports is to plop yourself in the barber’s chair and let the clippers hum you a new tune on your hair.