Many of Our Black Athletes Are Going Backwards; Not Forward

By Gregory Moore
Updated: September 28, 2006

SAN ANTONIO � �Boy, every time you take one step forward, you take ten more backwards because you just don�t pay �tention to what I�m telling you.� Does that sound familiar to anyone? Well for many African Americans, one can hear somebody say that phrase who is much older than they are. We usually call her Big Mama, granny, grandma, mammoue or we call him Big Daddy, Papa, granddad, etc. if may be an uncle. It may be an aunt.

No matter what the affiliation or classification in the family, when that phrase was spoken, usually that meant that one of the family�s children have gone astray or strayed outside of what the family values are. Well, today that same phrase can be said of our Black athletes whom continue to get themselves in trouble with the law.

For some it seems to be nothing new as these young men have squabbled with law enforcement since they were knee high to a grasshopper probably but it should be very disturbing to the rest of us. The problem is though that �ain�t nobody listening. Is this damn mike on?� I�ve made mention of such plights in a few recent articles because this is pretty important here. Let�s forget about whether this is a professional athlete, a collegian or a high school star. The problem is that we have Black athletes thinking that they have carte blanche to act a plum fool and their own community has not reined them in.

Sure I can hear many naysayers now. �But Greg, society has basically made them either slaves or are using them for their own personal gain�. You know what? I can�t argue that fact. When you look at the pro tanks, owners buy and sell players every day like day traders. But what so many of us fail to realize is that these pro athletes are not slaves; well the only thing they are slaves to is the almighty dollar.

For the collegian, it�s all about trying to get to that pro level and become the slave of that almighty dollar because Bentley Azures and $3.5 million cribs are what it�s all about. Finally for the high schooler, it�s all about trying to get to where that college player is at because he too wants that good life. That�s all fine and good because we all want something in life.

We all have dreams. Hey my dream is to one day have this writing talent produce some major dead presidents so that I can have my own dream car and house a reality.

Imagine a sportswriter showing up at a game in a $190,000 Ferrari 430. Midnight black mind you because I�m all about stealth. But that�s another dream for another time. Right now I�m just trying to go forward.

Ironically this is the feeling I have when it comes to Black athletes and their desire of trying to �keep it real�. I guess that is what Cincinnati Bengals� Odell Thurman was doing when he was hanging out with Chris Henry and Reggie McNeal. Now there is nothing wrong with hanging out with teammates but this police blotter syndrome in the sports pages needs to stop.

The merry go round isn�t a fun ride anymore and it would be nice if the NFL, collectively as the NFLPA, coaches and owners, would get together and come up with a very workable solution that bans drinking of any alcoholic beverages while a player is under contract during the season.

I say that to prove this one point; we have more Black athletes taking ten steps backwards than forwards because of their indiscretions and misjudgments.

Thurman�s arrest is just the latest for the Bengals this season and it is something that should not have happened. Then let us not forget about San Diego�s Steve Foley. Foley was drunk as well. And just keep going down the list this off-season.

Koren Robinson was cited for a DUI and there just no telling whom else is on the drunkard NFL player list for this year. Newsflash Gene Upshaw and crew, alcohol is a disease and you have several NFL players who are alcoholics.

It is also time for the NFLPA to start really looking into the backgrounds of their members. As I began writing this story, Thurman was only going to be suspended for four games. Yet it has later been learned that he will face a year suspension because of his arrest.

It has also been reported now that Drug Enforcement Agency officers have arrested San Diego Chargers� Terrence Kiel on Wednesday after they intercepted eighteen pints of cough syrup that had codeine in it. The prescription only cough syrup goes for up to $325 on the streets in Texas and can be used as a cutter/additive for such drugs as PCP and cocaine. That is what many call either the �purple drank� or �lean�.

Never heard of this drug before? If you have listened to rap music you have. Don�t know the lyrics? Well here are the lyrics from �Dat Purple Drank� with Mike Jones and featuring Frazier Boy:

I’m getting full of drank leanin, movin slow. seeming unda the influence will make you fall asleep dreaming $200 for a pint got a dub get a “O” really dog really y’all I can get it for the low. Which you know about them jolly ranchers make it tasty frayser boy, swisha house you know me gettin wasted real fellas click up you gon have to face it. Yea I know these suckas on the town gotta hate me. Doin real big and my system full of that promethazine have you kinda dumb sayin thangs that you don’t really mean messin wit that gallon too have me scratching for a itch fill my cup to the brim over ice pourin it. Two liters of that purple potion bout to ball out pint sizing pints woah think I’m bout to fall out frayser bizzle slummed out in the bay getting leaner addicted to this medicine. Yo I’m just admitting it.

If you have kids who listen to these lyrics, this is the drink they are referring to and it�s the same stuff that Kiel was trying to deal and transport back to the Lone Star state. There is a major concern here and the NFLPA is not looking at the issues in effect.

The league has wannabe gangsta thugs as employees and as members of the NFLPA. Kiel can�t be the only NFL player that is 20 something selling this crap; he�s just the first that got caught.

And so I say it again. It is time for Black society to really start looking at what our Black professional athletes are doing and start holding them accountable. Bengals� coach Marvin Lewis made the right statement a few days ago in regards to Thurman�s situation but it goes to anyone out there. Lewis said that playing in the NFL is a privilege that should be cherished.

Amen Bro. Lewis, amen. Now anyone want to join me and try to actually implement something that forces these young men to realize that they could be out on the street, slinging patties for the nearest Bob Big Boy instead of playing ball? Maybe somebody over at the NFLPA will get the hint and realize that today�s players are wired a little differently and that those who want to do illegal harm to make extra cash will do anything to make it.

ODE TO MY FANGER, MY PUBLICIST AND DPD Well I can�t say that being a Dallas Cowboys fan is going to be easy this season. I�ve dreaded having That Other wide receiver on the roster and dog gone it if he isn�t proving me and a bunch of other people smarter than what we really are.

In the infamous words of one good ole boy up in Big D, �El Dorado Owens has done it again�.

Now I�m going to give this renegade sidewinder the benefit of the doubt. Anyone can accidentally mix up your medications from the doctor. I�ve done it once when I went to the dentist for a tooth and he prescribed vicadin for the pain.

Well, the pain was a little too much one day so I popped two vicadin and downed the meds with Vanilla Coke. Let me just say that if the Dallas PoPo had asked me questions that day, I would have been at Baylor Medical myself. So that�s not the issue. But dag gone what is up with an NFL player needing a publicist?

Kim Etheridge is the anti-publicist model in my book. I have a friend who is a very good PR person and I�m quite sure that if she the job of keeping her client from making an ass of himself. Ms. Kim however is a different matter. All I could picture was this Black woman bobbing/weaving her head like some soul sistah on a bad episode of “In Living Color”.

A professional who was adept with words she is not. She reminds me of something else but I can�t say that word; after all I do have women readers of this column. Let�s just say that she reminds me of a friend with benefits and I�m going to leave it at that.

Public relation specialists know how to handle �pressers� and Etheridge is below novice level. You don�t throw the DPD under the bus like she did. If anything you come out and say, �I may have mentioned to them that he might have been a little depressed�.

But to throw a first responder under the bus? That was a classless move of someone who has no clue how to do his or her job.

I have to agree with DPD on the apology aspect of this situation. They did their job and Owens and his people need to realize that aspect of this bizarre case. Oh well it�s just another day at the Ranch and this ongoing soap opera, �As That Other wide receiver turns�.