When “One Of Your Own” Injures A Player, It’s Even More Tragic

By Gregory Moore
Updated: September 22, 2006

SAN ANTONIO – Brittany Jones’s attorney says that the media has portrayed his client in a bad light.

“She’s extremely upset,” James Ecker, her attorney said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this week. “For all the things [the media has] said about her, it’s making her look like a bad person. She’s never been in trouble.”

Maybe Mr. Ecker and Ms. Jones do not understand the severity of what she has done. She is one of three young people charged in a shooting melee that has left five members of the Duquesne basketball team in the hospital.

The other two suspects, William Holmes and Brandon Baynes, are all being charged with some heavy-duty criminal charges for the fight that took place this past Sunday at the Duquesne Dance Hall.

The five basketball players, Sam Ashaolu, Stuard Baldonado, Kojo Mensah, Aaron Jackson and Shawn James were all shot by Holmes and Baynes. According to various news reports, Ashaolu is in critical condition while the other four were wounded.

Brittany Jones

Brittany Jones

But what is troubling is the fact that Jones thinks she should not take the heat for any of this and her lawyer is trying to portray her as a victim. Well, that’s simply not going to fly in this world and Mr. Ecker should know that.

What we have here, in the sports world, is black on black crime and it’s just plain tragic. It’s tragic because it shouldn’t have happened but what we are dealing with is a generation of kids who are so immature, so irresponsible, so unbelievably guiltfree in their actions of trying to be the baddest hood rats on the block, that they will do anything to prove their worth to their little sects of a fantasy drummed up by overly hyped music videos and reality shows depicting a bad lifestyle that many African Americans do not even live.

Simply put, Jones, Baynes and Holmes are the products of a world in which, sex, drugs and violence rule and common sense; morality and proper upbringing do not exist. And they have brought this warped sense of pride onto one of the better Catholic universities in this country.


Brandon Baynes

Brandon Baynes

Maybe you are not familiar with the story I am telling; so let me give you the Blue Notes version of it. On Sunday night, the five afore mentioned basketball players were shot after a dance on the college campus.

The Black Student Union hosted the dance and Jones was an active participant. Baynes and Holmes, with Jones’ help, smuggled weapons onto the campus. When a female friend of Jones was seen talking to the five players, Holmes and Baynes started berating them and then later, during the confrontation that became heated, open fire and shot the five players. Jones was nowhere to be found during the scuffle.

William Holmes

William Holmes

Now the Pittsburgh police have all three in custody and the legal eagles are now swarming around the defendants. Jones’ lawyer is the first to open up and say that his client is misunderstood.

Let’s make something perfectly clear, anyone who would have a myspace.com web page that says, “I’m the definition of half lady, half thug”, isn’t misguided; she’s demented and is as guilty of this ruthless and senseless crime as her two friends who pulled the trigger.

Whether Ms. Jones, her lawyer, her two friends, or their families want to believe it or not, those three young people have brought a world of hurt onto a campus that didn’t deserve it and to five young men who definitely didn’t deserve it.

This wasn’t the scene off of a Hollywood movie and this wasn’t a video game. This was a senseless crime committed by three African Americans. These three African Americans brought a violent crime onto five, defenseless African American basketball players who were just having a conversation with a young lady.

That’s black on black crime and it is something that is normally reserved for the metro sections of newspapers and websites.

Well, not this week.

With all the problems in the world, this is simply one more issue that nobody should be dealing with. Maybe Mr. Ecker can convey to his client how senseless her actions were and why it will be wise to take any plea deal that comes forth.

If the prosecution wants her to testify against the other two suspects, she needs to sing like Billy Holliday and send those other two into incarceration hell. Maybe in ten years or so she may have a life to return to. But that’s no consolation to the five Dukies laid up in a hospital bed this week. Their lives have been disrupted and the university’s community has been damaged.

What’s even more tragic is that the senseless, warped social values that today’s Black youth wholly wrap themselves up in is now on the Americana scene. A peaceful innocence has been lost here and nobody can bring that moment in time back.

SPORTS BIZ NOTES OF INTEREST While going through the e-mail stash the other day, I came across my Sports Business News e-mail for the 21st of September. Some interesting story lines were in the e-mail that are of interest to quite a few. Here’s just a snippet of what was in the e-mail: Shaq begins $1 billion real estate venture: Miami Heat center Shaquille O’Neal is a force on the basketball court. Now he wants to be one off the court, too. This was written by Sarah Talalay appeared in The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. On Tuesday, the 7-foot-1 NBA All-Star announced the formation of The O’Neal Group, a real estate company that plans to develop properties throughout the country.

The first project is a partnership with MDM Development, the developer of the $1 billion Metropolitan Miami, a three-tower complex with 1,100 condominiums, a hotel, and office and entertainment space in downtown Miami. The project, slated for completion in 2009, will include a Whole Foods market and one of O’Neal’s signature 24 Hour Fitness/Shaq Ultra Sport clubs.

“Downtown is already gorgeous, we want to make it elaborate,” O’Neal said after a news conference announcing the deal from inside the sales center of The Met project. “So we’re going to have a Whole Foods inside, a 24 Hour Fitness inside … this is not only a real estate deal, we want people to live how they want to live.”.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Luis Pulenta, principal of MDM Development, and Christopher Handy, executive vice president of The O’Neal Group, said O’Neal is investing in the project. O’Neal’s eyes got wide and he nodded his head to indicate the investment is substantial. He has also agreed to purchase a Sky Loft in the project’s third tower, Met3.

He said he does not plan to sell his $18 million home on Miami Beach’s Star Island. Since entering the NBA with the Orlando Magic in 1992, O’Neal, 34, has amassed more than $50 million in real estate holdings, including strip malls, commercial properties and a nightclub, primarily in Florida, New Jersey, Texas and California.

Feds looking at going after online betting: The hot-button topics in Britain these days regarding the Americans aren’t only about Iraq. It’s also about business. This was written by Diane Francis appeared in The Financial Post. The CEOs of two British Internet gambling sites (both publicly listed) were arrested this summer when they were changing planes on U.S. soil.

More have been targeted and legislators are looking at other options to prevent Americans from betting online. The act of accepting bets online is legal in Britain but illegal in the United States. The tricky part is that the Internet crosses borders and so a crackdown by one country to stop Americans from betting on British sites means Washington is flexing its muscles outside its own territory.

This is nothing new. During the Prohibition era of the 1920s and early ’30s, the Americans went after Canada, where alcohol was still produced (and much of it was then smuggled across the U.S. border). Then there was a dust-up about an alleged “cartel” of uranium producers during the Cold War and for legal reasons some Canadians could not travel to the United States.

In 1994, some executives of Sherritt International were put on government blacklists for involvement in a joint venture with Cuba’s nickel company. The Americans were angry because the nickel had been U.S.-owned before the Communists confiscated the assets. And this summer the crackdown has escalated beyond Canada.

On July 17, David Carruthers, then CEO of BetOnSports.com, was arrested while on a layover at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, in transit between Costa Rica and Britain. He was charged with racketeering and mail fraud and is under house arrest in St. Louis. Dozens more were arrested in the United States. Since then, the company fired him and closed its U.S. operation.

Some U.S. papers reported that the company, while legitimate in Britain, had shared office space with people in Costa Rica with U.S. criminal records. The next salvo occurred this month, when Peter Dicks, chairman of Sportingbet PLC, was taken into custody at JFK International Airport in New York as he came off an overseas flight. The warrant was issued by police officials in Louisiana.

If you questions, comments or just general rants about any sports story that may interest you, send me a few blurbs at gmoore@blackathlete.net.