The Ultimate Blame Game

By Bonitta Best
Updated: August 3, 2008

DURHAM, N.C. – Before you read this, a disclaimer must be

made: As of today, I am no longer responsible for my actions.

See, I’ve come to the conclusion that being around all those white people while I was a student at Towson State University (now Towson), made me what I am today. I was once a shy, introverted, naïve young woman who had no clue how mean people could be.

Then I became one.

But it’s not my fault, TSU made me this way. What, don’t believe me? Hey, if Sidney Lowe II can use that defense, why can’t I? True, being mean is not a criminal offense, although I could make a list of folks who would like to see me locked up.

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing N.C. State men’s basketball coach Sidney Lowe and his uncle, Michael Grace, behind bars for a few weeks after the dirt they threw on N.C. A&T State two weeks ago.

Lowe Sr. and Grace had the unmitigated gall to insinuate at Lowe II’s sentencing hearing in Greensboro that the latter committed a battery of crimes because — gulp — he attended A&T, a historically black university.

“He wanted to dumb down and thug up when he went to school,” Grace reportedly told WGHP (FOX 8) News. “He wanted to be accepted…to drop his britches around his butt and show his underwear.”

So it wasn’t bad or neglectful parenting, or being a spoiled rich kid, or just making bad choices that made Lowe II commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and kidnapping, possession of a weapon on educational property, possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana and possession of ecstasy, and a host of other criminal activity I don’t have time to write.

No, it was hanging around all those black folks in Greensboro that turned him into a thug. According to Fox 8 News, coach Lowe said A&T wasn’t his first school choice for his son.

So what? He wasn’t N.C. State’s first choice either.

Or second. Or third. Some would say he got the job by default.

But wait, I still haven’t told you the kicker: In order to get the job at NCSU, Lowe had to complete nine hours of a business administration degree. And where did he go to get it? (Drum roll please)

Online via Saint Paul’s College, a small, private, historically black college in Lawrenceville, Va. The horror!

“That was disappointing, that he would lay the blame at our feet as opposed to pointing to his son and saying he should have made better decisions,” said George A. Gray IV, a 1994 A&T alumnus.

“He [Lowe II] could have chose to go right or left. Everybody at A&T is not robbing folks or smoking drugs. I was there and we didn’t do it. He made some poor decisions.”

After a barrage of letters and e-mails from alumni, Lowe responded in an e-mail to alum Jason Rouse, with a carbon copy to NCSU President James Oblinger that The Tribune received:

“My family and I would like to personally apologize to anyone who was offended by previous statements that were attributed to us regarding NC A&T. Moving away to college presents any students, on any campus, with new and unique challenges.”

“The comments were intended to reflect our wish that my son could have stayed closer to home for school. We have the utmost respect for NC A&T as an educational institution and meant no harm by the statements.”

Not good enough if you ask me, and apparently not for some alumni. As Wesley L. Boykin wrote: “This apology should be submitted via the same vehicle that made this a public case in the beginning.”

Indeed. Lowe and his uncle used one of the worst racial stereotypes imaginable. Not only should he be made to go on TV and apologize, he should have to take out full-page ads listing all the outstanding A&T alumni who have made significant contributions to this country.

He’d better make nice.

If State loses to Carolina one too many times, he might have to ask one of them for a job.