Imitated — The Third

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: October 6, 2008

Matt Jones

Matt Jones

PHILADELPHIA — In the third edition of our look at sports and culture through celluloid eyes, I offer the following premise:

“Suppose you picked up your morning’s newspaper and your life was a front page headline; and everything they said was accurate…but none of it was true…”

– “Absence of Malice,” a 1981 film starring the recently deceased Paul Newman.

White Lines

The statistics sheet for the recent Houston Texans v. Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Sunday tussle looked like any other game summary — until the ‘receptions’ category recorded a ‘M. Jones’ catching five passes for 71 yards.

Now I know there are other Joneses (fullback Greg) on the Jags; and even a Jones-Drew (tailback Maurice). So this M. Jones could only be Matt Jones; the same one who was allegedly arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

And this past Sunday on the nationally televised game of the week, we had Al Michaels and John Madden revealing that, according to Jaguars QB David Garrard, “Matt Jones has become his ‘go-to’ receiver.”

With accounts of the arrest stating Jones was cutting up cocaine in a “Scarface” kind of mood, word of a suspension, fine or banning for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and morals clauses were in full effect.

And with Mr. Law and Order, Commissioner Roger Goodell wielding an axe that would have made Carrie Nation beam with pride after punishing troublesome niggers like Adam Jones, Tank Johnson, Chris Henry and Cedric Benson, more discipline was inevitable — and expected.

But the news never hit the streets, as no blood was shed regarding the Caucasian football player, Matt Jones, by the League office.

Not a drop; nary a damn corpuscle.

So we are one quarter through the regular season, and a White player has been allowed to earn an uninterrupted living minus the same scorn and public humiliation heaped upon Black players involved in similar situations — especially by mainstream media…

Why is a player like Matt Jones still playing ball after being in clear violation of the league’s substance abuse policy? And why aren’t other players complaining about a double standard in the handling of Matt Jones?

“Some people take, some people get took; and they know they’re getting took and there’s nothing they can do about it…”

So while Jones plays in the “snow,” the credibility of the National Football League and the Jaguars dodges scrutiny; in all likelihood because white players aren’t supposed to get arrested for “Black” crimes;

“Baxter, I picked you for my team because I thought you were a very bright young man. Do you realize what you’re doing? Not to me, but to yourself? Normally, it takes years to work your way up to the twenty-seventh floor. But it only takes thirty seconds to be out on the street again. You dig?”

(Dialogue between Fred McMurray, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in “The Apartment”).

Smells Like Team Bullshit

The Alabama Crimson Tide crowed loud and long after a decisive beatdown on the Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia last week. While the 41-0 score was not indicative of how badly the Dawgs got beaten, it merely was another hard lesson of gridiron life in the Southeastern Conference, from top to bottom the most competitive conference in all of college football.

The other hard lesson came later that evening on ESPIN’s college football scoreboard show. In describing the victory and Alabama’s progress up the BCS charts, the comment that threw cold water on the topic was (paraphrasing): “It looks like the $32 million the school paid for head coach Nick Saban was worth every penny.”

Meanwhile, life on the 100-ard plantations of the NCAA and Myles Brand continues with no paid salaries for the actual workforce that helped Saban get that $32 million…

“This is really wonderful. If we go along with you and lie our asses off, the world of truth and ideals is, er, protected; but if we don’t want to take part in some giant rip-off of yours then somehow or other we’re managing to ruin the country. You’re pretty good, Jim. I’ll give you that.”

(James Brolin to Hal Holbrook in “Capricorn One”)

13 Ghosts

In Las Vegas, ex-FL star tailback and Hall of Fame pariah O.J. Simpson was found guilty of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers, thirteen years to the day he was cleared of murder charges.

Simpson, found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery and a handful of other charges, may spend the rest of his natural life in prison – ironically, for ‘stealing’ his own stuff.

The synchronicity of the timing sealed Simpson’s fate as much as the evidence did. In spite of the fact the other ‘victims’ involved said they feared for their lives, Simpson, who many feel got away with murder, is getting a serious payback for walking out of a California courtroom a free man 13 years ago.

After being refused bail once the verdict was declared, the “Juice” finally got freshly squeezed by the judicial system; and sentencing will be held on December 5th

Barring a successful appeal, at 61 years old, Simpson will likely spend the rest of his life in the joint; for either stealing his own stuff, or being retried for the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman…

Whether Simpson turned out to be his own worst enemy may be better left for others to decide; because I’m sure there will be no shortage of opinions forthcoming.

The jailing of Simpson, however, smacks of a disharmonious tone; the wicked irony in someone who became successful in part due to being isolated from certain influences is now immersed in a different kind of isolation because of those same elements which garnered him fame and made a lot of people a lot of money.

The midlife crisis Simpson suffered in his early 30s at the end of his playing career had left his nose wide open to a 17 year old buxom blonde in high school who fawned over him.

From the walk down the aisle to a low – speed chase to a high – profile case, Simpson, like all great running backs, saw the holes closing a move or two ahead, deftly avoiding the coverage and using his blockers when needed; but now there are no more holes, no blockers to block, no room to run; because there is nowhere to run.

“People think that Hell is fire and brimstone and the Devil poking you in the butt with a pitchfork, but it’s not. Hell is when you should have walked away, but you didn’t.”

“What a pisser…here we are fighting the bullshit for 15 years, and now we find out you’re part of the bullshit. What can we tell you? You broke our hearts, you dumbest of fucks – and we mean that sincerely — The Boys.”

(Gary Oldman, David Proval and Michael Wincott in “Romeo Is Bleeding”)

Choking the Chicken

Meanwhile, back at the old ballgame, the New York Mets are…playing golf.

The unceremonious firing of Willie Randolph and ascendance of Jerry Manuel to manager really didn’t pass the smell test any more than general manager Omar Minaya’s 3:00 am eternal excuses for firing Randolph 3,000 miles from home.

The previous year, Randolph’s Mets folded in the stretch, losing a seven game lead with 17 games to play. This year, Manuel’s “rejuvenated” Mets also folded in the stretch, not only losing a three and a half game lead with 17 games to play, but losing the wild card spot to Milwaukee when their destiny was theirs to control.

In spite of a depleted farm system, overpaid cronies as free agents, and a closer that gave up more hits than the Gas House Gorillas did to Bugs Bunny, Minaya gets a four-ear renewal and Manuel gets two more years as manager.

As the Mets will move to the brand new CitiField next season, the owners might wanna think about spending a little extra cash –or heart transplants on certain members of their starting lineup.

You should also call the police; because those back – to – back choke jobs coming on the heels of what you plan to charge for tickets next season – is a crime…

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Listen. Now, we can go get a warrant and come back with the FBI, take anything we want, arrest anybody that we want. Just give the man the video tape!

“Hey, the only one who’s gonna get arrested here is you, for felonious cock sucking with an attempt to swallow the evidence. So shut your mouth!”

(Will Smith and Tom Sizemore in “Enemy of the State”)

Most Valuable Manny

The trade of Manny Ramirez before the July 31 deadline to the Los Angeles Dodgers was going to prove one of two things; Boston was right, and L.A. was wrong.

Well, hold on thar’, Baba Looey!

Ramirez proved all the naysayers wrong with his one-an juggling act. In the 53 games he played in as a Dodger, Manny “El Kabong” Ramirez hit .396, 17 homers and 53 “ribs” – averaging a run batted in per game!

Manny became the meat in the empanada that added spice to bats like Troy Loney, Andre Ethier and Russell Martin in the Dodger lineup; the same lineup that just waxed the Chicago Cubs in three straight.

The Dodgers will now head to the league final versus Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and the rest of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ramirez further disappointed the doubters in leading by example. “Manny taught all the young guys how to relax and have fun,” said manager Joe Torre, “and showed them a lot about hitting.”

The BoSox — especially pitcher Curt Schilling — screamed on Ramirez, calling him a ‘malingerer’ and a ‘clubhouse cancer.’

“The reward for this man is 5000 dollars, is that right?” “Judas was content for 4970 dollars less.” “There were no dollars in them days.” “But sons of bitches…yeah.”

If somehow the Dodgers should meet the Red Sox in this year’s World Series, it could get pretty interesting…

“He not only plays…he can shoot, too.”

(Charles Bronson and Jason Robards in “Once Upon a Time in the West”)

Time to Man Up!

As we are into the home stretch of the race for the White House, familiar chords are being struck by the Republican Party.

Because they won’t own up to eight years of George Bush as being the problem, the long knives have come out to carve up Barack Obama, as dirty tricks and negative campaigning will likely be the daily special right up until Election Day.

Now, while I always knew our collective selves as Black folk weren’t lock sstep into a set monolithic way of thinking, it is intriguing to see as many Black faces attempting to make a case for Bush and / or the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Sheeeeeeeit — I know you gotta eat and all that, but damn…

“You know the damage one ignorant Negro can do? We were in France in the first war; we’d won decorations. But the white boys had told all them French gals that we had tails. Then they found this ignorant colored soldier, paid him to tie a tail to his ass and run around half-naked, making monkey sounds.

Put him on the big round table in the Cafe Napoleon, put a reed in his hand, crown on his head, blanket on his shoulders, and made him eat bananas in front of all them Frenchies. Oh, how the white boys danced that night… passed out leaflets with that boy’s picture on it; called him Moonshine, King of the Monkeys. And when we slit his throat, you know that fool asked us what he had done wrong?”

“Any man ain’t sure where he belong, gotta be in a whole lotta pain…”

But if Obama should win in spite of the Gestapo tactics, the response will be…

“Aww, Look Out, Hitler! The Niggas is coming to git yo’ ass!”

–Dialogue between Adolph Caesar and Larry Riley; David Alan Grier, Howard Rollins and David Harris in “A Soldier’s Story.

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