Tweet of the Night: Teri Washington

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trayvonTeri Washington is a good friend who formerly worked in the NBA media relations office. She is now doing work for the Players Association as they transition into finding a replacement for Billy Hunter, who will spend the next couple of years trying to keep himself out of jail.

She once told me a funny story (the two of us found it funny, others may not) about how when she was David Stern’s right-hand woman, the two of them had to attend a Republican Party function, and how Stern had to practically hold his nose before he walked into the room to shake a few hands (Stern is a hard-core Democrat). They both made it through the event, albeit uncomfortably.

And speaking of uncomfortable, the national outrage over George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin shooting is not subsiding. Nor should it.

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum (full disclosure: I am a registered independent), you should realize that racism in our country is a HUGE problem. Our country is a melting pot of all creeds and colors. Those of us who work around pro basketball players tend to become somewhat immune to racism, because we become colorblind by spending so much time around people whose skin color is different from our own.

Then we go out into the real world, and sometimes it smacks us in the face.

I was having some legal work done for the site when a white attorney mentioned that he doesn’t watch much basketball …

SHERIDAN: “Why not?”

ATTORNEY: “Because they are all a bunch of tattooed thugs.”

SHERIDAN: “Why don’t you just come right out and say “niggers,” because “a bunch of tattooed thugs” is code for “niggers.”

ATTORNEY: Silence.

SHERIDAN: “Do you know who Kevin Durant is? He has tattoos, he is black and he just gave $1 million of his own money to tornado victims in Oklahoma, which is the same amount that Durant’s team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, donated. And that team is owned by a white man, Clay Bennett, who can afford to give $10 million without it making even a small dent in his wallet.”

ATTORNEY: “Well, they’re not all thugs.”

No shit, Sherlock.

I live in New York, where the police have the right to stop and frisk any person they see who looks “suspicious.” That is a very broad and subjective term, and the police use it as an excuse to harass young, black men who are minding their own business.

A question: If the police in the most conservative, whitest city in America had the power to stop you, frisk you and make you empty your pockets, even if you were just a citizen walking home from work and minding your own business, what would happen? I’ll tell you what would happen: There would be a revolution.

We live in a free country. That means you have the freedom to be left alone if you are minding your own business. I don’t care if you are a Tea Party member or a Marxist or an atheist or a Jew or an Asian or a Blue Blood.

As an American you have a right to be left alone by the authorities if you aren’t doing anything wrong. PERIOD.

Racism sucks. Hopefully it will end someday. Unchecked police powers and governmental intrusion into our private lives sucks, too. This is a free country. Why can’t we all live with the freedoms we have been promised in our constitution?

Please, as you move forward on this Sunday and in the weeks ahead, do whatever you can to end racism and promote color blindness. Do not be silent when someone speaks in code, as the above quoted attorney did.

Speak up.

Make our country a better place.

Rant over.

Washington’s tweet of the night speaks for itself.

 

Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor in chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. Perhaps what’s needed is less hyperbolic conjecture using “racism” as a catchall for any behavior or statement that isn’t in keeping with someone’s sensibilities, along with abandoning a simplistic black and white view of everything.

    I’m a serious basketball fan who rarely missed a Knicks game for 20 years. Now I have to hold my nose, a la Stern at a Republican gala, to make it through a single game. Am I some sort of closet raging racist because I think Carmelo Anthony is an idiotic thug clown who plays horrendous basketball? Or might my issues with porous defense and counterproductive isolation play be slightly more complex than “that’s racist!”?

    Likewise, what, aside from the shrill proclamations of the media, indicates that the Zimmerman case was even remotely driven by racism? And what on what planet is the theory of “Martin was being followed, therefore he had every right to defend himself and attack Zimmerman,” a viable postulation? Next time you’re walking in New York and someone follows you for several blocks or, even worse, confronts you with a question, physically assault them and explain to the police your rationale. I’m sure they’ll agree that being followed provides ample justification for assaulting someone.

  2. Race baiting is not what people come to this site for, Mr. Sheridan. Get over yourself.

    • “Race-baiting,” as you call it, is a term created by whites to absolve themselves of real problems, as they relate to racial injustice in the legal, economic, and political systems in America.

      So YOU get over yourself, sir. YOU get over keeping your head stuck in the sand.YOU get over your knee-jerk reaction to stifle whatever national conversations make you uncomfortable. And if YOU can’t deal with YOUR issues, if your sensitivities are so frail and fragile that you can’t handle a little social commentary from an esteemed sports journalist, then you always have the option to not visit this site anymore. I doubt Mr. Sheridan will shed any tears.

      Good day to you, sir.

  3. This case was about a Hispanic who tragically shot a black boy being acquitted by an all-woman jury. The FBI searched hard to make it a federal case but could not find anyone who thought Zimmerman was racist or that this was a hate crime which is why they pressured the local authorities to bring murder charges even though, many from the outset felt there was no way a jury would convict (which they were correct about).

    >> That means you have the freedom to be left alone if you are minding your own business.

    Trayvon, by his own friend’s admission, could have pretty much returned to his home yet he then turned around and tried to double back on Zimmerman. Only he knows the exact reason (he maybe felt threatened by the “creepy a$$ cr*cker”), but he then jumped Zimmerman. This is a fact that nobody disputes. In what world is jumping someone else because they are following you minding your own business? I am 220 pounds and have 6% body weight – if I think someone is following me and not minding their business, I can jump them? What law are you thinking of? Then for whatever reason, Martin got into a fight with Zimmerman that included breaking Zimmerman’s nose and smacking the back of his head against the pavement. Again, minding your own business. Whatever.

    The whole mess was tragic and the events were set in motion by Zimmerman, but by trying to make this a civil rights case you are demeaning the real racism that occurs every day in this country. Not only that, trying to turn this into a racist incident just leads to many becoming far more skeptical about such a claim in the future. Why is it the Zimmerman case has gotten so much attention but this case (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/surveillance-video-shows-milwaukee-man-76-shooting-neighbor-boy-13-in-the-chest/2013/07/16/fbb97d24-ee76-11e2-bb32-725c8351a69e_story.html) which is likely a real racist incident does not get the same attention?

    Also, I’d point out your own prejudice. Stern held his nose when visiting Republicans? You seem amused by that but that smacks of prejudice as well – its basically demonizing the “enemy”. “Why can’t we all live with the freedoms we have been promised in our constitution?” How dare you ask that when you find Stern’s abhorrent behavior amusing (and thanks for letting us know Teri Washington’s views on that as well)? Until we all can decry prejudice in whatever form it takes (color, sexual orientation, political beliefs, economic position, etc.), you are just whistling into the wind. If you can’t even practice what you preach in your own article, why should I or anyone else bother listening to you?

    • The Facts? People didn’t want to know the facts of the case. Many chose to believe the distortions being told in the media (surprisingly except Fox News), and especially by MSNBC, Nancy Grace and Piers Morgan. No, people don’t want to acknowledge that Trayvon went out of his way to attack Zimmerman. I don’t think a young Obama was anything like Trayvon, besides the marijuana use.

      And why do we keep seeing photos of Trayvon when he was 12 years old, instead of photos of what George saw when he was being pummeled on the concrete. Trayvon was a successful 6′ plus HS Football linebacker. He was trained to bring down the “enemy”.

      And if Trayvon was White and armed, who shot a black man following him in a car as well as trying to locate him on foot while on the phone waiting for the police to arrive, then NO, the White Trayvon would NOT have been acquitted using the “Stand Your Ground” excuse. Obama is wrong, but there are plenty of injustices that Obama could have brought up while still apologizing for the unnecessary suffering that Zimmerman will be going through for the rest of his life.

      Lets not forget the black on black self defense of a woman who scared off her husband inside her own garage, who is now serving a 20 year sentence, despite “Stand Your Ground”. Not coincidentally the State’s Prosecutor was the same – Angela Corey, who many believe should be disbarred for aggressive activities and excessive penalties to both black and white.

  4. I trust you left that distinguished member of the Bar and found another. Perhaps more distinguished.

  5. David Stern cleaned up the NBA considerably, from the Allen Iverson times, but many white fans were already too far disinterested to return. Dave Bing and Kevin Johnson have been outstanding as Mayors of large cities and are race blind.

    As far as the Zimmerman trial, President Obama, who I support, ruined a chance to bring the country together. He obviously didn’t have time to watch ALL the facts of the Zimmerman trial (nor did most people who are now protesting), but probably got his information at night by watching (with his girls) the Biased Piers Morgan and Nancy Grace.
    Obama is under pressure by Al Sharpton (who has now ruined my former favorite station, MSNBC) and others to blame George for everything that is wrong, despite his total innocence. If Zimmerman didn’t have a gun (at the recommendation of his FBI Air Marshall friend), he would be Dead now, and Trayvon would be on murder trial (with no interest by the media). And Stand Your Ground was not involved in this case. Zimmerman would have been found Not Guilty in every State, as long as the Jury wasn’t biased.

    Obama should instead have told America to get past this case and leave George Zimmerman alone, and then switch (without mentioning if the roles were reversed) to what could be done to reduce crime by young blacks and have fairer sentencing (not for drug usage). Stand Your Ground is an insignificant part of the criminal system and is documented to help blacks as much as whites. Phony issue. And if Zimmerman was a Black Watch Captain, he might have received more hassle from the Police, but this never would have gone to trial, nor would the Sanford Police Chief have been fired.

    Once again a Blown opportunity by President Obama. No Federal charges can be brought against Zimmerman, because the Feds already interviewed 40 people going back to childhood, and they couldn’t find anything. Zimmerman even brought a Black Barbados girl to his High School Prom. And if the Martin’s take Zimmerman to Civil Court, the Attorneys will be able to unveil Trayvon’s checkered past with fighting (he was a skilled Linebacker), drugs and stolen jewerlry, and Stand Your Ground Would be allowed to be used by the defense. I believe the Martin’s will end up saying NO to the Special Interest Groups (calling for a Civil Trial) who are only interested in themselves.

    The truth hurts, but there are much better cases to fight the fight than Trayvon/Zimmerman.

    • Malcolm X IV says:

      What facts from the Zimmerman case are you speaking of sir?
      Your facts are the twisted & dishonest testimony of an White Male Hispanic wanna be Cop trying to cover his az !!! These are the facts : Trayvon was walking back to his father’s home with Skittles and a can of Ice Tea wearing a hoodie in the rain bothering nobody!
      Zimmerman is stalking him in a car with a loaded gun. Zimmerman is told NOT to leave his car and let the local Police handle what Zimmerman deemed suspicious – a Black Male with a hoodie boldly walking in his housing complex. Zimmerman told the Dispatcher that “they all get away – this one is NOT getting way.” He leaves his car to confront Trayvon who does NOT know who this wanna be Cop Clown is. Zimmerman initiates physical contact and kills an unarmed teenager who was NOT a danger to anyone. Wake Up!
      Race & Ignorance had everything to do with an overzealous Zimmerman and a NOT GUILTY verdict by an all white jury !!! For those who don’t want to come to grips with this premise – the same exact tragedy should visit your 17 yr old innocently walking home then tell me how you arrogantly feel !! WE ARE ALL TRAYVON !!!!!

      • jerry25 says:

        Like I said, you didn’t get your facts from the trial, but rather dishonest commentators like Al Sharpton (who I believe is now 0 for 4 in these Race baiting cases he decided to promote (going back to the 1980′s)).

        Fortunately there is mounds of evidence beginning with the 911 call by Georgie.
        George followed Trayvon by car, until it was no longer possible, so he attempted to follow by foot as he called non-emergency. This is confirmed by the timeline on Rachel’s cell phone. George was already at the farthest point from his car when (for liability reasons) the operator said “you don’t have to do that”. George had no legal obligation to listen, but he did anyway, and began walking back, while trying to locate an address so he could meet with police. It wasn’t very long after hanging up the phone, that a Stalking Trayvon (knowing George was off the phone) sneaked up on George and without giving him a chance to identify himself, brought GZ to the ground, like the capable Linebacker he was. There was never any hint that GZ had a concealed weapon (although GZ documented to police that TM may have had something on his waistband). There was an eyewitness 10-20 feet away from that point on. There was a second eyewitness hearing George’s screams. Then after Trayvon said “you’re going to die tonight”, GZ outdrew TM for the gun. There was also a 3rd witness who saw GZ struggling to get up from the wet grass and check to be sure TM wasn’t carrying a weapon.

        All you deniers of the truth have to fall back on is the initial statement, that “they always get away with it” George was correct in his thoughts. He had TM figured out by the way he was behaving, and any police officer would have been suspicious, after matching the description of those who were breaking into people’s house’s 2 weeks earlier.

        And there WAS 1 black member of the Jury.
        Find a better example to support your theory’s. This was known to be a bad example for over 15 months. We were tricked into being told that there was only 1 Scream, and not over 20 seconds of screaming for help. Withholding evidence by the Prosecution (Corey) is a serious crime.

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