What up world? This Earl screaming Happy Halloween at y’all. While I’m not into the Halloween thing, I never did care for it to be honest, I know a good bit of the world is so, Happy Halloween. This week I’ll keep it Halloween themed and talk about things that are black and orange. You with it? If so: let’s do this!
This week Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had to respond to criticisms that “he isn’t black enough”. The Seahawks might be the defending Super Bowl Champions but they have been scuffling along this young season, and there have been reports of locker room riffs. It should be noted that these riffs also existed last season, but since winning cures all, we haven’t heard about them. Now that the team is struggling, a lot of things are coming to light. Mike Freeman of the Bleacher Report, reported that according to unnamed Seahawks players, Wilson might be too close to management for those players comfort and that such actions paint him as “being not black enough”.
For those of you who are new to the blog, I am a black man. I’m a black man that earned a Masters Degree some nine years ago, and has been gainfully employed since then. I’ve been called “well spoken” on several occasions, and I’ve been called other code words that were meant to question my “blackness”. Safe to say I’m sickened that in 2014, this is still a topic of discussion. I’m downright pissed off by it to be honest. However, this is also a time in our history where a show like Black-ish is thriving on television, and a movie called Dear White America can exist at the box office. Racism, racial discussion, and trading off on racial stereotypes is alive. Very alive.
So, while I am pissed off, I’m far from surprised that once again the issue is dragged through the sports pages. Russell shouldn’t have to face these issues. He is well spoken, and he’s well educated, but is he any different than Peyton Manning who also has a college degree and is also well spoken? Also, I’m very disappointed in Mike Freeman for even reporting this (I have to note that Freeman disspelled the “not black enough: notion but why even go there?). While I’m not a blogger for Bleacher Report, and while 7Poundbag aspires to be at level of a Bleacher Report, I do consider myself a blogger (albeit it’s not how I make my living . . . thank goodness!!) I do understand there is a responsibility in the words I choose to post online. There’s got to be a sensibility to what I attach my name to. Placing your name in context with the same well worn racist bullshit is just alarming. In my 32 years I’ve been confronted by racism, and in my years to come, I know I’ll keep fighting that good fight against racism, but damn when does it come to an end?
When will the day come, where people like Russell Wilson, won’t be called an Uncle Tom? Yeah, I’m going there. If you question a man’s blackness, what do you think you’re doing? You’re more or less calling him an Uncle Tom, no? Am I wrong? Do I not get it, or do I get it? So while I applaud Charles Barkley, Stephen A. Smith, and teammate Richard Sherman coming to Russell’s defense, and as I type this (the blog posts on Friday and I’m typing this portion of it on Monday the 27th) I can’t help but shake my head at this nonsense. Not only place all the blame on Seattle’s struggles on the one player who is actually playing well for the team, but question his identity in the process? Things ain’t getting better folks. Welcome to America…
Moving on from a black man, I’ll move on to a group of black men who wear black and orange: the Phoenix Suns. The Suns just missed out on the NBA Playoffs this year, but now they’re back and attempting to break into the top 8 in the West. However, that might be a task too tall for them. While I like the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, and I really like Eric Bledsoe, I’m just not sure the Suns added the one player that can push them over the top.
Let’s look at the Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs are the defending NBA Champions, and appear to be a lock to at least go deep in the playoffs this season. The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are also well suited to make the playoffs. You can also add the Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets to that list. So, in my humble opinion we can slot those 6 teams in. Then we have the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA MVP, is out with an injury until December. The team’s second best player, Russell Westbrook, had to leave the game against the Clippers with a hand injury. If both of those two miss significant time, you could see the Thunder fall out of the playoff hunt but if both of those guys return before Christmas and the rest of the team can hang on then you can slot the Thunder in as well.
So that leaves one spot up for grabs. The Memphis Grizzlies, the occupier of that slot last season, may very well get in but when you have a team like the Suns around, you have the New Orleans Pelicans led by Anthony Davis around, and you can’t really count out a resurgence by the Denver Nuggets then you see just how loaded the Western Conference is.
If you look at the Western Conference, and it’s 15 teams, you’ve got at least 11 teams fighting for 8 spots (I’m counting out the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, and Sacramento Kings as having no shot. Sorry). The Suns won 48 games last season and just missed qualifying. If the Suns played in the East they would have had the 3rd seed. That’s just how good the West is, and how weak the East is. So while I do like Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, and Isaiah Thomas as a point guard tri-fecta this team missed one big opportunity to land a big man to take them over the top. Yes, the Suns did make a Kevin Love inquiry, and Love ended up in Cleveland, but without that big man, or that one player that can really transform a team, I don’t think the Suns have enough to get it done.
Sticking with the orange and black theme let me check in with a team that wears black and that team is the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. Before the season started I told you they would suck eggs, and boy does it feel good to be right. The Raiders are the only winless team in the NFL and looking at their schedule you’d be a bit hard pressed to find where that win will come from. Before the season started the team hoped that their free agent signings of James Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Justin Tuck would pay off but so far the vets haven’t produced. The future is bright though. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t played poorly at all. He looks like he might have the goods, but this team needs help in a lot of places. They already fired their head coach in Dennis Allen, they’ll likely fire their general manager in Reggie McKenzie after the season and they’re heavily linked to former Raiders head coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden. Maybe throwing a ton of money at Gruden and giving him total autonomy would be the best thing to do.
The Raiders need a football man that can isolate himself from ownership, and just focus on the job of building the team. Gruden being away from the sidelines for so long, but still deeply involved in the game, should have the proper persepective in identifying everything that is wrong with this team. He could be their miracle man. However, whatever the Raiders do after the season they need to hit a homerun. Settling for second or third level talent got them in this mess. Spend the money. Go for the Coach or G.M. with a proven record and resurrect the shipwreck that is the Oakland Raiders. It’s time for the rebirth of the Committment to Excellence brand that has suffered for so long.
Finally sticking with orange and black, a tip of the cap goes out to the World Series Champions the San Francisco Giants. Yeah, I was rooting for the Kansas City Royals so I’m bummed the Royals lost Game 7 at home but if they were going to lose, at least they lost to the new dynasty that is the Giants. The Giants have now won three World Series in 5 years (they also won in 2010, and 2012). San Francisco are the kings of baseball and it’s a designation they deserve. It’s a franchise that was built from the ground up, full of homegrown talent, and it’s well managed. They run a franchise the way it’s supposed to be run, and many teams in sports (not just baseball) can learn from their example. So, tip your hat to the kings of Major League Baseball the San Francisco Giants. Well deserved.
I’m done. Be careful out there on Halloween y’all. Make sure your candy ain’t tampered with. If you partying keep safe, and until next week: peace.
Tiny URL for this post: