Just a Bunch of Josh Howard Talkin'

I suppose I could see the Josh Howard video (you know the one) as an Artest-like, "enough is enough" moment for me as a advocate. Like you can only defend, or love, or deny, so much when you're not bound to someone by blood or marriage—or hell, even know him at all.

Then I got going with the whole "like I actually give a fuck" thing, the same emotion I felt when, behind the scenes, bloggers were debating the validity—and worth in posting—the supposed Beasley/Chalmers photo. The court of public opinion is of interest to me, but insofar as I'm first and foremost someone who enjoys the league, Beasley puffing or Howard not being a patriot just wouldn't bother me that much.

But then I started to think it through: There's the question of context. Howard is definitely emotional about his politics, and a lot smarter than his rashness sometimes lets on. Everything in digital form eventually finds its way onto the web. And Obama's name is in there, which pretty much requires someone step in and untangle the web of meaning. If there's one thing I've learned from this political season, it's that you can never assume, or expect, too little.

So here are the official FreeDarko Talking Points on the Latest Josh Howard Matter:

-There was humor to it. It was uttered in front of a video camera before a flag football game, in a mood best described as "goofy"

-I am not suprised that some African-Americans have some animosity toward the United States of America. Are you?

-Millions of dollars doesn't change certain feelings, at least in people who cared deeply about them beforehand. If Howard had been angry, and wasn't now, we'd call him a sell-out.

-There are some things that you say among your own, that you wouldn't necessarily say in mixed, or more formal, company. Are we all non-stop liars and deceivers, hiding our true selves and living under frost?

-No shit Obama's support in the black community benefits from widespread frustration therein. Rage, even. That doesn't mean, though, that Obama himself is made of black rage. That's what we call a syllogism, and it's faulty.

-Yes, for athletes and celebrities there's no such thing as private anymore. Everything in a digital format will eventually find its way onto the interwebs. Josh Howard forgot that, and it's only going to add to his woes.

-But it's not like other athletes don't say, or feel things like this. And while you can say that they should keep it to themselves, and leave it out of the workplace, is the problem Howard's mouth or his attitudes?

-So ridicule Howard if you will, or praise him. Call him a buffoon, a throwback, or an inadvertent combination of the two. It's up to you whether this is an embarrassing gaffe or a damning utterance, a gotcha moment or some loaded shit-talking. All I know is that, if this surprises you at all, you don't know much about this country. Or about Josh Howard's inability to reconcile straight talk and public relations.

-Howard needs to sit down with Barkley. If Barkley would even be possible these days. Maybe John Thompson, for this more subtle age.

-Bottom line: Josh Howard is that player who speaks up. If you bitch about the post-MJ blandness of LeBron and, more recently, Melo, then stand up and think about this situation all its sloppy, inflammatory imperfection.

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At 9/17/2008 12:37 AM, Blogger Jack Barnett said...

Where can I find this "moment"? The Web moves much faster than i....

At 9/17/2008 12:41 AM, Blogger K.C. said...

Right here, jack:

At 9/17/2008 1:28 AM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

There's also a storied tradition in humor, i.e. "I don't do _____, I'm black." Things like camping, listening to certain comparatively unblack music, ad infinitum.

That's the real problem with the Internet. You can't make a fuckin joke anymore without everybody going apeshit.

At 9/17/2008 3:09 AM, Blogger db said...

Totally true j.o.. Though on Obama Big Earl's advice comes to mind:


At 9/17/2008 9:56 AM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

Very nice link, db.

At 9/17/2008 10:14 AM, Blogger goathair said...

The biggest gaffe was the Melo Ravens jerseys. Those things are hideous.

More importantly, Shoals is entirely right. It's not surprising that a young black man would feel that way (even if it was in a joking manner, which it seemed). It is a little surprising that a celebrity would be unaware that anything being taped is ending up on YouTube. Dude needs a media coach or something.

At 9/17/2008 2:23 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Not surprised some black men feel that way, but am surprised that a professional athlete does. Where would he rather live? Major league professional athletes in the big team sports in early 21st century America are among the luckiest people ever born. More money, free time, and adulation than 99.9999% of people who have ever lived.

At 9/17/2008 2:33 PM, Blogger Ian said...

I'm guessing here that you're an American, so I'd say the life you lead is more comfortable than 99.8% of every human that's ever lived on earth. More money and free time than just about anyone else has ever had.

Josh Howard's relative comfort does not change the fact that he's dissapointed in a country that has for hundreds of years denied his people basic human rights.

At 9/17/2008 2:47 PM, Blogger Ethanator1088 said...

Ian, I believe we live in a country and time that that comment has ran its course.

Look who is saying the statement, and how privileged he is. Look who he supports for president, and how privileged he is.

His disappointment has little to do with the fact that things have changing and people have died for his right to be disappointed. He needs to direct his disappointment towards something else. Maybe he can become a politician or something.

The flag represents everything good in the country. It represents Obama being the Democratic presidential nominee. It represents all of the things he takes for granted.

He has no respect, and I chalk it up to ignorance, and I think that is, sadly, what he is standing against.

At 9/17/2008 2:51 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Mr. Howard is free to compose his thoughts on the shameful aspects of the country's history. But saying that his race permits a juvenile protest of the national anthem does nobody any good, and it will warm racist hearts because they can use it to justify their worldview. I guarantee you that racists who feel obligated to hate the NBA will see this and smile. Really, there is no reason to make excuses for it.

At 9/17/2008 3:04 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

I hope he doesn't get Mahmoud Abdul-Raufed.

At 9/17/2008 3:06 PM, Blogger Ethanator1088 said...

Well said Bill.

Not standing at attention for the Anthem is just lazy, cowardly, and as I said very disrespectful.

If he was just joking around, I would still call it disrespectful and ignorant.

If he is serious, I would like him to do this. From now on when they sing the national anthem at one of his NBA games he should turn his back and look at the crowd instead.

Goofing around at a touch flag football game is one thing, but actually taking a stand is another.

I am sorry for sounding like an extremist, but I do not just act American on national holidays like the 4th of July. It is something that my family has fought for.

I will never think that it is OK to disrespect the flag, or Anthem. We are all very Blessed to live here. (White, Black, Orange, Yellow, Blue etc... )

At 9/17/2008 6:54 PM, Blogger kellex said...

Howard is just a jackass. The sad thing is, we make a big deal out of him being a jackass because he's a professional athlete.

Let's hope it was just a joke as the National Anthem stands for quite a few things that should not be disrespected.

Go Obama! Bitches!

At 9/17/2008 7:12 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

This whole "was it or wasn't a joke" is misleading. Something can be a joke and have an element of seriousness to it. Unless you think he's making fun of black people who don't love their country.

It's possible for people to intelligently disagree. Telling me that it "should not be disrespected" is different than weighing all that's good about this country against the darker parts of past (and present).

At 9/18/2008 2:13 AM, Blogger Jason Gill said...

I don't think that this is a big deal. Everyone who condemns him for this is contributing to the same jingoist thread that runs through the Patriot Act. The guy who was walking around video taping people was being disrespectful to the people there and the woman singing, not DH.

SAYING things like this does not have to be, and is not, an inherently political act. If this man pays his taxes and exists as a law abiding citizen in his country (and about marijuana? well I'll pardon him if Bush won't) then that is enough.

Condemning him for expressing his opinion is far, far, FAR more un-"American," than DHoward muttering some ill intentioned joke or weakly inflammatory statement.

At 9/18/2008 2:49 AM, Blogger O said...

Thanks given to Josh Howard for speaking some common sense. I doubt he was joking, despite the laughs.

B Obama might be an inspiring and credible presidential candidate, but he's still a politician. If he's already showing his campaign fund loyalties, it's not gonna get any better once he's president. That doesn't mean he can't be a good President, but it means that he's not a superhero.

And while his popolarity amongst black voters is historical, there are a hell of a lot of unregistered black voters who have been historically and systematically misrepresented in American legislation and government, and they could care less about Barrack Obama and the office he's vying for.

Who cares if someone takes the pledge of allegiance seriously or not? If your idea of patriotism is symbolic gesturing and support of financially driven and illegal wars, you got a lot more to worry about than Josh Howard.

My words, not J Howards'.

At 9/18/2008 8:33 AM, Blogger Ethanator1088 said...

Mr. Shoals.

In response, I would like to say that I do not think it is up for debate.

You mentioned "Telling me that it "should not be disrespected" is different than weighing all that's good about this country against the darker parts of past (and present)."

I believe that the flag and anthem do not stand for pros and cons. I believe they stand for all that is good to each individual person.

If anyone wants to weigh the pros and cons, I believe they should do that with their vote. I believe the should protest, but not against the flag and anthem which gives them the right to protest. I respect everyone's views, but I can believe they are misguided.

P.S. I love the blog, and I did not mean any disrespect.

At 9/18/2008 9:24 AM, Blogger torgo said...

ethanator, I have to disagree about the flag. you claim it is a symbol of all that is well and good about America, but it's just that, a symbol, and symbols are interpreted differently by those who see them. In America, every time someone is pulled over for driving while black, the flag is right there on the police officer's uniform. The flag is the symbol of a system that (and I don't want to start this shitstorm) is perceived by many of the people who live in America to be, if not actively trying to prevent them from succeeding, then at least a symbol of a system that does little to nothing to help them improve their lives. Your experiences with the nation and flag seem to be positive ones. Other people might not share those views.

To be a bit more blunt, the flag doesn't give them rights, nor does the anthem. They are, again, symbols of the system that, while it does contain the constitution which grants rights, it also contains rules and laws that, if not explicitly racist, certainly cause disproportionate difficulty to some groups at the expense of others.

At 9/18/2008 10:28 AM, Blogger Ethanator1088 said...

I am going to respectfully walk away from the discussion, as I am not black.

I have already made all my points.

In its purest form, the flag and anthem stand for this country, the people that have died for it, and the rights that they died for.

If people want to see it as another symbol, I can not control that. I believe they should take the former into account though.

At 9/18/2008 12:29 PM, Blogger Buddha Bob said...

I work with numbers all day, so the bottom line tells me what I really need to know.

Same with your blog post. Agreed with it completely and the bottom line is what I care about.
Does he entertain me after I spend 60hrs a week working? Yes. Both on the court and it seems of the court as well.

Role models? Your mama might be a good role model but any person who thinks that half literate (not as much Howard but in general) athletes who have been coddled through high school, college and then the pros should be a role model for kids maybe should spend more time with their kids.

Do I like watching AI? Of course. Do I want my son to be like him? No. I'd like him to have more than a grade 4 vocabulary.
But AI's job is to entertain me.
No different than the circus clown or trained seal at the zoo.
I pay: you perform.

I dont have time for puratinical navel gazers indignation.

And what the hell is it with the anthem? Before a 6 years olds soccer game? Really? Is it an international match? is it so you can remember were you are at that moment? Anthem before a flag football game?

The last group that loved their symbols and anthem that much were the fucking germans.

At 4/13/2009 2:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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