1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Rhoden Gives Isiah a Pass

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Boom_70, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    At a time when you would expect most columnist would be calling for Isiah Thomas's head, William Rhoden cuts him some slack:

    Sports of The Times
    When Steps Forward Become Steps Back
    During their weekly radio show on Thursday, Tiki and Ronde Barber briefly touched on Donovan McNabb’s remarks about black quarterbacks being criticized more than their white counterparts.

    The Barbers disagreed with McNabb, although they conceded that this may have been an issue in the 1970s. Ronde tried to think of the black quarterback who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers then, but drew a blank.

    A few minutes later, apparently using Google, he came up with the name: “Here’s the guy: Joe Gilliam.”

    The Barbers went on to mistakenly identify Gilliam as the N.F.L.’s first black quarterback. That distinction goes to Fritz Pollard, the Hall of Fame single-wing wizard who played in the 1920s, and in the modern era to quarterbacks like Willie Thrower and George Taliaferro.

    The Barbers are bright and entertaining, but how can two N.F.L. veterans not know — and know about — Joe Gilliam? How can you play football for four seasons at the University of Virginia and not know about Gilliam or Pollard? Given their lack of information and hence perspective, it made perfect sense that the Barbers would conclude that McNabb was off base. Their sense of history is limited.

    This brings me, in a roundabout way, to the horror show at Madison Square Garden, where Steve Mills, Anucha Browne Sanders and Isiah Thomas have treated a national audience to a spectacle that combines the worst elements of BET, Imus and “The Office.”

    How could they have allowed themselves to be placed in such a humiliating position?

    Unlike the Barbers, Mills, Thomas and Sanders do know history. They can appreciate how difficult it is for African-Americans to reach the executive suite, how difficult it is to stay there, and how important it is to do both.

    They’re better than this, and they know better than this.

    Over the years I have had far-reaching conversations about this with Thomas, Mills and Browne Sanders. Each at different times has expressed a consciousness about advancing the ball, making strides. Each is old enough, and wise enough, to appreciate the arduous journey to put minorities — especially African-Americans — in positions of power and authority.

    But they’ve been reduced to this: disclosures that Browne Sanders filed false tax returns for a nonexistent business, and Thomas’s twisted rationale that it’s O.K. for black men to disrespect black women, but not for white men to do the same.

    For all the hard questions being asked in court, I’d like to know if there was a way that Mills, the nominal captain of this team, could have made this work.

    I don’t have a major issue with James L. Dolan, the Garden’s chairman. For all the slings and arrows he receives, Dolan is one of the few chief executives in sports who puts diversity where his mouth is. Dolan hired, nurtured and promoted Mills; Mills hired Browne Sanders, then hired Thomas.

    All one has to do is flip through page after page of media guides — N.B.A., N.F.L., Major League Baseball — to see how rare this triumvirate was. Mills is the president of MSG Sports. Thomas is the Knicks’ coach and president of basketball operations. Sanders was a senior vice president for the Knicks before she was fired.

    These people do not operate in a historical vacuum. Each knows the historical significance of what they have achieved.

    When he was at Princeton, Mills wrote a paper about the history and political dimensions of the African-American athlete. In 1991, Arthur Ashe invited Browne Sanders to be part of a mentoring program at Madison Square Garden as part of his African-American Athletic Association. He called her the perfect role model. Thomas has nurtured young, so-called troubled players; when he starred with the Detroit Pistons, he pointed out double standards of the news media’s coverage of black and white athletes.

    On the other hand, maybe this train wreck at the Garden was inevitable. Perhaps the corporate monster gobbled up everyone’s nerve and consciousness and ability to focus on the larger picture. The daily fight to maintain one’s power raises troubling but real questions for Mills and perhaps more for Thomas in the rarefied air of corporate competition: Did you care about having other African-Americans flourish, or did you simply care about yourself? Did your own personal interest in getting ahead exceed your interest in making sure African-Americans were represented in the top echelons of a corporation that makes its money, in a significant way, off black athletes?

    In any event, we can look forward to another week of testimony, and I shudder to think of what’s coming next. I do know this: whatever the verdict, there are no winners — not the N.B.A., not the Garden, not Dolan.

    Mills and Thomas may hold on to their respective jobs. Browne Sanders may get her millions. But, trust me, this is a game that nobody wins.
  2. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    AP had an interesting take on it, using Lenny Bruce as a reference:

  3. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Imus was fired for a lot less and for this one we've not heard a peep from Rev Al.
  4. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    So where and how , exactly, Boom did Rhoden give Isiah a pass?
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    This one could set a record for quickest lock if the bullshit doesn't stop.

    That's not directed at spnited, who asked a legit question.
  6. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Anything short of a column not calling for termination of Thomas is a pass. Rhoden seemed more interested in taking our the Barber brothers for not knowing who Joe Gilliam was.
  7. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I do like the fact the judge is allowing all of the foul-mouthery to be played out in his court. Must make for great legal theater.
  8. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Not a big Tiki fan, but ripping him for not knowing who Joe Gilliam was? That's ridiculous.

    Very few people, put on the spot, could tell you who he was and when he played.

    Bad anecdotal lede.
  9. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    I agree, for Rhoden, this is a stern rebuke, an almost unheard of rebuke of an African American. On the other hand, had ED STEFANSKI conducted himself with the same lack of civility as Zeke had, and called a black woman a bitch, Rhoden would have personally burned Continental Arena down and looted a liquor store.
  10. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I have no idea what using thre Baraber brothers nonsense as an entry point to Isiah et al was about.
    But at no point after that did he not place responsibility for this fiasco on Thomas, Mills and Browne Sanders ... "This is a game that nobody wins."

    And I can think of a number of reasons Zeke could be fired but if Browne Sanders loses her lawsuit, what do you fire Thomas for, "false accusations" by a former employee?
  11. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Turn it around a bit: If she does win her lawsuit, should he be fired?
  12. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    The simple statement where Isiah said it was ok to refer to black women as bitches is enough for me.

    There is nothing false about that.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page