I couldn't resist taking a moment of your time to speak about Rasheed Wallace's remarks in the daily Thursday morning. Repeatedly, Wallace used the street word to describe his race Ñ the N-word. Since he used it, I was going to do it, too, in this column.
But when my fingers hit the keys I just couldn't bring myself to type it. The word is distasteful to me, no matter if it comes from a black person or a white person. And just because Wallace used it doesn't mean it's right for me to use it. He is, quite frankly, a despicable fool.
Imagine, for a moment, that you're Paul Allen this morning. You've just heard that the guy you're paying $17 million per season to be a mediocre player say that the white establishment in the NBA is exploiting 'dumb-ass (N-word here).'
Oh, yes, Paul Allen lost $100 million just last season exploiting all those 'dumb-ass (N-word here)' to lose in the first round of the playoffs again.
Imagine, for a moment, you're David Stern, commissioner of the NBA. You've put together a system in which the players in the league are guaranteed half of the gross revenue of the teams, yet those players assume 0 percent of the risk or the expenses. But Wallace seems upset that you make more money than some of the players.
Earth to Rasheed: A good portion of the owners in this league are losing money.
Imagine, for a moment, you're Travis Outlaw. You're from a nice family, you're a little shy, and you're a rookie on the Trail Blazers, drafted out of high school. You are at the low end of the totem pole on the team, the butt of jokes and a social outcast because of your age.
And then you read where Wallace has said, 'In my opinion they just want to draft (N-word here) who are dumb and dumber Ñ straight out of high school. That's why they're drafting all these high school cats, because they come into the league and don't know no better. They don't know no better, and they don't know the real business, and they don't see behind the charade.
'They look at black athletes like we're dumb-ass (N-word here). It's as if we're just going to shut up, sign for the money and do what they tell us.'
Imagine you're Fatima Wallace, Rasheed's wife, and your husband didn't even realize that getting busted for marijuana possession might reflect poorly on his family until you told him.
Imagine, for a moment, you're someone in the black community who really has been the victim of racial prejudice. Who really has been exploited by the white establishment. But you've never had the opportunity to earn $17 million in a year. Or $1,700 in a month. How does this make you feel? Wouldn't you wish he'd use his very big spotlight to speak up on behalf of injustice against you and others like you, rather than millionaire athletes?
Imagine, for a moment, that you've bought season tickets to Trail Blazer games for years. In effect, you've been helping to pay Rasheed Wallace's hefty salary through his tirades, his technical fouls, his pouts and his throwing various objects at teammates. I would imagine, by now, you have your own ideas about who has been exploited in the life of Rasheed Wallace.
And now I'd like to ask you to imagine that you're Wallace. Can you imagine the kind of misplaced anger running through this person's mind? Can you imagine what has gone into making this person so bitter about his prosperous life?
I know he saw injustice in the neighborhood where he grew up. I know he saw exploitation. I know he must have some idea what those things are in real life. But he doesn't seem to understand that he's not a victim of those things. He has been protected, pampered, babied and catered to since people realized he not only was pretty good at putting a round ball into a round hole but also was going to be lucky enough to end up very tall.
I am so tired of having to listen to this man. I am so tired of his ignorance, bad manners and foul temper. I am so tired of his alibis, excuses and his lack of effort to be a great player and a great person.
And I imagine you are, too.