Monday, May 28, 2007

Lebron James Could Care Less ABout Rape In Darfur


i give you Ira Newblism, the new socially tapped in CAV
stolen from that fat ass ex-TAB sodapaperwriter
Larry Durstin, writer of great wit and prose
for "single fat guys everywhere guide"

Ira Newble Eyes Detroit and... Darfur?


The Smirking Chimpby Larry Durstin | May 22 2007 - 3:50pm

With the Cleveland Cavaliers heading into an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with the hated Detroit Pistons, fans can expect the usual analyses and yak-yak to dominate the non-stop reporting over the next week or so.

Can LeBron James establish himself as the heir apparent to Michael Jordan by lifting his team past the experienced and heavily favored Pistons? Will Detroit coach Flip Sanders be able to flick off his record as a playoff flop? What kind of new dance steps will Damon Jones come up with for pre-game introductions? How long will it take for TNT analyst Charles Barkley to trash the city of Cleveland? According to the Ohio Legislature, should the Cavalier Girls be lumped into the same legal category as strippers?

This year, however -- courtesy of veteran Cavalier reserve Ira Newble -- there may be another topic introduced into the predictable discourse: the genocide in Darfur. As first reported this month by Plain Dealer Cavs beat writer Branson Wright, Newble is leading an effort to get signatures on an open letter to the government of China regarding its investments and business dealings in Sudan -- where hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions have become refugees in Darfur Province. Newble's letter urges China "to use all available diplomatic resources and economic pressure to end the agony of Darfur, and to secure access for U.N. peace support personnel."

"I've been aware of political and social issues around the world," said Newble after practice the other afternoon at the Q. "But this is the first time I've ever acted on it. This issue sort of reached out to me and I decided to help."

Surprisingly, Newble's effort has garnered a significant amount of publicity with stories in the New York Times, New York Sun, Sports Illustrated and on CNN. Yesterday morning, it was the subject of a commentary on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters" and that network also plans to give the story more coverage during the playoffs. Not surprisingly, the thrust of most of this coverage has been directed at Newble's teammate James, who has chosen not to sign the letter, and the question as to why today's athletes -- as compared to the numerous sports figures 30 or 40 years ago who were social activists -- seem so reluctant to speak out on anything controversial.

"A lot of the guys are young, 22 or 23 and when I was that age I didn't care too much about what was going on," said Newble. "Others feel that you have to be careful what you speak out about. There are consequences if people don't like what you say... contracts, marketing deals. Look what happened to Craig Hodges."

Hodges was a member of the world champion Chicago Bulls of the early '90s. When the team was honored at the White House in '91, Hodges handed a letter to President George H.W. Bush that reportedly protested the conditions in urban America. Shortly thereafter, Hodges was out of the league and has consistently maintained that he was blacklisted because of that letter.

Now that may or may not be the only reason Hodges found himself out of a job, but what can't be denied is that the number of professional athletes who take unpopular stands on divisive issues can practically be counted on the fingers of one hand. The Washington Wizards Etan Thomas spoke at a large anti-war rally in 2005, Steve Nash came out against the Iraqi War in 2003, and Golden State's Adonal Foyle started a group in 2002 called Democracy Matters to educate young people on political matters and governmental corruption. As far a basketball players go, that's about it.

James, who said he didn't sign the letter because he doesn't know enough about the issue, is a global icon who has designs on becoming a billionaire and is being heavily marketed in the Far East. His fellow Cav non-signee, Damon Jones, has his shoe contract with a Chinese company.

Arguably, there may be monetary factors at play in their unwillingness to become involved in this particular issue, but whatever the reasons, the silence of today's athletes on social ills is deafening.

"You talk to players today about the perils of speaking out and it hangs over their heads like a cyst," writes Dave Zirin in his book, What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. "Sports and left-wing politics don't mix."

But here in Cleveland, Ira Newble has decided to mix it up a bit and take a stand, saying, "I'm new to this, but I want to make sure I'm pretty well-versed so that I can't be accused of not knowing what I'm talking about. That's important."

It's also going to be a tough sell in the world of predominantly me-first players, perpetually fevered fans and a perennially cynical media. When I informed one of the Cavs beat writers about Newble's comments, he said, "That letter is a joke."

I guess he thinks the pre-game dancing of Damon Jones is a serious matter.

Darfur ?
This country has no fossil fuels to pillage for the CheneyCorporation, who cares what the Muslims do here as long as it does not intrude on basketball, the playoffs and the rising cost of oil where there current presidential figureheads make their billions and billions of bucks...


1 comment:

Kyle said...

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