by E. Spencer Kyte, Bugs and Cranks
Due to a miscommunication and some stupidity on my part this post was published prematurely earlier today. It was still a work in progress at the time. What you see below is the complete version. Please give it a new look and accept my apologies for the error. -- The Editor
When in the hell are these athletes going to figure out that they are targets and running around until all hours of the morning is only going to bring adverse attention and problems?
I woke up Sunday morning to read on ESPN about Indiana Pacers Point Guard Jamaal Tinsley's cars getting shot up after leaving a club in the wee hours of the morning. No one was seriously injured and there was no indication that anything took place to provoke this attack. Tinsley was a victim.
That being said, what the hell is Jamaal Tinsley doing out at the club at 3:40 AM? The Pacers announced Monday that Tinsley will suffer no punishments from the team, but if I'm Larry Bird, I might suggest to Coach Jim O'Brien that he "rest" Jamaal for the next three games or so and see if he gets the message.
Think that's harsh and uncalled for? Hardly; this is a player who is set to appear in court any time soon on charges stemming from a previous nightclub altercation and his third such incident in the span of 14 months. Add to that that one of the members of Tinsley's group this past weekend was arrested for outstanding warrants and you see why a little "time to think on the bench" wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Jamaal Tinsley isn't the sole athlete in need of a slap upside his head. There are many others, not to mention the likes of Michael Vick and Pacman Jones who needed such a slap years ago apparently.
The Staal Brothers - Eric, Mark and Jordan - of NHL fame also need a good smack, as their antics this past summer at Eric's Bachelor Party landed them in the tank overnight with fines to pay the next morning. I'm sure I've done the same, if not worse things in any number of establishments without Police Incident. The difference is that I'm a nobody and people aren't overly jealous of my success...
If you're an athlete, just like if you're a movie star or rock star, people know who you are, what you're worth and some are inherently jealous. Jealously can make people do horrible things. It's time for our athletes to wise up and put themselves in better situations.
But here is where it becomes an even bigger issue to me. This is also where I might get myself into a little trouble, so I'll let it be known that the views expressed in this piece do not reflect those of Epic Carnival and it's operators in any way.
At the time of Sean Taylor's tragic shooting, many criticized the media types who were quick to jump to conclusions about Taylor's previous lifestyle "catching up with him" and failing to fully acknowledge he was a victim. While those media types owe Taylor and his family a massive apology, incidents such as this show where the cynicism comes from.
SLAM Magazine recently ran an article about ex-Pacer Stephen Jackson, where they detailed the life he has led and more or less say he's not the bad guy he is portrayed to be. I don't know Jackson from Adam and we have come from very different circumstances in life, but regardless of what SLAM Magazine tries to tell me, I have a hard time accepting someone who (a) went into the crowd at The Palace and fought fans (b) carries a loaded handgun in his car everywhere he goes and (c) has a tattoo of praying hands clutching a handgun on his abdomen as wholly misunderstood because of a couple transgressions.
That applies to Tinsley, Pacman, Rafer Alston and anyone else who has been in a series of violent altercations that grown men should know better than to be involved in, especially rich grown men. Money brings attention, often times negative attention, especially when people know who you are.
As such, the cynicism I spoke to earlier forms in some, myself included, whenever we hear or read of a situation like this, which I will say is unfortunate. More unfortunate is that in too many cases the cynicism is validated.
I'm not, nor should anyone be saying that Jamal Tinsley got what he deserved or was at fault for getting shot at. What I am saying is that Tinsley put himself in a situation that didn't need to happen in the first place and it happens all too often with athletes these days. What possible good can come from being out on the town at 3:40 AM?
At The Starting Five, commenter Imhotep stated:
If someone had shot at Steve Nash under similar circumstances, we would be talking about how many criminals are running lose, and that there is no respect for the law. And how a decent person like Nash cannot go out and enjoy himself. Let’s extend the same courtesy to Tinsley.I agree completely that we would be talking about different things if this incident was to have involved Steve Nash. The reason that is, in my view, is that Steve Nash doesn't have a history of violent incidents late at night coming out of the bar, while Tinsley does.
Tinsley, and all athletes for that matter, should look at the fact that their peers like Eddy Curry, Antoine Walker and Philip Buchanon were all assaulted and robbed in their own homes simply because they are millionaires, not to mention that we are barely two weeks removed from the tragic shooting that resulted in the death of Sean Taylor in his own home during a robbery. Couple that with Tinsley's prior incidents - one of which he will be going to trial for January 14 - and to me that should be enough to make Jamal Tinsley think twice about being out around Indianapolis during the early morning hours. Tinsley acknowledged this himself Monday.
Let me throw this analogy out there:
When I was growing up in Southern Ontario, I was a huge Red Wings fan (still am) and Bob Probert had a series of incidents involving bars, booze and cocaine. As such, if Bob Probert was to be involved in an incident leaving a bar at, say, 3:40 AM where he was completely free of blame, I would still ask the question "Why the hell was Bob Probert in a bar at 3:40 AM? He should know better than that." So too should Jamaal Tinsley.
Here is the other thing that I can't get out of my head: sadly, incidents like this seem to more often than not involve Black athletes. I'm not saying that as an "Us white folks don't get into shit like this" statement, but as a "Why the hell do these things keep happening to young, black athletes?"
Some of these athletes try to maintain an impossible dichotomy - being true to the 'hood and still one of the boys from the block when they are 180 degrees away from that lifestyle. They are now the haves and more often than not, the have-nots don't look fondly on them, no matter where they are from.
Extending that further, yes, the life they lived and the circumstances they came from may have been varying degrees of adverse, but again, that is not the case now. They aren't broke, struggling and living in the ghetto; they are millionaires, getting paid copious amounts of money to play a game and live in luxury.
This brings to mind observations Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat made following the incident. Paraphrasing, it was something along the lines of why pull out a big roll of hundreds when you can pay with a credit card just as easily? And why go out with a $150K necklace dangling around your neck?
Sadly, the answer is to show off how rich they are and no one likes a show off. I learned that in Kindergarten.
These are my thoughts and they are far from the final word on this topic. In fact, I hope they aren't as this is a topic I think needs to be discussed. As such, I look forward to your comments.
by E. Spencer Kyte, Bugs and Cranks