Who is the man you loathe most in the world for, in your view, injecting race into every issue?
No, no. Besides me.
That's right, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the coiffed and loquacious civil rights activist who has never met a microphone he didn't love. Turns out the Rev. Al has once again insinuated himself into a fray — and he has injected race into it. Yet, I dare you to disagree with him.
Sharpton is urging the law and NBA Commissioner David Stern to come down hard on the two pro basketball players who, by one account, drew on each other with guns in their locker room at the Verizon Center in Washington. It's unlikely that Stern's indefinite suspension of Gilbert Arenas without pay will send a strong enough message throughout the league.
When black men are killed in gun violence with such frequency that there's a real-life television show focusing on the subsequent investigations — ever see A&E's "The First 48"? — the idea of two multimillionaire black athletes illegally packing and pulling heat is especially lamentable.
Arenas, who last year signed a $100 million deal with the Washington Wizards — a team that changed its name, remember, from the Bullets because of the violent connotation — contends it was merely "a misguided effort to play a joke" on his teammate when he placed the unregistered, "unloaded" guns in a chair next to Javaris Crittenton's locker.
That's hilarious, Gilbert. Wanna bet that more people are killed by supposedly unloaded guns — as in "oops, I forgot one was in the chamber" — than by loaded guns? Former NBA star Jayson Williams — not the one who played at Duke — is still awaiting trial for killing his limo driver in 2002 while playing with an "unloaded" gun.
Of the Arenas incident, Sharpton said, "If it had been a white player pointing a gun at a black player, there would have been much more of an uproar."
The Rev is being hyperbolic, because the Internet lists more than 50,000 results for the alleged Christmas Eve incident. What Sharpton meant is that, had the races of the gunmen been different, there'd have been more of an uproar from fellow black leaders. He was acknowledging that a double standard exists among some in that fraternity.
A Northeastern University study for the years 2000-2008 and Justice Department statistics show that homicides in America are down for every segment of the population except one: young black males. Rarely, however, does one of these homicides garner the attention of our leaders, except when the alleged perp is white or a cop.
To whom do many of these young black men look up?
That's right: wealthy black athletes like Arenas who, by virtue of prodigious talents, are venerated without accountability. Sharpton is demanding accountability on their part, and other so-called leaders should join him in demanding it from all black dudes, regardless of their ability to nail a 3-pointer.
You can go back to loathing the Rev. Al tomorrow. Today, though, you should say "Amen, Rev."