Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stepping Up For Change in Egypt

I have been watching the coverage of the protests in Egypt for the last few days but I didn’t want to give an opinion because I wasn’t sure if the President Mubarak was going to start feeling desperate and order the army or police to start hurting people and turn the whole event into a tragedy. There is still a chance of that happening because it’s not going to be easy for him to give up thirty years of power without fighting for it. I hope that doesn’t happen because the unity and dedication of the Egyptians have been quite inspiring. I know there have been some deaths and foolish looting that’s only going to take away from the message of the people but I have been quite impressed. There’s been Christians and Muslims out there walking side by side. I have seen shots of the soldiers in the military standing on top of their vehicles and cheering on the protesters.

One thing that looks apparent to me since this started is that the Egyptians seem to be putting their differences and status aside for the greater good of democracy and a better situation for all. They seem to be saying that if we all get up and work hard everyday we shouldn’t be struggling as much as we are and our government needs to change in order to change that. The people want to have a voice. Things can be complicated when you try to bring about change on this scale. There’s some people who like the status quo who will do things to end the movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if the lack of law and order over the next few days made the citizens start turning on one another for safety reasons but at least they let their voices be heard and brought attention to their struggle.

I can’t think of anything that would make people do this in America other than aliens invading and taking over. That would be the only way we would like at one another in a common vein to join as one and take a stand. When the people in control of things in our country don’t do things to make us all prosperous we blame the people who aren’t prosperous like it’s their fault. The police would be out spraying water on the homeless or people in public housing and other people who are one paycheck away from being in the same situation would be cheering it on. Just look at our military. Every day I see images from the Middle East of our military and it includes people from different races, gender, religions, etc. Those same people out there fighting for our country can come home and see, hear, or read someone blaming people with their background for destroying the same country they are fighting for.

The strange thing is that as much as that angers me, we still got the best deal out there compared to these other countries and that’s what the Egyptians are trying to get. It might be a challenge for U.S foreign policy if the wrong person comes into power but democracy isn’t easy. If that’s what the Egyptians choose then we just have to deal with it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sitting On My Porch Part Sixty Two

Last night I had decided I was boycotting the State of the Union address by President Obama. I just wasn’t in the mood for being inspired. Earlier during the day I had been really upset about the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar who was sentenced to ten days of jail for fraud after she used a family member’s address to send her kids to a better school outside of her neighborhood in Akron Ohio. I didn’t think that story would piss me off as much as it did. I must be hanging around kids too much these days. I don’t condone her breaking any laws. I was just heartbroken that she had to put her freedom on the line just to try and save her kids from a substandard education. The judge laid down the law like she went on a crime spree when she was just trying to be a good parent. Make her pay the tuition she should have, fine her or expel the kids from the school and send them back to the hood if you feel the need to but don’t send the lady to jail and try to kill her future career. After reading about that all day I was in no mood to hear the president’s inspirational words that don’t seem to be making it down to real America.

There’s a strange bi-product going on around the country since President Obama was elected. Most black people tell themselves that they don’t expect him to be just our president and that’s true. He’s the president of the country for everyone. At the same time there have been these local stories here and there that seem to be racially motivated but none of the so call leaders we have seem to be saying anything because they are trying not to hurt the president. A school system in North Carolina reversed the desegregation of their schools and there’s been hardly anything said about it. If the sheriff in Jena Louisiana would have locked up the Jena Six in 2009 or 2010 they would have probably still been in there because no one would have went down there to rally.

While I didn’t watch the speech live I did read up on it later and I noticed a lot of people in Louisiana were upset that the president didn’t mention the oil spill or offshore drilling. When will people understand that modern politics is all about independent voters and swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania? The president knows that even if he came down here and handed out the offshore drilling licenses himself the people in this state still won’t vote for him. There was no need to mention us in his speech. Our electoral votes have already been counted for his unnamed opponent two years from now.

One thing America could improve in is trying to understand what a person does or says based on their perspective. When George W. Bush was president I knew his dad had been president and that he made money working in the oil industry. He could have done the first 30 minutes of his state of the union address on the benefits of oil and offshore drilling and I wouldn’t have been the least bit shocked. I would have thought he was wrong and delusional. I may have even called him stupid but not part of an evil plot to destroy the world. Even without the tragedy in Arizona there are thousands of people dying from assault weapons throughout the country and most of them are young and brown. Would it had really been a socialist plot to kill freedom if the president had mentioned gun control last night? Even if you have ten guns in your home and haven’t murdered anyone, wouldn’t it be understandable if a man that started his public service working in Chicago where there are a lot of issues with gangs and violence just mentioned that gun control and illegal weapons was something we should at least have a discussion about? Maybe he wouldn’t bring it up to destroy the second amendment and come and take everyone’s guns. He could just be concerned with young men dying where he comes from. We have to stop discussing issues like everyone in the country came from the same neighborhood, in the same state with the same amount of money and access.

Monday, January 24, 2011

On This Same Day Last Year

This happened........

Congratulations Green Bay and Pittsburgh. We'll be back next season.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Weekend Vibe: Lauryn's Coming To The Jazz Festival

It’s late Saturday morning now and I am finished with my favorite weekend breakfast of eggs sunny side up, toast, and CDM coffee. There’s no college football today so I am out of excuses for not getting up and getting out of the house. I will be going to a kids party later which is pretty much the worst thing ever. Between the work and news it’s been a rough and tiring two weeks. Despite everything going on we got through our deadlines at the office and things are well. Last night I went to the Mentoring Children of Promise annual banquet and saw some great kids. They let me know that all is not lost when it comes to the youth in our community. Everything isn’t good either but as long as the possibility to turn things around is there we have a shot at doing it.

Another thing that took place this week was the announcement of the acts for this years New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It features the local favorites along with larger worldwide acts like Bon Jovi. The festival gets bigger every year by combining the local flavor along with major acts to draw in more people. That doesn’t bother me. The only draw back is the ticket prices but I guess you have to spend money to have a good time. I spend about the same amount of money to get into the Essence Festival. The only difference is the Essence Fest has air conditioning, no mud on the ground, and if it rains we’re in the Superdome drinking and having a good time so it doesn’t make everybody wet and miserable.

Lauryn Hill is listed as one of the performers for this years Jazz Fest. Ms. Hill is a legend for my generation despite not releasing a lot of music in the last ten years. Her album the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of my top five albums of all times. She also had those classic Fugees records but I don’t expect she will be performing any of that during the Jazz Fest. After she released her first album Lauryn disappeared from the scene basically. Lately she’s been working her way back into the spotlight and doing shows. We don’t know how long this is going to last so seeing her at the festival may be the only time we get a chance to see her live before she goes back to her private life again. Some of the reports about her recent shows have been hot and cold. The main issue is that she’s been late to a lot of shows. I sure hope Lauryn is on time for her show at the Jazz Fest. Those tickets are 45 bucks and 60 if you wait until the day of the show. I would hate to see all those people standing out there sweaty, possibly wet and itchy from the mud waiting for her only to be let down.

Don’t let us down Lauryn and don't dress too heavy. It gets hot out there.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When Family Fails Us

I’m trying not talk about this depressing news about crime and violence but I can’t help it. I’m running out of ways to keep saying the same thing over and over but the issue deserves someone keeping the spotlight on it. Tuesday there was a 2 year old boy that was killed from his grandmother’s abuse. I was going to link to the story but I don’t feel like pulling it up and looking at the comments. It was difficult to read that story because grandmothers are usually the anchor of our families. You usually get more affection from them than anybody else. That's who you run to for goodies when your mama say you can't have any. Your grandmother is not supposed to be a danger to you. She beat this little boy until he died and that’s tragic but it got me wondering how many little kids get treated like this and don’t die. How many more Titus Gooseberry’s are there that are suffering but will survive and take the path of violent behavior. Titus had a three year old brother that’s still living and I am sure he’s had his share of abuse as well. Who’s going to save him from learning not to care about anything?

How many kids are hard and callous by the time they are ten years old because their innocence is gone? It’s hard to educate that kid or teach him right from wrong when he gets to school because he already hates the world. What difference does it make to him if he shoots a few people? The community didn’t come and save him so why should he be worried about our concerns? Besides, the only place he’s ever found acceptance and what seems like love is from a bunch of cats he hangs with who revere him for his fearlessness. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted even if they don’t know it.

A few years back I gave a good friend of mine a ride to pick up his brother. His brother had a young son at a time. He had to be somewhere between 2 and 4 years old. The baby started crying because his daddy was leaving like kids are prone to do. He starts shaking the kid telling him to be a man and not to cry. I let him know that the baby was crying for him because that’s what babies do and that if he did while I was standing there again I was going to bring him outside and kick his ass. He apologized to me and got in the car but I know that wasn’t the first time or the last he did that to his son. It’s 2011 and I am pretty sure that kid is close to being a teenager now. Maybe his mama was able to give him the affection he needed not to be a victim of the streets. I hope so but it wouldn’t surprise me if I seen him on the news for doing something crazy. If he’s out there doing wrong we are going to lock him up like an animal. The bad part is we can’t lock his daddy up too so we can send a message that raising our kids the wrong way won’t be tolerated.

Rest in peace to Titus Gooseberry. I wish I could have given him one of my grandmothers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cities Are Rough All Over

I read the story about the shooting at a high school in Los Angeles today. It looks like the City of Angels is trying to make sure they stay relevant in the battle to see which U.S city is doing the most to keep it real. So much for the non violent spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. The city I live in is a serious contender for the crown. We might be wearing the title belt right now. Nine murders in 17 days and a bunch of other people shot is quite a resume. I bet there are a lot of people who feel the same way we do in New Orleans about where they live. Crime and social issues are personal and it’s hard to see past where you live and the immediate danger and concern of that.

I’ve been ready for my city to come off of the list of dangerous spots for a long time. Since most of the victims around the country look like me no matter where they live I am ready for the culture of violence to die world wide but it would be great if New Orleans was one of the first places to turn the corner. I’m ready to have a few conversations with my friends where we look around and marvel at how far we have came and how safer everything feels. That might be a dream that seems impossible especially after a particularly violent night or yet another tragic story of a young lady like Mariah Woods whose only mistake was going out with her friends in the city she lives in and ending up in the middle of a police chase. It’s hard to recover from that mentally if you have any concern for your community.

We’ve been going through this same drama for a long time now but I am old enough to remember that it wasn’t always this way. Some of my best memories as a kid are playing in the streets at night in the 7th Ward by my aunt’s house when everyone was sitting outside for blocks and no on was scared of anything. There’s no reason we can’t get back to that. It’s going to be a rough road back but we can do it. We better to do something and get this stuff turned around because I’m not leaving. I’m sure people in other cities are feeling this way too. If they fix it before we do I hope they let us know how they did it. I'm open to anything.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Honoring Dr. King For His Own Times

“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We are living in times of great achievement and great challenges in our community. Since Dr. King was assassinated we have seen an African American president in our lifetime and faced some incredible epidemics of crime and other issues in our community as well. We have made many great strides and still have a lot of challenges to face as we go forward.

Negative news has an impact on the morale of people and some look at the stories of murder and neglect within the black community and feel like celebrating Martin Luther King Day doesn’t have the same reverence it once did. One of my friends asked the question wondering what Dr. King died for with all the black on black violence happening right now. It’s not fair to him to try and figure out how he would feel and what he would say about anything going on today. It’s a different world.

We’ll never know the answers to any of those questions about his feelings because in 1968 Dr. King was killed while fighting for equality, dignity and justice for everyone. As far as I am concerned it doesn’t matter what’s happening today as it relates to him because what he did while he was here was great enough for a holiday. You know he had to be a special person because America just doesn’t give out holidays to anybody. Nothing we are doing in these crazy modern times can take away from any of that.

We have 364 other days of the year to discuss all the current issues our community faces. Today is a day to honor a great man the work he and others did to move society forward. He’s worthy of that recognition regardless of what’s going on now. We have a long way to go but I would hate to see where we would be without the sacrifices of Dr. King and the people that went out there and put there life on the line for us. It doesn't matter how the actions of some of the men in our community would have affected him. It doesn't matter how he would feel about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. It doesn't even matter what he would have felt about President Obama's election. What matters is that in a world much different than it is now he put his life on the line so I could have the opportunity to try and succeed or fail at whatever I wanted to. That's good enough for me. Nothing we are dealing with now should take anything away from what they did back then.

Besides, how are we going to fix what we need to if we don’t remember how we got here in the first place?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Good Luck Oliver

Tonight is the start of former New Orleans City Councilman Oliver Thomas one man play at the Anthony Bean Theater. I hope the show goes well and that soon as the run is over he takes the same message of failure and redemption to the streets and talks to as many young brothers as he can about it. I think he has an important message that goes far beyond politics.

I remember when Oliver Thomas went to prison. It was a sad day in the city because he was a person who everyone thought would be our next leader. It also put black political leadership on life support if you care about that sort of thing. When he fell from grace there was a huge leadership vacuum that is still there in my opinion. All I could think about at the time was how could a man with that kind of a future ahead of him throws it all away for an amount of money that’s not even a drop in the bucket compared to some of the other cases of corruption in the city. The money he took didn’t set the city back by years but the small amount actually made me more disheartened because it appeared he was just going along with the crowd. There are just too many brothers who have found trouble in their lives and he should have known better. He also did much more jail time then he should have because he refused to rat on anyone. There’s just too many people that are terrorizing our community because no one wants to rat. I wasn’t just disappointed I was angry.

I get angry at all brothers who put themselves in situations they didn’t have to be in. It’s not just because Oliver Thomas was on the city council and maybe the next mayor. When I’m just riding up the street and see someone not conducting himself the right way I get upset with them too. I want to get out the car and shake some sense into them. I know how hard it is for a man to get rid of the labels and stigma attached for making mistakes. There are guys my age still suffering from bad decisions they made in their teens. The worst part about having a negative stigma attached to their name is when they embrace it and live out the rest of their lives like they had no choice but to validate it. That brings the whole community down because we have a bunch of men that don’t want to step up and be responsible. Maybe we can’t do anything about the overall view of society but our actions don’t have to match what people think. If we fix our behavior everything will take care of itself. The best thing Oliver Thomas can do with this play and in the future is show the guys struggling to get it together that you can fall all the way down then rebuild everything and prosper. If he can do that he’ll probably get more out of that than being mayor. The community would too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Creating Our Own Climate For Violence

I’ve been thinking about words and the climate they create since the shooting in Arizona. There has been a lot of conversation about how words have consequences and the current political climate may have lead to Jarred Loughner feeling more compelled to to carry out what he did. We still don’t know if that’s necessarily true or not but if it is true and six people lost their lives because of it, I wonder how many people have lost their lives because of the climate in my community.

How much of a price do we pay for a nationwide climate of destructive behavior? In New Orleans we had 176 murders in 2010 and some of those victims are dead just because that’s what happens when there’s a conflict in their world. I would argue that the climate of hate created in the black community is worst than anything the Tea Party or a fringe group could come up with because we don’t use violent references to pull people over to our viewpoint. We embrace it, celebrate it and put it on display for the world to see as a way of life. We have a lot of financially successful people who do nothing but add negativity to the atmosphere.

The reality of the situation is that those of us who are more equipped to handle some of theive images and words tend to try and blow the impact of these situations because we watch the same shows and listen to the same music. It’s not making us kill anyone or have kids we can’t take care of or have unprotected sex so it can’t be all that bad. I’m not trying to exclude myself from the problem. I love ignorant entertainment and I listen to some artists with horrible lyrics but despite all the negativity the thought of harming another man or disrespecting a woman never crosses my mind. I’m relatively stable just like most of the people who listen to talk news shows or follow some radical political leader are. We learned from the tragedy in Arizona Saturday that the climate doesn’t have to energize millions of people to run out in the street and do something crazy. It only takes one to make a tragedy.

To create a culture like we are trying to change now all we need is a few dozen kids without the proper parental guidance along with other social and economic issues and do nothing but sit in front of the television or computer all day watching images of how it’s cool to kill somebody as long as you are getting your hustle on, and that bitches ain’t shit, and how you should always keep it real no matter what, and how it’s kill or be killed on the streets, and how dignity, respect and community mean nothing as long as you got money to buy material things. Put twenty kids like that in every section of your city and you have an epidemic. I don’t have any statistics in front of me but I know we have more than twenty kids in this situation. That’s why the situation seems so hopeless sometimes. It’s hard to fix something when you are creating your own climate for it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sitting On My Porch Part Sixty One

It was a cold day in New Orleans. The weather has been bad ever since the Saints loss to Seattle. I think Mayor Landrieu secretly bet our normal warm and sunny weather against the clouds and rain. I have already gotten over the game. Yesterday I was in Winn Dixie supermarket and I cross paths with a guy wearing his Saints fleece. I was wearing my Saints hat. He looked at my hate and nodded his head in affirmation. I nodded back and instantly I was ready for next season. No one wins the championship every year.

Back in the day when New Orleans still had its old school personality we would have had a parade for the Saints this weekend anyway just because that’s how we roll. Now since our culture is so commercial we can’t do it because the Ying Yang Twins and the cast of Treme aren’t available.

I guess we have bigger things to worry about. Crime is still sucking the life out of everybody. The other night some young ladies were in an accident resulting from a police chase. The getaway car was being driven by a guy who should have been in prison for a dozen different things before this accident. I’m afraid it may be years before New Orleans stops paying for years of incompetence in the justice system and education. Rest in peace to Mariah Woods. We have to do better.

Then there was the shooting in Arizona that has sparked debate about the political climate, the consequences of words and gun control.

The political climate is not going to change because of this incident. Both sides have too much to lose to just stop scrapping now. Besides, if you listen to the opinions the last few days this guy was both a left and right wing wacko. No one knows for sure. The words will keep on going. They may be toned down slightly but I don’t know how long that’s going to last. I gave up on the idea of civility in politics after 9/11 didn’t bring about a permanent change.

Then there’s the issues of the words people use to make their arguments and the type of environment those words have sparked around the country. I do believe that the environment is pretty mean spirited right now. The shooter in Arizona was probably crazy enough to do something anyway but maybe the atmosphere made him just a bit less hesitant when he finally got a clear idea in his head. We may not ever know for sure because how can you trust anything that maniac says?

What if he mentioned Sarah Palin by name? How much weight would that hold coming from a man in his mental state? She’s taken a hit for this and I think she knew she would which is why she cleaned up all of her social media accounts to get rid of all the violent references. I’m a pretty hardcore blogger. That means I love writing my blog and reading others. There is some pretty wild shit going on around the internet. There are things being said about politicians and different groups of people that make Sarah Palin’s crosshairs on her website seem like something from PBS Kids. The difference is that the blogs that have that kind of language may have a few thousand hits a week if they are lucky. They are not harmless but have a far less chance of inspiring something crazy than a former candidate for vice president and highly popular leader of a political party. I’m always prepared to deal with a fair amount of crazy in America. It comes with free speech. The only group I feel should be above that or at least try to fake it are people in leadership. Why doesn’t she just say that she’s in it for money and entertainment? I don’t have a problem with that and maybe the media would stop broadcasting what she says on the news like it’s legitimate so she can reach a million times more people than a blogger ever could. The higher the exposure you have the bigger the responsibility. People need to stop talking about what she and other politicians say and what bloggers say like it has the same impact.

Rest in peace to the victims in Tucson Arizona and I hope Congresswoman Giffords and everyone else recovers.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

It Was A Great Run

This end of the year post is 1000 times sadder than last year……

Many things in the world have put football in perspective for me. I have finally reached a level of maturity where I can take a lost and not hate anyone. Even the trash talk tonight hasn’t really bothered me too much. Nevertheless I love the Saints and I hate to watch them lose. It’s weird when you are the defending champs because you know you won’t be the champ forever but you want to hold on to it as long as you can. Our run came to an end in Seattle today in a game that fit the rest of the season. There were big plays and it was close to the end. We just didn’t come out on top this time. In sports you always find out the truth about your team when you lose. With all the injuries we had going into today’s game I think we found out that the most important person on the injury list was Malcolm Jenkins. Our secondary didn’t have the best game and now we know how important Jenkins was to the defense this season. I think a healthy team going into next season should be right back into the playoffs again. That’s all we can really ask for.

There are two things I noticed this season about our fans and those from other teams. For some reason fans from other teams seem to be so excited about watching us lose. It seemed like every game we lost fans from all over the country would take time to celebrate even if it wasn’t their team they were playing. That’s just jealousy because of the relationship between us and the players.

The other feeling I had all year is that Saints fans never really got to sit back and really enjoy the Superbowl run. For some reason we had this paranoid mind state that made us feel like if we didn’t go undefeated and back to the championship this year everything that happened last year was invalid. I don’t know about every fan but by the end of the game today I was so tired and drained from everything that happened I just wanted the game to be over with no matter if we won or loss. We still had a shot at it until that incredible run by Seattle. The only part that sucks about that is we will be watching that play for ten years on highlight reels. Being a Saints fan is full of highs and lows. It comes with the territory.

Thank you Saints for a great run. I’m counting down the days to the draft, training camp and the first game in December so we can start the drama all over again.

Who Dat!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Leave The Books Alone

Whenever I see something like an edited version of Huckleberry Finn that removes the n-word I can’t help but wonder who is this being done for. I guess the easy thing to say is that it’s racially insensitive to black people. That argument would have a lot of weight if I didn’t hear the n-word while listening to music all day or read it 10,000 times on Twitter. Maybe the editors of the revised version of the book decided to do something we can’t do for ourselves and remove the word. That’s a nice gesture but we didn’t need it. Maybe I would be for removing the word if the book was set in modern times where we should be passed that. Huckleberry Finn was set in the early 1800’s. Not only did they call black guys the n-word but there wasn’t that many who would even admit they knew how to read in order to be offended by Mark Twain’s words. Things were different back then and the words in the book fit the time period.

I guess they are doing it for the kids but taking out the words that fit the times weakens the understanding of life and history for the kids who read it. If your child asks you why they keep using the n-word then explain it to them. Stop trying to change how history happened or how real life works. One day I was reading Little Red Riding Hood to the kids and was waiting for the part where the big bad wolf gets busy and takes out grandma. I was going to use it to teach a lesson there’s some shady characters just like the wolf so you have to be careful. My only problem was that in the version I had grandma wasn’t even home when the wolf got to the house. He put grandma’s clothes on and all that but he didn’t really try to mess with Little Red Riding Hood either. They ended up hanging out or something at the end of the book. Instead of my great speech about being careful around strangers or hairy men the only thing I could say at the end of the story was “Who bought this fake ass version of Little Red Riding Hood?”

I’m going find me an old version of the story where the wolf eats grandma and gets his ass chopped up for it. While I am there I am buying an old version of Huckleberry Finn with all its n-words on display. Maybe they will read it and realize just how far we have come in a relatively short amount of time. I would rather have the kids have to put up with that uncomfortable word while reading a book then have them read a watered down version of the same story and be misinformed about what was really going on in those times Mark Twain wrote about.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Daddy Said Think For a Minute Before You Do It

Today is my dad’s birthday. I have probably said this before but I can’t say it enough. I don’t know another man with his honesty and integrity. Compared to him I am a big knucklehead. I might get to his status one day. At least I have something to strive for. When you grow up with a man like that you get a lot of knowledge dropped on you all the time. Some of it comes when you are younger and doesn’t make total sense but as you get older it starts to become clearer. I was thinking about one of the things my dad told me this weekend when I was watching football. Two people really embodied some of his words, Michael Haywood former football coach of Pittsburgh University and LeGarrette Blunt running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Michael Haywood worked a long time as an assistant coach until he got head coaching job at Miami of Ohio and he finally made it to a BCS school after all those years of work when he got the job as head coach of Pittsburgh. He had the job less than a month when he lost it after being arrested for domestic violence against the mother of his child. He was charged with a felony, stayed in jail a few days and then was released and fired by Pittsburgh. When I heard about the story I was upset because there are only a handful of black head coaches at the top level of college football and I couldn’t believe he let his anger get the best of him to the point where he would put his hands on the woman and ruin his career. I saw it as the same lack of critical thinking that lead to so many black men reacting violently and ending up in prison with another person hurt or in the cemetery. I didn’t have to hear the full details to think he could have handled the situation better than he did.

Now some brothers will tell me “You don’t know whole story Cliff. That woman could have been tripping and anything could have gone down in there before the police came.” That might be true but if he was thinking about the big picture he still should have walked away and removed himself from the situation. He’s worked too hard to get to where he was to give it all away for a few minutes of anger and the same baby whose mother he was fighting with will suffer because of that decision. He’s got to be bigger than his anger.

Sunday the Saints played Tampa and LaGarrette Blount is their starting running back. He is the second undrafted back to rush for 1000 yards. The brother is physically gifted. There were a few plays this season where he actually jumped over a tackler. The young man has talent and should have a long career. At the beginning of the 2009 college football season when he played for Oregon, LeGarrette got suspended for punching a player from Boise St. after a game. He was projected to be a first or second round draft pick but ended up not getting drafted at all. He cost himself millions of dollars by punching that guy and not controlling his anger.

Now some brothers will tell me “If that had been me and that guy was talking trash all in my personal space I would have punched him too. The NCAA overreacted. It was just a regular punch.” Where we grew up that might be how to look at it but LeGarette was no longer in the hood. He was a man on the verge of making millions of dollars and helping his family and he should have looked the bigger picture and just ran through the tunnel. Once again, he heeded to be bigger than his anger. He let that part of our culture that requires reacting with violence to cost him money. I realize he has a chance to make it back but why take the chance?

It’s like Big Cliff always used to ask me whenever I was pissed off about something and wanted to react to it in a way that wasn’t going to change the situation. He used to ask me if my anger and my reaction to it were worth the relationships I would damage and the opportunities I would lose if I responded in the wrong way. If the answer is no then you have to take a deep breath and think a minute before you make life harder than it has to be. There are times when you have no choice but to fight. There are other times when you have to take a deep breath, suck it up and move on after looking at the big picture.