An Interview with Chris Broussard

An Interview with Chris Broussard

An Interview with Chris Broussard

“Usually when I send a blog in it takes 10 to 15 minutes before it’s up on the site. This one took probably eight hours.”

“One reason I wrote this column about the homosexuality issue is because everything I read, the overwhelming majority, basically came from a liberal standpoint.”

“In terms of being objective if a player was openly gay, that wouldn’t affect my coverage of him. A lot of players live lifestyles I won’t agree with but I won’t throw my personal beliefs into my coverage. People who know me know I’m a Christian and if a subject comes up I’m not ashamed to talk about what I believe.

Chris Broussard: Interviewed on May 24, 2007

Position: senior writer, ESPN the Magazine, espn.com

Born: 1968, Baton Rouge

Education: Oberlin College, 1990, English

Career: Cleveland Plain Dealer 1990-94, Akron Beacon-Journal 94-98, NY Times 98-2004

Personal: married, twin daughters

Favorite restaurant (home): Amy Ruth’s, Harlem, “soul food – the honey fried chicken is what I usually get”

Favorite restaurant (road): Heaven on Seven, Chicago, “Creole/Cajun place”

Favorite hotel: Marriott “everywhere, for the points”

Chris Broussard’s blog, espn.com, Feb. 13, 2007:

I think the NBA is ready for an openly gay player.

By “ready” I don’t mean that everyone on the guy’s team or in his organization will like the fact that he’s a homosexual, or that the guy might not get called names by opponents on the court, or even that his own teammates might not chuckle behind his back.

But by “ready” I mean that players will tolerate a homosexual teammate or opponent. Like Charles Barkley said, some have been doing that already.

Just look at the comments made by players, coaches and Commissioner David Stern when asked about former player John Amaechi’s recent disclosure that he is gay.

The overwhelming majority of comments have been politically correct, even the ones that were considered homophobic by Philadelphia’s Shavlik Randolph and Steven Hunter.

Go talk to guys at an open gym in your neighborhood, and lots of the comments won’t be so polite.

But America has become so politically correct — not to mention that, in my opinion, much of the media and Hollywood are promoting the idea that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle — that many players are afraid to voice their true feelings publicly.

Thus, whenever a current player comes out as gay, you will hear overwhelming support for the guy. And while I think Mark Cuban went overboard in saying the guy would be “an American hero,”
I do believe he would be embraced by a sizeable segment of the population.

He would definitely get marketing/endorsement opportunities, and some folks in the media would champion him and the gay cause.

Well, anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I’m not concerned with being politically correct. So here’s where I stand:

I’m a born-again, Bible-believing Christian (no, I’m not a member of the Religious Right). And I’m against homosexuality (I believe it’s a sin) and same-sex marriage.

But before you label me “homophobic,” know that I’m against any type of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. That includes heterosexual fornication (premarital sex).

Some cats in the NBA run around, sleeping with different women in every city — I don’t agree with their lifestyles.

Some players run around, cheating on their wives — I don’t agree with their lifestyles.

It’s all wrong to me and against the biblical teachings I believe in.

I’m saying all that to say that if I can play basketball with a homosexual, just about anyone can.

I’ve played in several rec leagues with LZ Granderson
, who is an openly gay writer at ESPN The Magazine.

I consider LZ a friend. I’ve gone out to lunch with him, talked music, sports, politics and lots of other things with him. I greet him with a handshake and a hug, just like I greet lots of other guys.

By the way, LZ can ball. In a league in New York City that features several former college players, we both made the All-Star team. He was kind of like our Shawn Marion minus the dunks (though he claims he can still slam!) and I was like our Gilbert Arenas (high game of 39, thank you).

Anyway, when we play in our rec league games, I give him high fives and hugs. Same with one of his friends who is on the team and also gay. When we’re on the court trying to get a win — or in the office talking about a story, for that matter — his sexuality is not an issue.

Granted, I don’t shower with LZ after games like NBA teammates do, and I’ll admit that if I had to, it might be a little uncomfortable at first.

But if a gay player just goes about his business in the shower, showing that he has no sexual interest in his teammates and that he’s not “checking them out,” I think the awkwardness would wear off fairly quickly.

LZ and I know where each other stand and we respect each other’s right to believe as he does.

I know he’s gay, and he knows I believe that’s a sin. I know he thinks I get my moral standards from an outdated, mistranslated book, and he knows I believe he needs to change his lifestyle. Still, we can laugh together, and play ball together.

That’s real diversity. Disagreeing but not being disagreeable.

For the record, I covered Amaechi as a beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal when he was a rookie playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I like John. He’s intelligent, nice and you can have a good conversation with him. I haven’t seen him in several years but if I saw him today, I’d smile and give him a hug. I think dinner with him would be a blast, with lots of great discussion/debate about race, politics, religion, Africa and yes, sexuality.

Since Amaechi came out, I’ve read lots of columns about being “progressive.” The implication — or outright assertion — is that anyone who believes homosexuality is wrong is not progressive or enlightened.

That’s where this thing becomes problematic, because those who hold to that view are saying I must change my entire belief system/religion because of your belief system.

Where’s the diversity in that?

Those folks don’t want diversity. They want everyone to agree with their “enlightened” opinion.

Look, I’ll accept your right to have your own belief system and to live as you please, but I’m not changing mine. Diversity is not just accepting alternatives to what has long been perceived as normal, but it’s accepting the significant number of people who hold to long-standing “traditional” beliefs as well.

Millions of Christians who follow the Bible — and Muslims who follow the Koran and Jews who follow the Torah, as well as many nonreligious Americans — believe homosexuality is wrong.

That doesn’t mean they’re unenlightened. That just means their moral code doesn’t fluctuate based on society’s ever-changing standards. As long as we’re not being violent toward one another, as long as we can be civil, everything should be fine. We don’t have to agree.

And please don’t compare being homosexual to being black. I consider that insulting to blacks for a number of reasons. The fact that some blacks make the comparison themselves only shows how crushed our racial esteem has become because of America’s oppression (witness our insistence on calling ourselves the n-word).

You can’t hide your skin color, choose your skin color, change your skin color or switch your skin color back and forth. Some argue that you can’t do that with your sexuality either, but there are many scientists on both sides of the genetic debate, and I believe a truly objective person would admit the biological evidence for homosexuality is far from definitive.

Nor has the Bible, the Koran or the Torah ever associated a particular skin color with sin (it was only racist whites who twisted the Scriptures 400 years ago who did that, never the Bible itself).

I’m not trying to get into a religious or scientific discussion here, I’m just saying that some people will accept homosexuality as fine and others will not.

Some will write me off as a bigot for this article, but folks, this is real talk. Unfortunately, we can’t have real talk in America nowadays.

Whites can’t voice their real opinions — no matter how legitimate — about race for fear of being called racist, and everyone’s afraid of offending anyone. It seems the only person who can be openly criticized, or disagreed with, is the President.

How crazy is that?

Until we can honestly hear each other out — and be civil while doing so — we won’t get anywhere. One thing I hope this article does is encourage people to have frank discussions about sensitive issues such as this one.

Here’s the bottom line: If I can accept working side-by-side with a homosexual, then he/she can accept working side-by-side with someone who believes homosexuality is wrong.

If an NBA player can accept playing with a homosexual, then the homosexual must accept playing with guys who don’t agree with his lifestyle.

Believe me, when the ball goes up, his sexual preference isn’t going to matter.

Q. What was the reaction to your blog?

A. Reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Usually when I send a blog in it takes 10 to 15 minutes before it’s up on the site. This one took probably eight hours. They sent it to several editors, the top editors at espn.com as well as The Magazine, where I mainly work. It was controversial and they wanted different people to see it.

When they finally put it up I got about 1100 e-mails. I would say about 90 percent were positive. About 65 percent were from Christians who totally agreed with what I said. Another 25 percent were from people who disagreed with my view of homosexuality but liked the overall tenor of the article, including some homosexuals. About 10 percent were totally against it.

Within ESPN itself, from the things people said to me, it was received positively as well. A lot said they enjoyed it and liked it – I got that from several Christians who work there, as well as people of other religions and people who aren’t religious. It was read on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” – they really liked it. I thought the response within ESPN itself would tend toward the negative though I never doubted they would publish it. Then I thought public opinion would be 50-50 but it was overwhelmingly positive.

Q. Did you respond to the e-mails?

A. I put the results of the e-mails on my next blog. I responded to a few – I wouldn’t have had time to respond to all. I got a call from Athletes in Action, a Christian-based sports ministry – I was asked to appear at one of their events at All-Star weekend. They had me seated on the dais but I didn’t speak. There were over 1000 people at this breakfast.

Q. Would you describe yourself as a conservative?

A. No. Most African-Americans, socially, are conservative, largely because of their church background. In terms of my beliefs as a Christian I am against abortion and same-sex marriage. Socially, I would definitely say I’m conservative, but in terms of government and policies I would say I’m probably more in line with Democrats. I would love to have universal health care and I’m for affirmative action. I’m an independent – not registered with either party. No, I’m not a conservative in the technical sense of what a conservative is in terms of going back to the way things were. No African-American wants to go back to the way things were.

Q. But if you go back to the 1950s homosexuals weren’t claiming their rights – wouldn’t that appeal to you?

A. The big problem then and up through the civil rights movement was racism and the notion of white supremacy – those were the main problems. If I could remove the racism and the way people of color and Native Americans were treated then I do see a lot of great things about the overall culture that was America. It was more conducive to family values, which are important for any society and civilization to have. But the huge blind spot was racism. Obviously I liked the standards in other ways back then. In my opinion we’re gone way too far in terms of what we allow on TV and radio. You’ve got little kids watching these TV shows and being affected negatively, in my opinion.

Q. Does sports media tend to be liberal?

A. Media in general tends to be liberal. I was at the New York Times for six years and they were certainly liberal. Sports media – I would lean toward yes – but in sports it’s harder to tell. You’re not commenting on social issues. One reason I wrote this column about the homosexuality issue is because everything I read, the overwhelming majority, basically came from a liberal standpoint.

One black player said he was okay having a gay teammate as long he “don’t bring it on me”. He was ripped in all the columns I read. Anybody who made comments that were not pro-homosexual were taken to task as not being progressive. And I wrote before Tim Hardaway – that’s a whole different take.

Q. Do you find political correctness in sports media?

A. In this instance I did. I obviously butted my head against it. For the most part everything written before I wrote was politically correct. In some racial issues you don’t. Barry Bonds – you saw the poll numbers – the majority of African Americans support him. ESPN has been fair to Bonds and maybe has gone the other way. He had his own show on TV and the way they’ve covered his pursuit of the record they’ve taken it at face value – this guy has hit a lot of home runs. But columnists and talk show hosts come out negatively against Bonds. If you’re talking in a racial sense that political correctness means always giving in to people of color – I don’t think so.

That’s a hard question. Bonds wasn’t good to media so some of it is his personality. On the other hand he is going to break the record of an African American so you wouldn’t say it’s racism. But you might in comparing him to the treatment Mark McGwire got. We knew he was taking something, even though what he was taking wasn’t illegal back then. Steroids weren’t illegal when Barry Bonds took them – so he’s bearing the brunt of what McGwire got away with. Some people in the black community wonder about Roger Clemens. There’s no evidence that he took anything but there’s rumblings and certainly you have the circumstantial evidence on the field. To be getting better into his 40s is remarkable. Yet he’s still treated like a star and the Yankees shower tons of money on him.

Q. Where do you draw the line between acting on your beliefs and not acting on them?

A. When I’m talking basketball on TV or on a blog or in an article my beliefs govern how I interact with people. A lot of sportswriters talk about sex with athletes and who they’re sleeping with – the way guys do. I don’t do that. I’m not talking to an athlete about him cheating on his wife, about him out there fornicating. I don’t condemn them, but when we’re not talking about sports and I’m not interviewing them we may talk about kids, music, and numerous things. I don’t talk about those things with other people so I’m not going there with athletes.

In terms of being objective if a player was openly gay, that wouldn’t affect my coverage of him. A lot of players live lifestyles I won’t agree with but I won’t throw my personal beliefs into my coverage. People who know me know I’m a Christian and if a subject comes up I’m not ashamed to talk about what I believe. But I don’t bring it into the daily coverage when it has no place there.

In the blog I threw my personal beliefs in because it’s a blog and you’re allowed to do that in a blog. Columnists are allowed to do it in a newspaper and if I had had a column in the New York Times I would have tried to do that. Everyone who wrote a column about that issue brought their personal beliefs in. Most were ultra-liberal. Maybe their personal beliefs aren’t informed by religion but they’re informed by something that brought them to the side of being pro-homosexual. I brought my beliefs in and they happened to be on the anti-homosexual end. But what I did wasn’t different than anybody else.

My belief system is impacted by my faith. That’s what being a Christian is, and a Muslim and a Jew. I can’t have religion just on Sunday. It’s going to affect how I am at work. But when it comes to writing about sports – when it doesn’t deal with social or personal beliefs – I keep it objective.

Some people say you’re trampling on the separation of church and state. I don’t think so. I think I’m in line with the general principles of the founders. My view is that the intentions of the founders was not to divorce moral principles that come from religion – Christian religion in the case of this country – from the public discourse and public sphere. The Bible was used to teach kids how to read in school. The Ten Commandments were up in courtrooms. We still put a hand on a Bible to take an oath. The founders weren’t anti-religion – they just didn’t want one denomination persecuting other denominations or faiths. That had been the case in Europe.

Part of the idea of writing the column was that I felt a lot of people in the country were against homosexuality and I don’t think their viewpoint was being presented. You would think America was overwhelmingly pro-homosexual. That’s not the case. I felt it was 50-50 or even slightly tilted toward my view, and I thought in fairness this other view should be presented.

Q. What did your parents do?

A. My father was a personnel manager for Travelers Insurance Co. He stopped that after 20 years and began working with the federal court system. My mother worked in the school board. Some years she was at home and other years she was a teacher or administrator in the public school system.

My father got transferred a lot in his job. I was born in Baton Rouge and I lived in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Syracuse, Des Moines, and Cleveland. I graduated high school in Cleveland. Oberlin College is near Cleveland. I stayed near Cleveland my first eight years out of college. Oberlin is a very liberal school. Homosexuality was out in the open – I had a good experience there.

I do interact with LZ Granderson and other people who are homosexual. LZ and I are friends – we play basketball together. There are other homosexuals at the Magazine – I don’t know how they feel about me personally now. I would say to them – just like I put aside my personal beliefs to work with them and be friendly to them – I would expect the same thing from them.

Another point in the article I wanted to get across. This thing I called “diversity” is not just a liberal thing. It’s not just if your viewpoint agrees with the so-called liberal standard of diversity. Diversity is when you don’t agree with the liberal standard. In my opinion diversity is accepting people – being able to disagree but not being disagreeable. LZ and I disagree yet we aren’t disagreeable. We can laugh and go out socially together.

Q. You write about black athletes having “leverage” to help black social causes? Do black sportswriters have “leverage”?

A. Oh yeah – the power of the pen. Especially if you’re a columnist, you can shape other opinions. Even a beat writer – in terms of how you present athletes in a different light than the mainstream white media.

Sometimes in the mainstream white media racism does play a part. Sometimes I think it’s just ignorance in not knowing black culture and understanding where an African-American player may be coming from. I remember when players started wearing cornrows and some white sportswriters associated that with thugs and gangsta culture. But cornrows have been associated with African-American culture forever. When I was a kid a lot of kids were wearing them and they weren’t gangsta. My daughters wear them.

As an African-American writer you can present a more balanced and accurate and fair viewpoint than another writer who may not be familiar with African-American culture.

Today with sportswriters gaining such prominence and being on TV – that increases the opportunity to help the black cause. Your job is talking about sports and being objective but inevitably the opportunity arises where you can present another side. I was on “Cold Pizza” a couple of years ago commemorating Martin Luther King Day, on a panel with Swin Cash and Jay Harris, who was moderating. We talked about the Ron Artest brawl in Detroit. I brought up the fact that it was not the first time an athlete charged into the stands and that white mainstream media seems to have selective amnesia regarding black issues. In the 1970s Rick Barry charged after a 15-year-old boy who cursed him. Ty Cobb definitely did it. We talk about today’s athletes and how much trouble they get into – that’s code for black athletes.

Let’s be honest, throughout the history of American sports athletes have had a lot of boorish behavior. We know about Babe Ruth’s behavior. Cobb was an avowed racist; Mickey Mantle was an alcoholic and the media protected them. I know the media is different today, but to act like the athletes of yesteryear were such moral pillars and now today they’re thugs and criminals and womanizers – it’s not fair and accurate. There’s subtle racism in that because of the makeup of athletes – a majority are black.

As a black sportswriter you do have the platform to bring out these truths that may not have come out decades ago when most sportswriters were white.

(SMG thanks Chris Broussard for his cooperation)

Broussard’s phony iconoclasm would compel a lot more if he’d also:

– called for the execution of children who strike a parent (Exodus 21: 15, 17)

– defended the slave-master’s right to beat his slave without mercy since “the slave is his money” (Exodus 21:21)

– called for the destruction of anyone who worships any other god (Exodus 22:20)

– blasted people who eat shellfish

– noted the uncleanliness of any menstruating woman or those who touch them (Leviticus 15:19-32)

– acknowledged that dwarfs, the blind or other “limited” people cannot be priests (Leviticus 21: 17-21)

– advocated the execution of blasphemers (Leviticus 24:16)

– noted that a man can force his wife to drink the “water of bitterness” and that if she dies, that proves she’s an adulterer (Numbers 5: 11-31)

– defended men’s rights to sell their daughters into sexual slavery (Exodus 21:7-11)

– noted that Jews are the children of the devil and the fathers of lies (John 8:39-44)

Broussard yearns for a victimhood equal to that of others because he follows one absurdist and self-contradictory (if often beautiful) book that even he doesn’t really follow. It’s preposterous, and unserious in rational discussion.

posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2007|Feedback
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filed under: NBA

I think the NBA is ready for an openly gay player.

By “ready” I don’t mean that everyone on the guy’s team or in his organization will like the fact that he’s a homosexual, or that the guy might not get called names by opponents on the court, or even that his own teammates might not chuckle behind his back.

But by “ready” I mean that players will tolerate a homosexual teammate or opponent. Like Charles Barkley said, some have been doing that already.

Just look at the comments made by players, coaches and Commissioner David Stern when asked about former player John Amaechi’s recent disclosure that he is gay.

The overwhelming majority of comments have been politically correct, even the ones that were considered homophobic by Philadelphia’s Shavlik Randolph and Steven Hunter.

Go talk to guys at an open gym in your neighborhood, and lots of the comments won’t be so polite.

But America has become so politically correct — not to mention that, in my opinion, much of the media and Hollywood are promoting the idea that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle — that many players are afraid to voice their true feelings publicly.

Thus, whenever a current player comes out as gay, you will hear overwhelming support for the guy. And while I think Mark Cuban went overboard in saying the guy would be “an American hero,”
I do believe he would be embraced by a sizeable segment of the population.

He would definitely get marketing/endorsement opportunities, and some folks in the media would champion him and the gay cause.

Well, anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I’m not concerned with being politically correct. So here’s where I stand:

I’m a born-again, Bible-believing Christian (no, I’m not a member of the Religious Right). And I’m against homosexuality (I believe it’s a sin) and same-sex marriage.

But before you label me “homophobic,” know that I’m against any type of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. That includes heterosexual fornication (premarital sex).

Some cats in the NBA run around, sleeping with different women in every city — I don’t agree with their lifestyles.

Some players run around, cheating on their wives — I don’t agree with their lifestyles.

It’s all wrong to me and against the biblical teachings I believe in.

I’m saying all that to say that if I can play basketball with a homosexual, just about anyone can.

I’ve played in several rec leagues with LZ Granderson
, who is an openly gay writer at ESPN The Magazine.

I consider LZ a friend. I’ve gone out to lunch with him, talked music, sports, politics and lots of other things with him. I greet him with a handshake and a hug, just like I greet lots of other guys.

By the way, LZ can ball. In a league in New York City that features several former college players, we both made the All-Star team. He was kind of like our Shawn Marion minus the dunks (though he claims he can still slam!) and I was like our Gilbert Arenas (high game of 39, thank you).

Anyway, when we play in our rec league games, I give him high fives and hugs. Same with one of his friends who is on the team and also gay. When we’re on the court trying to get a win — or in the office talking about a story, for that matter — his sexuality is not an issue.

Granted, I don’t shower with LZ after games like NBA teammates do, and I’ll admit that if I had to, it might be a little uncomfortable at first.

But if a gay player just goes about his business in the shower, showing that he has no sexual interest in his teammates and that he’s not “checking them out,” I think the awkwardness would wear off fairly quickly.

LZ and I know where each other stand and we respect each other’s right to believe as he does.

I know he’s gay, and he knows I believe that’s a sin. I know he thinks I get my moral standards from an outdated, mistranslated book, and he knows I believe he needs to change his lifestyle. Still, we can laugh together, and play ball together.

That’s real diversity. Disagreeing but not being disagreeable.

For the record, I covered Amaechi as a beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal when he was a rookie playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I like John. He’s intelligent, nice and you can have a good conversation with him. I haven’t seen him in several years but if I saw him today, I’d smile and give him a hug. I think dinner with him would be a blast, with lots of great discussion/debate about race, politics, religion, Africa and yes, sexuality.

Since Amaechi came out, I’ve read lots of columns about being “progressive.” The implication — or outright assertion — is that anyone who believes homosexuality is wrong is not progressive or enlightened.

That’s where this thing becomes problematic, because those who hold to that view are saying I must change my entire belief system/religion because of your belief system.

Where’s the diversity in that?

Those folks don’t want diversity. They want everyone to agree with their “enlightened” opinion.

Look, I’ll accept your right to have your own belief system and to live as you please, but I’m not changing mine. Diversity is not just accepting alternatives to what has long been perceived as normal, but it’s accepting the significant number of people who hold to long-standing “traditional” beliefs as well.

Millions of Christians who follow the Bible — and Muslims who follow the Koran and Jews who follow the Torah, as well as many nonreligious Americans — believe homosexuality is wrong.

That doesn’t mean they’re unenlightened. That just means their moral code doesn’t fluctuate based on society’s ever-changing standards. As long as we’re not being violent toward one another, as long as we can be civil, everything should be fine. We don’t have to agree.

And please don’t compare being homosexual to being black. I consider that insulting to blacks for a number of reasons. The fact that some blacks make the comparison themselves only shows how crushed our racial esteem has become because of America’s oppression (witness our insistence on calling ourselves the n-word).

You can’t hide your skin color, choose your skin color, change your skin color or switch your skin color back and forth. Some argue that you can’t do that with your sexuality either, but there are many scientists on both sides of the genetic debate, and I believe a truly objective person would admit the biological evidence for homosexuality is far from definitive.

Nor has the Bible, the Koran or the Torah ever associated a particular skin color with sin (it was only racist whites who twisted the Scriptures 400 years ago who did that, never the Bible itself).

I’m not trying to get into a religious or scientific discussion here, I’m just saying that some people will accept homosexuality as fine and others will not.

Some will write me off as a bigot for this article, but folks, this is real talk. Unfortunately, we can’t have real talk in America nowadays.

Whites can’t voice their real opinions — no matter how legitimate — about race for fear of being called racist, and everyone’s afraid of offending anyone. It seems the only person who can be openly criticized, or disagreed with, is the President.

How crazy is that?

Until we can honestly hear each other out — and be civil while doing so — we won’t get anywhere. One thing I hope this article does is encourage people to have frank discussions about sensitive issues such as this one.

Here’s the bottom line: If I can accept working side-by-side with a homosexual, then he/she can accept working side-by-side with someone who believes homosexuality is wrong.

If an NBA player can accept playing with a homosexual, then the homosexual must accept playing with guys who don’t agree with his lifestyle.

Believe me, when the ball goes up, his sexual preference isn’t going to matter.

Chris Broussard grew up in the Midwest (Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Syracuse, Des Moines and Cleveland) dreaming of being the next great tailback at USC. Instead, he became the next underachieving point guard (“I should have averaged 20”) at Oberlin College. In 1990, he launched his sportswriting career at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Four years later, he started covering the NBA for the Akron Beacon Journal. He spent 2½ seasons as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer before going to the New York Times to cover the Nets (two years), the Knicks (three) and then the NBA (one). He joined ESPN The Magazine in September 2004.

When he wasn’t running the point at Oberlin – and of course, hitting the books – Broussard spent time working at the school radio station. Broussard has written one book, “Not Without Scars: The Inspiring Life Journey of Mark C. Olds.” Broussard lives in South Orange, N.J., with his wife, Crystal, and their twin daughters, Alexis and Noelle.

April 11, 2007

I wasn’t planning to write about the Don Imus situation because this is, after all, an NBA blog. But this story is much bigger than one particular sport, so why not?

Let me start by saying that I find Imus’ two-week suspension insulting. It’s nothing more than a slap on his wrist and a slap in the face of black people and women.

With every fiber of my being, I believe Imus should be fired. Period…..

Before I make my next point, let me qualify it by saying this: Imus is solely responsible for his reprehensible behavior. Rappers who routinely use the n-word and describe women as “hos” are not to blame for his comments. Black people’s behavior has never been the cause of racism and oppression.

That said, I hope the black community uses this as an opportunity for some self-reflection: we must stop degrading ourselves over the airwaves.

I have loved hip-hop music since I first heard Rapper’s Delight in 1979, and to this day, it represents about 80 percent of the music I listen to (I buy positive, intelligent, neutral or Afrocentric hip-hop on the Internet).

But the majority of hip-hop that’s played on the radio today — and therefore, the most popular — is a disgrace and an enemy of black progress.

Most of the songs they play all day, every day on your average “blazin’ hip-hop and R&B” station do nothing more than depict black people shooting, abusing, insulting, pimping and selling drugs to other black people.

They glorify the very behavior that has more than 60 percent of our kids growing up fatherless and our young men filling up the prisons and graveyards at record rates. (Commercial hip-hop is not the root cause of these problems but it certainly contributes to them.)

I am convinced that if there were a form of music that degraded any other race of people the way commercial hip-hop degrades blacks, it would not be allowed on the radio. Either the powers-that-be or that particular race of people would shut it down.

Yet we, blacks, defend this anti-black hip-hop. Ridiculous.

In addition to poisoning the minds of our youth, this music may be creating an atmosphere in which people of other races feel justified in casually insulting us.

Again, while Imus is solely to blame for his choice of words, “hos” is hip-hop language. He might have felt he could get away with it because of the climate being set by commercial rap music. (“Heck, look at how they talk about themselves … ”)

Blacks have to realize that we aren’t segregated anymore. When we used to say something, only blacks heard it (for the most part). Now, when we say something, the whole world hears it — and sees it in a video.

So when people of other races listen to rap music that constantly uses the n-word and calls black women “hos,” there’s a risk that white people, Asian people or whoever will start casually using the n-word and thinking of black women in those ways (especially considering the impact hip-hop has on pop culture).

While many of us are calling for Imus to be fired — as we should — we should also turn up the heat on these sell-out rappers who make a living degrading black people.

Anything else get that much response?

I was never a columnist at a newspaper. When I covered nba in akron 95-98 I wrote Sunday columns, I wrote one about billy packer, called alan Iverson a tough monkey, that got a lot of response. We weren’t even online. It won the award , third place in ohio, got a lot of resoen, would have got more if email had ben avaialb.e got phone calls to paper. It exposed a lot of racism still out ther. I called for respect. One point I made was because white fans fawn over black athlete doesn’t mean racism is dying. One comment how do you expect us to respect you when charles barkely is sptiting on fans. When blacks stop being sto violent then we’ll respect them. 90 percnet were negative for that column. Black people love dit. Most whote people seeme dnot to. Whites who liked it had been exposed to some type of black hstory, through classes or lving around blacks.

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