Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Black Athletes and Crime- Who's Responsible?

Black athletes and crime—Who’s responsible?

There are countless stories of black college athletes posed with celebrity, potential wealth and promising professional careers only to have those opportunities taken away due to criminal behavior and/or poor decisions. From the recent FSU football player, Jason Shirley and convicted murder Terry Pettis to even the Edison High School and college student athletes killed the car attendance; these young black men have lost opportunities that many aspire to. Many ask the question: Are these results solely the responsibility of the young men or are others partly to blame? And if so, who?

Here are some responses to an article on . I though to extract information from the comments but I think some of the issues could not be better stated.

Personal Responsibility

“Why are we supposed to feel sorry for them when they break the law? Are they not adults? Are they not over 18? See, I have a hard time feeling sorry for them when they go out there and break the law. It should be common sense, after all, they do live in America, but I guess common sense isn't all that common anymore. But, someone needs to tell them the list of DO'S and DONT'S. And, if I knew that this was in place, then I REALLY wouldn't have any sympathy. Because, you and I both know that, because they are athletes, everything has been excused away for them, so when the REAL WORLD slaps them silly, it's a shock to them, and a shock that usually costs them their future.”

“I get it. They screwed up!!! They deserve whatever punishment they receive!!! You can't possibly see my posting as an apology for them. I always call for personal responsibility. But when schools make millions, they have a strategic opportunity to stop these boys from getting into trouble.”

Parents & Families

“Most people thus far as saying there need not be any community solutions because this is a ‘personal problem’. If they were raised properly by their parents by 18 they should be able to make some intelligent decisions. Some of the stuff these fools do is asinine.”

“Parents need to do their job. But let's deal with the reality on the ground. It's fair to call parents to do their job.”

In the recently published Come on People, co-authored by Bill Cosby it speaks to the lack of parenting and that many of the problems in the black family stem from absence of father and positive male figures. But is that the only possible response?


“Some believe universities have failed to supply young athletes with proper mentoring and active monitoring to protect them from over exposure and poor decision making. Of course, these young men bear responsibility for their actions as well. Yet, given the psychology of superstar status, celebrity and the rags to riches stories, most of these young men have in common, they are not nearly equipped to handle the transformation without guidance. Moreover, these young men generate, untold dollars in revenue for their respective schools. Surely, they can afford to expend a few dollars counseling and guiding them.”

“But, I also blame the colleges. The colleges need to have, on retainer, a hard middle-aged Black man that sits these folks down at the beginning of the semester and tells them the rules of LIFE for a Black Man.

One reader, gave the following recommendations for colleges and universities to avoid further loss of life and livelihood:

1) Assign a guidance counselor and require check-ins.

2) Require counseling to explore their minds and make future recommendations tailored to their needs.

3) Require athletes to live on-campus in monitored facilities, in terms of going and coming. This would assist universities ability to limit the gift culture, access to alcohol, drugs and women.

4) Implement random drug testing and rehab for violations, not suspension.

It Takes a Village…

Why should young people be allowed to go down the wrong path because their parents' failed them? If others around them can see the problems ahead and take a few measured corrective steps to avoid calamity, where is the harm? It's wrong to watch someone go the wrong way if you can offer a word to steer them in the right direction.

I want you bloggers to consider the measured steps that can be taken to assist young athletes whose parents have failed them before they get into trouble. Remember when these young men go down, they take, in part, the dreams of many younger and older black boys and men with them. When we work together to help them, we help ourselves as well.

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