TANK JOHNSON ENTERS THE SPIN ZONE
Very interesting article from ESPN.com’s Jemele Hill describing how Tank Johnson handled media day. A few snippets:
“It’s easy to clump somebody. When you see me walking down the street, I don’t look like you. I don’t talk like you and I don’t walk like you. It’s easy to say, well, he’s just like the other people, who we see all the time. I’ve given you guys the opportunity to stereotype me like that. It’s unfortunate. It’s just the way I am. I’m young. I’m black. I’ve got tattoos. I’ve got dreds. It is what it is.”
“A lot of people are demons. You got to really look at it like that. A lot of people are really out to get people, just to hurt people. In my whole life, I never thought about racism in my whole life. I’ve never had a person come to me and say anything racist in my whole entire life. Now I look at it, I’m like, wow. Is this because I’m certain things? I realize people buy into stereotypes.”
Many times I have stated that it’s comments like these that do a real disservice to those truly experiencing racism. I will concede that his look and his race likely increase the media attention paid to his misdoings. But they are still his misdoings. Any pro athlete, regardless of hue, is going to be scrutinized for the smallest infraction. Reporters even made a huge story out of Cade McNown parking in handicapped spots. And not to belittle that offense but when it’s 3 arrests in 18 months, you’ve endangered children and your bestfriend is shot dead at a nightclub, the whirlwind shouldn’t surprise you. Your skin has little to do with the outcry. It’s your actions.
I’ll even allow that maybe Johnson is an all right guy who has made some mistakes. Seems nice enough on sports radio interviews and the like. Or maybe he’s just a common thug. Seems like it from all the newspaper stories. Truthfully I have no idea. But please–man up about it all. It’s the least you could do.
Start the game already…please.