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Morris W. O'Kelly

Morris W. O'Kelly

Posted: January 20, 2010 02:46 PM

Gun-Toting Black Athletes Affect All Black Males

What's Your Reaction:

Few debates in all of my years of editorial journalism have been this simple. For all the usual pushback Mo'Kelly would get in the discussion of guns within the African-American professional athlete community, the opposition is largely silent these days.

No surprise there.

With the death of boxing champion Vernon Forrest, murdered while chasing after a robber and his stolen Rolex, gun enthusiasts twisted the truth arguing that his social status and success made him the target. The truth of the matter was much less convoluted: Forrest's gun only ensured his murder. If Forrest isn't carrying a concealed weapon, he does not chase after armed robbers down a dark alley.

Barring any future unforeseen circumstances, Vernon Forrest would be alive and well today.

Last week, Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty to felony gun charges, a result of bringing four guns to the Verizon Center. It is his second gun-related offense, meaning he's had more than one opportunity to act with good sense.  While awaiting sentencing, Adidas dropped Arenas from his $40 million dollar endorsement deal and the Wizards are presently working to void his contract in full.

Guns just might have ended Arenas's career, destroyed any level of marketability and most importantly may take away his freedom for an extended period of time.

Yes, guns have done a wonderful job protecting the life and livelihood of one Gilbert Arenas.

But wait, there's more.

Former NFL wide receiver Marvin Harrison is presently being investigated, under suspicion of murder. Depending on which reports you read, charges are on the way. Yes, guns have done a yeoman's job in protecting athletes and their interests.

That's not including former Tennessee basketball player Tyler Smith. Guns likely have ended his professional career before it even began.

Plaxico Burress anyone? Normally I would hope he reads this, but Mo'Kelly doesn't think Plax will get to check his email from jail. Even if he does, he probably doesn't want to hear from Mo'Kelly on this subject.

Usually, there is one exception and they also say the exception proves the rule. As it stands, there is no exception here. Guns outside the home, obtained or transported illegally have not made athletes safer and its a specious argument that needs to end. Guns are ending the careers of African-American professional athletes, not protecting them. Mo'Kelly is unable to find even ONE example of concealed weapons protecting the professional athlete carrying them.

Not ONE.

How many more must lose everything before We get the message?

Yes, "We."

Given the prevalence and persistence of these issues amongst Black athletes and not White ones it must come down to a difference in choices. Black athletes are not "more" likely to be targeted than White ones, only seemingly more likely to make choices that put their safety in doubt.

The worst part of all of this is that these athletes are willfully contributing to the negative stereotypes of Black men that the whole of our community must deal with incessantly. Gilbert Arenas puts Mo'Kelly in danger. Marvin Harrison puts Mo'Kelly in danger. Plaxico Burress puts Mo'Kelly in danger. Society treats Black men relative to incidents like these. Legislation is created in relation to incidents such as these.

Thank you guys for helping legitimize the stereotypes of Black men as being violent and felonious, irrespective of educational or financial status. Their collective criminality affects all Black males, not just the ones who willingly gave away their careers (and lives) for the sake of faux machismo.

Few debates in all of my years of editorial journalism have been this simple.

For all the usual pushback Mo'Kelly would get in the discussion of guns within the African-American professional athlete community, the opposition is largely silent these days.

The truth of the matter is that there is no "other" side to this discussion. There is no opposition. It is a figment of one's imagination. There is no good reason for professional athletes carrying concealed weapons when legal, private security exist as an affordable option. For all the entourages and worthless "associates" on athletes' payrolls, it's even more ridiculous why some African-American athletes can't make the right decision. Affordability is simply not an intelligent excuse.

The desire to carry a concealed weapon is nothing more than misguided machismo wrapped in stupidity. The actions of Arenas, Burress, Harrison et al. don't only endanger lives of those carrying the guns, but the collateral damage impacts the perception and safety of all Black men.

Morris W. O'Kelly (Mo'Kelly) is a syndicated entertainment and socio-political commentator. For more Mo'Kelly, http://mokellyreport.wordpress.com. Mo'Kelly can be reached at mrmokelly@gmail.com and he welcomes all commentary.

 

Follow Morris W. O'Kelly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mrmokelly