Media personalities need to stop clout chasing and building their careers by disrespecting others.
Furthermore, everyday Americans need to chill out on disrespecting celebrities who have achieved 10 times the amount of success that they have achieved, and 10 times the money.
This week, former National Basketball Association (NBA) number one draft pick Kwame Brown broke his silence on the ridicule that he has received from media pundits like Stephen A. Smith and others since the Washington Wizards selected him out of high school in 2001.
Kwame Brown never lived up to the hype of a number one overall draft pick and deserved criticism for his lack of success in the NBA.
However, media pundits like Smith, and now former players like Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes and Gilbert Arenas, have taken disrespecting others to boost their careers a little too far because it seems that people like Smith target the same athletes two decades after their careers started.
Even though a former player could be enjoying retirement, he might have to deal with people like Smith retweeting television segments in which he described Kwame Brown as a scrub.
Throughout his career, Smith has used the word scrub to define players that he could never compete with on the court.
Smith played for legendary basketball coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines at Winston-Salem State University, the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) that sent players like Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Cleo Hill to the NBA.
Nevertheless, this article is not to denigrate another Black man in Smith.
I am actually a big fan of Smith.
It is to say what millions have said over the years.
Black men do not have to tear down other Black men as they climb the ladder of success.
And the fact that someone calls another human being a scrub, and still talks about it decades later, shows that the person is more interested in ridiculing athletes as opposed to analyzing athletes.
Smith is beyond talented as a writer and broadcaster.
In fact, he is one of the only sports commentators that I must watch, along with FS1’s Shannon Sharpe and fellow ESPN commentators Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.
But if a person has the same type of material for over 20 years on air, it might be time to switch it up a bit, especially since those that follow in your footsteps probably think you must be disrespectful on air to be successful.
On the “All the Smoke” podcast, Arenas said, “Imagine being an 18-year-old kid and getting drafted No. 1 by your idol and your idol is Michael Jordan…We know Michael Jordan’s personality. Imagine that going towards an 18-year-old kid, just bullying him…When you’re making [Brown] look little to his peers, he loses his confidence. So, when I get there, he doesn’t have confidence. So, it’s trying to build this man-child up…I call him a show pony, he’s a show horse.”
Sounds like constructive criticism, albeit old news, but not necessarily relevant for a 2021 podcast.
However, there’s nothing disrespectful about Arenas’ comments.
Criticism is needed.
However, disrespect is not.
And when Jackson spoke to Lakers owner Jeannie Buss about the Los Angeles Lakers trading two players (Marc Gasol and Kwame Brown) to the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol, he said they only really traded one player, that was disrespectful.
A sports commentator should not still be ridiculing the retired Kwame Brown in 2021.
And Kwame Brown, like Smith even admitted, has endured such ridicule for years without responding.
The problem that a bully faces, whether on television or not, is that often the quiet person is often the most dangerous person.
The person that you have ridiculed often has built up the type of anger that you probably do not want to see.
And unfortunately, Brown’s rants about Jackson, Arenas and Barnes, while truthful, also tear down other Black men in front of a national and international audience.
This is extremely harmful when one looks at the current state of Black men in this country when it comes to police brutality, mass incarceration, so-called Black-on-Black crime and all the other traps put into place to keep Black men from succeeding.
In response to Jackson, Kwame Brown said, “I think you guys need to focus and channel this energy to some more real problems. And Stephen Jackson, maybe you can put that motherf****** blunt out and pull your pants up on you’re a$$ and put that rag down and act like a grown-a$$ man instead of a little a$$ boy.”
Kwame Brown also responded to Arenas by saying, “You the right-hand arm of them White boys. Ni**a you took millions out my mouth, ni**a. You the Whitest Black boy I’ve ever known.”
The former NBA player also called Barnes, “Becky, with the good hair,” (a play on a popular song lyric from Beyoncé) saying that he needed counseling because he had issues with race being of mixed heritage
The problem with most “journalists” is that 24-hour news channels made the old school reporters television stars, and many got addicted to the limelight.
Furthermore, social media made many only care about going viral and increasing their online audience.
Therefore, many media personalities and social media stars will say anything and everything to stay trending.
But when the funk hits the fan, many of those same outspoken pundits suddenly do not want the smoke and want to take the high road.
Some of these same sports analysts have gone on the record for calling stars like Kevin Durant too sensitive and thin-skinned.
But then when they find out the brothers have a little street and a little gangsta in them, they get quiet as a church mouse.
There is nothing wrong with critiquing someone’s performance.
For many of us, that’s our job.
As a columnist and movie critic, I must write whether someone did a good job or a bad job.
But there is a way of critiquing someone without lambasting that person.
Calling people scrubs is totally unacceptable in 2021, especially when a Black man does it to another Black man.
If a media personality has enough talent, he/she can stand on their own two feet and succeed.
But when one must ridicule another for their lack of talent, maybe what that pundit really needs to say is that they lack talent too.