Football is a violent sport. No doubt it plays into the gladiator blood sport mythos of days gone by. It’s also BIG business. I’ve heard that the current labour dispute between the owners and players is at the root, really about how to divvy up $9 billion is yearly revenue… basically the owners want a larger share of that pie!

Anywayzz, I like many others, mainly watch the NFL on Sundays to see the BIG hit… and, I like many others, watch our local sportscast to see the BIG hits in the other games we didn’t/couldn’t watch… and, there’s no BIGGER hitter in my (our) beloved NFL than James Harrison, linebacker with the Pittsburg Steelers.

James has created some controversy with his interview in the upcoming August Men’s Journal magazine (see here). People are “up in arms” (is this a bad pun I wonder?… lol!) about comments he made about racism in the league, comments about the commissioner Roger Goodell, including referring to him as a “faggot”, comments about his teammates, as well as levelling accusations against other players. The truth of the matter is that we live in the “age of instant but fleeting celebrity”… and the more outrageous and controversial you can be, the longer you can stretch out your allotted 15 minutes of fame… maybe to 30 minutes… and if you’re really luckily, a couple of news cycles!

As a football fan, I found the article to be interesting. No better or worse than most that I have read. However, what made me “shake my head” in disgust was the above photo, with the caption, James Harrison: Confessions of an NFL Hitman. What troubles me most, is as a police officer, that image only re-enforces a stereotype that places Black men is danger… and as a conscious and conscientious Black man (also bald with a little muscle) and father of a young Black son, that image only re-enforces a stereotype that places my son and I in danger… primarily from my gun-toting police brethren!

As Black men, we need to move beyond this gangster mentality… and I don’t just mean rappers, reggae dancehall artists and sports figures… and I’m not only talking to the our young Black men. I’m talking about and to all of us! This fascination of being (seen as) the hardest and wickedest, the Al Pacino “baad guy” persona is not only self-destructive, more significantly, it’s childish!

Also if you are so baad as you want people to believe , then why all the whining the next day that you were misquoted, your comments were taken out of context, making clarifications, apologies and statements that your comments and slurs weren’t meant to be derogatory against “whatever” group (see here).

Bad Up and Man Up! Stand By What You Say or Shut The Fuck Up! You can’t be misquoted and taken out of context if you keep your mouth shut! And you certainly can’t be a gangster and a whiner at the same time!

The only “real niggazz” I know are “wannaa-bee gangstazz”.