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brought to you by: EspreeNet News Service

Published October 22, 2006

Different Brawl, Same Tragedy
Sport brawls are'nt new but are they becoming a part of the game.

EspreeNet News Service

Syracuse, NY (ENet News) - Once upon a time long, long ago, I wrote in response to the Pistons/Pacers “Basketbrawl.” Very near to that time it was the Clemson/So. Carolina “foot-brawl”. Now it’s Miami and FIU. Who’s next?

A more significant question is, “Who was first?”

Check the Maryland state history books and you’ll find a basketball story about Mackin High (led by now Duke Associate Head Coach Johnny Dawkins) and McNamara High (led by former Cal and current Morgan State Head Coach Todd Bozeman) in a summer league tussle that got out of hand. The fight started at midcourt and wound up in the middle of main street Blair, Maryland (yes, the same Blair of Witch Trials’ fame.) Refs, fans, coaches, players, Police Chief Moose and his staff all showed up for the party. The year…1981!

There was no gangsta rap to blame. There was no internet, no cable television. Just a bunch of young, strong black males who were thinking that we were “handling our business.”

Soon after, that same McNamara got into with St. Anthony’s High. This time it was USAIR arena where the Wizards and Hoyas play. We were the preliminary to the Bullets (Wizards) and Jazz game. This one, got ME tossed and banned from the USAIR arena. It started on the court and worked its way to the third floor corridor before security got a handle on it.

Let’s fast forward the tape shall we. Carrier Dome vs. Nebraska, 1984, reserve linebacker Jerome Hall knocks down a Cornhusker and walks to the bench. Turns back and inexplicably steps on the guys neck. Players from both sides converge with rockets poised to launch. Cameras and fans missed it, Coach Mac caught it and pulled Hall away, thwarting an inevitable “brawl.” Today, that same Hall champions anti-violence campaigns in our fair city.

Don’t let the smooth taste fool you, we weren’t always so charming…

As my late friend and comrade, Ed Moss of SU hoops’ lore says, “Sports is a microcosm of society.” Once again, the socially poisoned minds and hearts of young Black males flash across the TV screen to cheers, jeers, indictments, and ridicule. I said it then and I’ll say it again, it’s a Black male problem.

Today, a few young black males down in Florida can’t play ball and may be kicked out of school. A black male commentator, whom we all in unison said, “he should know better” is out of a job. Count up the suspensions and expulsions and you will find that they are all male. All Young. All Black. The Coach you ask? He still has his job.

It is very presumptuous, foolhardy and even a bit bigoted for us to think that these young brothers should know better. Heck, I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW BETTER. It required a father, two Uncles, and an older brother to teach me that except for hockey and boxing, the “PEN” is mightier than the punch.

So I refuse to indict these young men and I’ll argue their cases in court that they are the symptoms of a failing “system.” Ninety percent of these brothers are in college because they can “play ball” but lack the proper techniques and training to handle conflict with methods of negotiation instead of weapons of armament.

Naw, I don’t indict these brothers like most of these expert commentators on ESPN and the local news. A minute ago, I was one of them. Hopefully, these young black males will be as lucky as me one day and some older Black male (if we can find any) will teach them to do their fighting with much more effective and legal weapons.

Hopefully they will be as lucky as Hall, Moss and me…and one day fight with their College Degree.

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