Have you seen this video in which “old” Uncle Drew proves that he knows hoops?
Sure, Uncle Drew is a ringer ,but then I look at the old San Antonio Spurs. There may be a lesson for all of us. The San Antonio Spurs should be getting all of the love from the sports world, but they aren’t. They have won four NBA titles with the same three guys as their core for the last decade. They have schooled younger and flashier teams. They understand how to play the game. The game ain’t about dunks. It ain’t about hype. It ain’t about individual scoring. It is about passing. It is about team defense. It is about rebounding as a team. It is about hitting the outlet passes. It about understanding where your teammates are on the floor at all times. It is about hitting the open guy and that guy drilling the open shot. It is about five guys playing in harmony. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili understand this.
Many, many years ago, I was out in the Pecos wilderness with several of my classmates. We found out, first-hand, what happens when you stir up a hornet’s nest. We were walking down this trail single-file. All of us were city slickers and most of us did not really appreciate being out in the woods. Therefore, we really were paying attention to our surroundings. Suddenly, one guy grabbed his leg and ran off the trail screaming in pain. A few seconds later, the guy behind him did exactly the same thing. It turned out there was some sort of hornet’s nest in the middle of the trail. The first two or three guys walked down the trail that the hornets stirred up. The middle of the group got stung. Those of us who were lagging behind saw the commotion and took a different path. In the end, everybody was fine, with the exception of a few stings. In this highly charged political atmosphere, one would figure that a major fund raising foundation would steer clear of hornet’s nests. Not the Susan G Komen Foundation for the Cure. On Tuesday, they decided, for purely political reasons, to stop funding Planned Parenthood. There was significant blowback. Today, they are in 100% damage control mode and almost reversed their decision. This was a major announcement that did very little to guarantee future funds for Planned Parenthood.
We live in an era in which nothing is exactly as it seems. Just a couple of years ago, the average American thought that British Petroleum really cared about the environment. They had a charm offensive which included more than five years of commercials filled with environmentally friendly talk. It only took one oil well and a completely tone deaf CEO to show America that British Petroleum was no different than any other major oil corporation. The Susan G Komen foundation had completely infiltrated the American psyche. They equaled breast cancer awareness and treatment. Even the NFL had one game where players would support the Foundation by wearing pink shoes or pink gloves or even have pink towels hanging from their waist. Personally, I have purchased golf balls, baseball caps and other merchandise which sported the Susan G Komen logo and supported breast cancer awareness and treatment. I have personally given money to people who have run in their multiple, well-publicized, “race for the cure” over the years. Now, that’s not happening. Millions of Americans have the same feeling. It will take Susan G Komen foundation years to recover from this strategic blunder.
In my opinion, the Board of Directors needs to clean house. The power structure of the Susan G Komen foundation needs to be fired. New management needs to be brought in if they are to convince the American public that they truly understand what the problem is. In my opinion, today’s announcement tells me that they know what the problem is, but that they don’t really want to fix it. Personally, it’s going be hard for me to pony up money to the Susan G Komen foundation ever again. I’ve already donated to Planned Parenthood, which I’ve never done in my life. I plan on making it a habit.
The Daily Kos has done an excellent job covering the to and fro of this debacle. Please check out their many posts here, here and here. Marcy Wheeler, fabulous blogger and personal friend, has an excellent post here. You can give to Planned Parenthood here.
Update: This is what anyone would describe as a bizarre episode in PR. This case just gets stranger. Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former press secretary, raises his ugly head. This just gets crazier and crazier. Komen has not been officially labelled a partisan, dead organization. I don’t see how the Susan G Komen foundation will be surviving this.
Here’s what I think is very sad about this whole ordeal. Women need an organizational advocate to raise huge sums of money to combat breast cancer. The advocate must be non-partisan and focus like a laser on breast cancer research and on helping women.
I’m not a lawyer, nor am I a judge, but I could smell something rotten from over a mile away. Several weeks ago, I read the story of Jamie and Gladys Scott. Bob Herbert highlighted the sisters in one of his columns. To me, this story screamed of a miscarriage of justice. Briefly, here’s their story:
On December 24, 1993, Scott County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi arrested the sisters for an armed robbery they vehemently deny participation in. In 1994 they were convicted after being implicated in the crime by three young black men who confessed to the robbery in exchange of a plea bargain that gave them 10 months. The sisters were not offered a plea and went to trial.
Many bloggers have focused on the fact that this armed robbery raked in a whopping $11. I like to focus on the fact that nobody died. I would like to focus on the fact that each of the Scott sisters had a clean record. So, what should be the maximum sentence for armed robbers who are first-time offenders? In Mississippi, the answer is two life sentences. The three guys who admitted to this crime received only 10 months. They took the plea bargain. So what happened?
Right now, I’m going to speculate. I’m going to speculate that the prosecutor saw these two black women as agitators. He saw them as two people who were going against the system. His system. He saw them as two black women who did not show the proper respect to authority. He took it as a personal affront that they had the nerve to contradict him and state, multiple times, that they were innocent. Therefore, the prosecutor acted as any dictator might, with rage, and he overreacted. He threw the book at the Scott sisters. Two life sentences. (Why this is even possible in Mississippi isn’t clear to me. What’s the sentence for jaywalking, a decade of hard labor behind bars?)
Time passed. All of their appeals were denied. The Supreme Court wouldn’t even hear their case. One of the robbers signed an affidavit that stated the Scott sisters had nothing to do with the armed robbery. The Mississippi justice system simply yawned. They didn’t care. Then, one of the Scott sisters developed renal failure while in prison. (Probably from poorly controlled diabetes and hypertension. I’m just guessing, but it is an educated guess. One would figure that as an inmate you could get basic medical care. I guess not.) Jamie is dying. She needs a renal transplant. Her sister Gladys is a match. Somehow, the NAACP got involved. Governor Haley Barbour was petitioned to pardon the women.
Now, here’s where Lady Justice is turned on her head. Haley Barbour, a governor who gives out few pardons, decided to pardon the Scott sisters, although he did not hand out an unconditional pardon. They could be released only if Gladys donated a kidney to Jamie. What? Why is that a condition for their release? This is crazy. Isn’t that coercion? (Let me digress for just a half a second. Organ donation is supposed to be a completely and totally generous act. Transplant physicians do not want their patients pressuring family members to give organs. It is illegal and violates transplant ethics. This is an extremely slippery slope.) In my opinion, Haley Barbour is wrong in so many different ways. Either commute or pardon the sentences or leave the sisters in jail. To pardon them with this stipulation is simply wrong. It is wrong for the transplant community. It is wrong for Gladys. It is wrong for Mississippi. This can’t be justice. It just doesn’t smell right. What are your thoughts?