Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two steps back

This past summer, a group of NBA players went to Beijing to represent our country and play in the Olympics. They considered it an honor to play for the United States. People in the military are willing to put their lives at risk to fight for this country.

We are so lucky to live in the greatest country in the world. A country that gives us so many freedoms and choices. So we honor our country by flying our flags and standing at attention when the star spangled banner is played.

Apparently, that doesn't apply to Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks. In this clip on Youtube, Howard is at a charity flag football game. There is someone on the field going around to some of the players. While the national anthem is being played, Howard looks into the camera and says "The Star Spangled Banner is going on, I don't celebrate this [expletive], I'm black".

But this isn't the first time that Howard has gotten into trouble. Last spring he admitted to a Dallas Morning News reporter that he liked smoking dope. He only fueled the fire to this story when he decided to call a Dallas radio station during the NBA playoffs and talk about it. He next got in trouble for inviting teammates to an after hours birthday bash (in his honor) after his coach told the team not to go party. This past July he got arrested for street racing in North Carolina. And if we got back to his college days at Wake Forest (where he went to school for free because he plays basketball), he was publicly criticized when he condemned the war in Iraq.

The Mavericks need to do something about this situation. In every arena of every game that Dallas plays this year, all eyes will be on Howard to see if he is standing at attention during the playing of the National Anthem.

I personally would like to see some sort of mentoring system for young athletes. All too often, we see young athletes get their first taste of fame and fortune and turn into total morons. With a seasoned veteran watching over the young superstar, they would be able to show them the ropes, give them advice on handling certain situations. It's kind of like Crash Davis and Nuke Laloosh in the movie Bull Durham. Nuke had a million dollar arm, but a 5 cent head. Crash was brought in to mentor him.

It's sad to see a player like Howard do stupid things. He's got all the talent in the world, but he seems to think that he's untouchable. Yes, he's making almost 10 million dollars a year to play basketball and he's one of the best players on his team. But what he doesn't understand is that professional basketball is a business, and the owner of the team (Mark Cuban) is getting tired of all the negative publicity that Josh Howard is bringing to the team. It will be interesting to see what Cuban does with him.

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