Imus and Shaq: WWGD? George (Carlin), that is.

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“I was freestyling. That’s all.”

“[I was making] a sarcastic point”

“It was all done in fun. Nothing serious whatsoever.”

“What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason.”

“Please tell everybody don’t make something out of nothing.”

Where does Imus end and Shaq begin? Or vice-versa?

More important, why the disparate responses to the knucklehead remarks of the week uttered by radio talk show hosts Don Imus and rapper wannabe Shaquille O’Neal?

During last Monday’s radio broadcast, Imus had this exchange with sports announcer Warner Wolf regarding Adam (Don’t Call Me Pacman) Jones’ numerous arrests and exchanges with our men in blue.

Imus: “What color is he?”

Wolf: “African American”

Imus: “There you go. Now we know.”

It sure sounded as if Imus was insinuating that the reason Jones was a bad boy was because of his color. He later tried to say he was saying that Jones was essentially “profiled,” that his blackness made him a target.

The remark invoked a bit of a hue and cry that Imus, previously fired for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hoes,” should once again be drawn and quartered.

A day earlier, renaissance man Shaquille O’Neal was TMV’d while rapping in a New York nightclub. Much of the coverage focused on his mocking Kobe Bryant, his former teammate, for losing so convincingly in the recent NBA Finals. (“Last week, Kobe couldn’t do without me.”) But at its lowest, Shaq “freestyled” this phrase: “Kobe…, tell me how my ass tastes.”

In contrast to the reaction to Imus, many journalists parroted O’Neal’s no-big-deal-it’s-what-MCs-do response.

Why the disparity in the reactions? To me, they should have been flip-flopped.

Imus is a was-been who at least came up with a plausible spin (one that would have been more plausible had he been, say, Keith Olberman).

O’Neal is a global brand who is one of the most respected, dominating and loved athletes of his generation. He is not an MC! His “rap” was dumb and vulgar. Near the end of his playing career, he should not want to go out asking a rival how his ass tastes — whatever the heck that means.

Where was the outrage for a “performance” (quote marks intended) that none of us would want our kids to hear?

I’m not saying he should be fined or suspended. But I’m shocked and disappointed that he was largely allowed to skate. I can certainly see why two sheriffs asked O’Neal to return badges he had been given for his work with the organizations.

At least someone stood up and said, “Sorry, Shaq, love ya, but this time you crossed the line.”

C’mon, Shaq, as Mark Jackson would say: “You’re better than that!”

Of course, the gut-busting irony is that these incidents each occurred just after one of the funniest men alive, George Carlin, died.

These two weak attempts at humor — and our reaction to them — no doubt have already made the comedic icon turn over in his grave.


2 thoughts on “Imus and Shaq: WWGD? George (Carlin), that is.

  1. MVP
    haha Kobe should ask for a trade!

  2. Roy,

    With respect to Imus you have it all wrong. There was no humor intended on Imus’s part. Bottom line, he is a racist who shouldn’t be on the air. His past suggests he has an issue with African Americans and everyone knows it.

    Sorry, but Imus had NO reasonable spin for what he said regarding Pacman Jones. Just like I feel the African American athlete has a responsibility to speak out on racail issues so do the few African American writers with platforms.

    You ever heard of Joe Bostic, Wendell Smith, and Sam Lacy? They were African American writers who wrote for African American newspapers. Then endured bitter cruelties. They set the stage for you and other African American writers to write. In the case of Lacy he persisted with his pen until he helped get Jackie Robinson in the Major Leagues.

    You, having 30 years of so-called experience, should revisit your history. You have it easy. You can sit in press boxes, stay in nice hotels, and simply write. Your writing predessors didn’t have it so easy.You NEED to speak out and tell the REAL truth.

    You and many other so-called writers with platforms are fearful because the man may cut your money off and reduce to a level as a has been. If Lacy were alive he’d have a lot more to say about Imus than you have. You simply threw Shaq in the story to “water” the situation down with respect to Imus.

    In closing, I’m dissappointed in you and other African American writers and athletes who don’t use your platforms to educate, inform, and awkaken the masses from a vantage point that’s clearly lacking.

    I’m not suprised by your lack of assertiveness on this and other racial issues. Only a man who is FREE can express himself and truly keep it real.

    Best Wishes.

    Dexter Rogers

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