If not Us? Who?

“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
John, Chapter 8, Verse 7

A major comeback up from my minor setback
They still don’t know we living just thinking about the get back
The get back
I crack a smile knowing God has a day for me
Until that day comes I slay these niggas faithfully
The get back

Fabolous, “The Get Back”

I am a sinner.

I am a certified, bonafide and confirmed sinner. At 15, I was an adjudicated delinquent. At 16, I was the father of a baby born out of wedlock. In college, I smoked marijuana daily. Indeed, one day the Dean came to my room to confront us about playing our music too loudly. Upon entering, he almost choked on the billows of fine smoke wafting through the air.  I’m sure he got a contact…

A few months later, the same Dean uncovered our “fundraising” efforts which included selling all you could drink “get blast” passes to our fellow students for the low price of $10.00. He became aware of our activities after a few of our “pass holders” threw one of our classmates through a plate glass window in the lobby of our dorm.

The Dean didn’t throw us away… He didn’t call the police… He dealt with us personally… We had to deal with him and he held us accountable to him… I thank God for Dean Burroughs…

I never forget that I along with every one of my college friends exercised incredibly poor judgement during that 18 to 22 year old period.

I’ll never forget entering the communal bathroom to brush my teeth and discovering three of my homies from Darby Township washing their genitals in the sink. C’mon man!! What the fuck? Why y’all doing that shit?

“Yo Grec… we running a train on this white girl down the hall… she lettin erry body hit it…”

I looked down the hall and there were at least 10-12 guys waiting patiently in line for their opportunity to knock off this drug addled, drunk, confused and lost young woman… Unbeknownst to them, my friends were all a police statement away from felony rape charges and maybe 7-14 upstate…

This is the perspective from which I view young men that experience public “falls” today.

“There but for the grace of God go I”

If not us? Who? Who will be there to encourage our young men? Who will stand up and applaud there efforts to do better?

Fall from Grace-page-0Savon Goodman, Arizona State

On December 20, 2014, Savon Goodman posted 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Lehigh. He shot 9-11 from the field and even left 5 points on the floor by shooting only 6-11 from the free throw line. Three days later against Detroit, Savon shot 8-12 from the field and improved his foul shooting by going 6-8 from the charity stripe while securing 11 rebounds on his way to 22 points.

Trayvon ReedTrayvon Reed, Auburn

On December 17, 2014 Trayvon Reed grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in 12 minutes as Auburn defeated Winthrop. Three days later he grabbed 5 rebounds and blocked 5 shots as Auburn defeated East power Xavier.

BrandonBrandon Austin, Northwest Florida State

Brandon Austin has averaged 16.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 3.2 apg for Northwest Florida State College. Please note that while he has started every one of the the 14 contested for the undefeated Raiders, he is averaging ONLY 19.8 minutes per contest. He is playing less than half a game because his squad has been decimating opponents by an average score of 92 – 59.

These young men are on their last opportunities… They have felt the pain and embarrassment associated with publicly disappointing your mother, father and grandparents… They have watched as the sports media and the general public condemned them as “thugs” and declared them unworthy of future opportunities…

Still…

They got up and moved forward…

Still…

They searched for someone to give them another chance, another shot to prove that they could be contributing members of learning communities and integral parts of basketball programs…

These young men are my little brothers… I was there when it was “ALL GOOD”… I was there when they were declared top 50 players…. I was there when scores of coaches called, texted, tweeted and direct messaged all day, every day, day after day after day…

I was also there when the police came… I was there when they were pariahs… I listened when they wondered if it was all over…

I provided references, honest references for coaches afraid to take a chance on them…

I truly respect Herb Sendek (ASU), Bruce Pearl (Auburn) and Steve DeMeo (NWFS) for looking past the headlines and reaching out to the young men when they needed a strong hand to lift them up.

I love these guys… Like me, they fucked up “BIG TIME” while in college…

I applaud their efforts to revitalize their academic and athletic careers.

Those of you who are without sin, feel free to cast stones.

The rest of you, I ask that you support and encourage the efforts of OUR young men to stay on the straight and narrow path to success on and off the court.

 

 

 

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