Over the past 25 years, I’ve had the same conversation with young Black men and women from urban areas like Philadelphia, PA, Camden, NJ, Baltimore, MD, Paterson, NJ Newark, NJ Wilmington, DE, Bronx, NY and Washington, DC. It goes like this… “Do something wrong, they are gonna plaster your picture all over the front page of the newspaper and you’ll be the lead story on the local news.”
Ask Na’im Crenshaw, Jamal Nichols, Malik Hines, Trayvon Reed, Jeremiah King, Delonte West and at least 50 others? I’m sure they got tired of hearing the same shit… The mainstream media will CRUSH you and your reputation!
But it must be repeatedly emphasized and reinforced. It takes just a few seconds to destroy a good name and reputation you spent a lifetime building.
The widely reported situation faced by a group of Lincoln University basketball student-athletes serves as a clear example of this dynamic.
The local media has plastered pictures of these young men across millions of television screens.
“Arrested”, “Charged”, “Theft”, “Assault”…
These are the words attached to the images. UGLY… Real UGLY shit… Their mothers, grandmothers, girlfriends, teachers, Principals, counselors, etc. all see these images and can’t help but wonder… “What did they do?”
But… then one realizes these same student-athletes played, very well I might add, in a basketball game last night.
Lincoln University ended the Claflin University men’s basketball team three-game winning streak on Wednesday (Dec. 19), defeating the Panthers, 82-74, in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) contest.
Lincoln was led by Deaquan Williams with a double-double, 20 points-19 rebounds. Cameron Campbell added 17 points.
After Claflin cut a 13-point (58-45) lead to 60-54 at the 9:28 mark of the second half, Lincoln used a 10-3 run to extend the lead back to 13, 70-57, with 6:14 left in the game.
The six-point deficit would be the closest for the Panthers.
Every single player named in media reports suited up and played for Lincoln in this contest.
Moreover and more importantly, Lincoln University posted bond for the players enabling them to be released.
Yes… Lincoln University bailed the kids out of the county jail, transported them back to campus, allowed them to suit up and play in an important CIAA contest.
What school does that for students that have been arrested and charged with theft and assault? What gives? There must be much more to the story than the local “mainstream” media is reporting.
Well… Here it is…
Sources close to the families of several students tell very similar stories. According to these sources, there has been a rash of dormitory burglaries on the scenic Lincoln campus.
Last week the rooms of several players on the women’s and men’s basketball team were broken into and ransacked. Items such as Playstations and wallets were stolen. The players contacted Lincoln University’s Department of Public Safety.
According to sources, Lincoln Public Safety took over three hours to respond to the reported burglaries. When they did respond, they confronted the student-athletes and interrogated them as if they were suspects and not victims. This interaction left the student-athletes wary of Public Safety’s commitment to protect them and their belongings.
The thief used a debit card stolen from one of the student-athletes to order food. The student-athlete was able to ascertain information about the transaction from his/her bank. With this information, the student-athletes were able to determine who was in possession of the debit card and very likely the perpetrator of the burglaries.
Sources report that one of the student-athletes saw the “thief” on campus. He/she contacted other victims and they decided to confront the thief to retrieve their belongings. The thief balked and became aggressive toward the student-athletes. A physical confrontation ensued.
The thief was injured during the melee. Apparently, he suffered a broken arm. Hence, assault charges.
The student-athletes retrieved their belongings from the thief’s dormitory room. Supposedly surveillance cameras captured images of the student-athletes taking their belongings from the thief’s room. Hence, theft charges.
Sources have confirmed that the thief was immediately suspended from school and barred from campus.
The student-athletes were bailed out by the University and won their 5th straight basketball game last night.
Should they have beaten the thief? Probably not… Should they be charged with theft? Absolutely not!
Black Cager Sports applauds Lincoln University for it’s handling of the matter after the Department of Public Safety FUCKED UP the initial complaint.
Hopefully, these facts will emerge and be considered when the student-athletes appear before a Chester County judge in January.
Let this be a lesson… “Do something wrong, they are gonna plaster your picture all over the front page of the newspaper and you’ll be the lead story on the local news.”
They were wrong to beat the thief… Maybe, they should have just held him until the Department of Public Safety arrived three (3) hours later… But, their behavior was not criminal.
At least I hope that’s how the judge and the District Attorney sees things.