Back in May I did a story on JR Smith and gang signs. The point of the story was pretty straight forward,. Regardless if he is, was or planning to be in a gang there was no need to perpetuate a stereotype or perception especially if it was untrue.
The story took on a life of its own garnering national attention and opening up a debate to what responsibilities does a professional athlete especially African-Americans athletes on their perception in society.
It was a heated debate that raged on for weeks. It currently has 152 comments and I did over ten interviews giving my opinion and clarifying my points.
You are probably asking why I am bringing this up now. JR is back in the news and guess what it is for “Gang Signs”.
The Denver Post reported today about the controversy that his Twitter page is causing. Here are some excerpts from that article.
Nuggets guard J.R. Smith’s tweets are raising questions among fans. Several recent posts by Smith on his page — twitter.com/jr_smith1 — are written in a way that is commonly associated with the Bloods street gang.
Words that would have a “C” in them are replaced with “K,” or if a word has both in them, the “C” is removed altogether. Smith has nearly 15,000 followers on his Twitter page.
“Those are still little messages that are being transcended back to some of the neighborhoods,” said Rev. Leon Kelly, executive director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives in Denver. “Not to say in no way is he promoting a gang. But people got to understand that a lot of these kids come from gang neighborhoods. Their friends are still involved in doing what they do. Just because one was able to get out of that lifestyle, many of them don’t forget where they come from.”
On a post Sunday, Smith exclaimed “Vegas here I kome!” Last week he wrote that he “Kant wait to get bak in the swing of things.”
A post last week, upon his release from jail, caused an online debate among Denver Post readers about the topic. Smith, at the time, thanked his fans and wrote, “I just Kame home. . . . I kouldnt have done it with out yall.”
My opinion hasn’t change nor will it ever change. You don’t make it harder on yourself when these types of stories come out; you make it harder on everyone else.
It is so stupid what are you trying to prove? what are you trying to represent? I get it you from the hood, the money didn’t change you and you still gangster.
All I ask is that professional athletes just think for one minute about how their perception can affect everyday people.
I know people want to believe that it doesn’t have an effect, but being a black man I know for a fact that it does.
My uncle told me once as a black man as soon as we walk out of our doors we are already behind by two touchdowns.
I was a teenager then and I didn’t really understand what he was saying. As the years went by it became perfectly clear what he meant and with every story like this it just adds to our deficit.
I don’t need athletes to be role models. Parents, teachers and etc should be role models. All I ask for athletes and I mean this from the bottom of my soul just don’t make it harder on us it is hard enough as it is.
Once again for the second time:
SMARTEN UP JR