On 9/17/2009 Delonte West was arrested for speeding on a motorcycle. That in itself isn’t such a big deal right? Well, turns out he cut off a police officer while speeding and when he was pulled over, it was discovered that he had a guitar case that contained a shotgun, and two hand guns were found on his person. One was in his pocket and the other in his pants leg. It’s illegal to carry concealed weapons and to transport loaded guns in Maryland, according to police.
Let me begin this by saying that I for one don’t believe that everyone needs to have a gun just because they have a constitutional right to bear arms. First, nobody ever reads the entire 2nd amendment, but that’s a story for political debate, not sports. In relation to sports, I’ve heard the argument that athletes need to protect themselves and I agree with that. Protecting yourself can be accomplished with one handgun, or hell maybe some bodyguards if you are happen to be out at the club, or wherever. Most athletes can afford bodyguards. I just don’t believe that you need to have Desperado or El Mariachi style armaments with you. I’ll concede that West has had issues with depression and a “mood disorder”. Here’s an excerpt from espn.com:
“Last year, West left the Cavaliers’ training camp to seek treatment for depression and a “mood disorder” he said he has battled his entire life. At the time, he said he was taking medication and attending therapy sessions. West said his mood problems date to his childhood. West has said his mood swings seem to be most erratic when his life seems to be in order.”
That brings further questions to me as to why would he feel the need to be speeding at night on a crotch rocket headed somewhere O.K. Corral style.
After the Plaxico incident I’d think more athletes would think harder about where they go and who they associate with if they feel the need to arm themselves to go there. There isn’t enough pride or chest puffing or machismo that should make someone go somewhere that they feel they are in that much danger. More and more details will come out but for now West has been released on his own recognizance. I was glad to read that he wasn’t intoxicated in any way. In fact, he was cooperative with the arresting officer. I feel some sympathy for West, due to his issues with depression, but I can’t feel any empathy for him. In the end, he’s a grown man who was speeding down the highway ready for a gunfight.
Frankly, I’m really tired of hearing about athletes (particularly BLACK athletes) always being arrested for things that better decision making can avoid. I’m tired of them always having to be tough, to be street, to be hood. Why? I don’t buy that you can’t take the hood out of the individual. I know that it’s a shock and a huge sudden change of lifestyle for most athletes who go pro. That being said, after a few years of living in the new lifestyle, they should know better. They should see the examples of those who came before them, good and bad, and they should know that they are no longer poor. They are now wealthy and have to act differently, and be different people.
They may not be role models, but they certainly are people in the public eye, and will always be looked up to. They will always be scrutinized and unfortunately they’ll always be judged. I don’t want this to come off as me bashing Delonte West, but I really don’t care if it does come off that way. I’m just sick and tired of reading reports like this. I’m sick and tired of these athletes who work so hard for so long to get to where they are, yet don’t seem to learn certain things outside of their sport. I’m sick of them feeling like they have to keep it hood, to feel like they need street cred. When you think about it, street cred when you’re filthy rich doesn’t mean much. Keeping yourself out of negative spotlight though can mean more earning power and peace for you and your family. I’m sick and tired of them perpetuating so many negative stereotypes about Black men. You can say all you want that there are non-black athletes who get arrested too, but seriously, how many of them? For every Matt Jones you know of who is in trouble with the law, how many more Black athletes can you name?
Your thoughts are welcome as usual and I’d love to hear them.
Sources: espn.com, 950 AM (Philly)