A Daily Babble Production
The wake of the latest Josh Howard-induced media firestorm seems to have once again brought forth the conundrum athletes face with regards to their public remarks.
If they keep their commentaries brief, vague and focused only on the games they play, fans and media alike criticize them for being generic and full of coach-speak. If they speak candidly and go beyond the framework of PR-savvy sports cliche, they catch heat when people disagree with their views, often with much fervor.
Indeed, there are some cases where we make it rather tough on athletes in this way. Regardless of whether the substance of their commentary follows with our own ideologies, we could be a bit more consistent toward appreciating athletes who speak with sincerity and do so in an appropriate forum.
Josh Howard doesn't qualify for that distinction.
If Josh Howard truly believes that his race and the national anthem of this country aren't in sync, more power to him. The beauty of this country is that he is entitled to believe whatever he wants, no matter everyone else's thoughts on it.
But just because Howard chose to express what might be an honest view (there has been some speculation that he was just interested in mugging for the camera and that he was goofing around) doesn't make it refreshing, and it doesn't make the way he chose to go about it respectable.
When Carlos Delgado decided that political issues lessened his enthusiasm for the anthem, he handled it like a professional. He protested clearly but respectfully by remaining seated in the dugout while the Star-Spangled Banner was played. He candidly answered questions about it from the media after the fact on several occasions at appropriate times - which can be construed as just about any time besides the playing of the music itself.
When Josh Howard decided he had a political problem, he goofed around during one of the nation's most hallowed rituals and used obscenity to describe said ritual on camera. That isn't admirable. That isn't refreshing. It's disrespectful.
Josh Howard is a professional athlete. He can talk to the press anytime he wants. If he wants to express a set of political views, he has the platform to do it at any point that meets his convenience. He can go to the Dallas Morning News. He can go to ESPN. He can go to local radio or television, the blogosophere or any other place.
He did none of that. Instead, he made one unsubstantiated statement without providing any sort of intellectually valuable support for that assertion. And he did it while the national anthem was playing - a piece of music that has traditionally come to be universally used and accepted in this country as a vehicle to honor the men and women who have given and continue to give their blood, sweat, tears and in many cases their lives to allow this nation to be what it is.
Howard didn't contribute anything to the ongoing political discussion in this country. He just chose to make a personal assertion in a truly asinine manner. There is being genuine, and then there is being foolish and disrespectful. This definitively falls into the latter category.
Over the last four months, this is a guy who has gone on radio to share that he willingly and knowingly enjoys breaking the law (regardless of what one believes, the action of using marijuana is a crime). He flaunted his lack of concern for his employer's wishes by ignoring the request for minimal postgame activity during the playoffs when he threw a sizable public birthday bash for himself after a Mavs postseason loss, a party for which he advertised in the locker room. He's also been arrested for street racing this summer.
That he couldn't be bothered to show any respect for the flag of his country either doesn't make Josh Howard some sort of refreshingly sincere athlete. It merely indicates the continuance of a pattern of questionable decisions for a highly talented young man who can't seem to get his act together off the court.