FanDuel - WFBC

September 27, 2005

basketball 'star' begins political career: etan thomas, backup center for the Washington Wizards, speaks about politics and race. transcribed interview. I've no thoughts, but it seems to belong here, no?

posted by markovitch to basketball at 02:33 PM - 30 comments

oops, its a speech, not an interview. it's still a transcription though (you cant misspell things when you speak)

posted by markovitch at 02:45 PM on September 27

Man - That's a great speech. Etan is a passionate dude and he really puts it out there. Plus, it has a rythym and rhymes in parts. Very cool. Doesn't hurt that I pretty much empathize and agree with it's idea. So like - when's the revolution? I'm booked solid through to Thanksgiving.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:17 PM on September 27

The revolution will not be televised.

posted by owlhouse at 04:16 PM on September 27

nor will it receive playing time in the first round of the EC playoffs. buh dum cha!

posted by markovitch at 04:32 PM on September 27

his book, More than a Player is acollection of poems. might explain his gift for meter and rhyme

posted by markovitch at 04:37 PM on September 27

Great Speech- who would have thought a NBA player could make a speech like that?

posted by redsoxrgay at 05:27 PM on September 27

Wonderful speech. I'd love to see Bill O'Reilly in the hood. Ha!

posted by flicknut at 05:54 PM on September 27

Man, this guy is tough. He wants to grab a bunch of conservative republicans and "take them all on a trip to the hood". By the "hood" I presume he means one of the large inner city areas of Detroit, LA, etc. You know, cities that have been ruled for 50 years by Democrat mayors, Democrat city councils, Democrat judges. Naturally the folks in these urban jungles have no one to blame for their plight but the Republicans. We all know that mayors, councilmen and judges are just for show. Only the Republicans in Washington are to be held responsable for their trials and tribulations.

posted by drevl at 06:15 PM on September 27

well drevl, we know what side you're on. i don't want this to turn into a mefi-like pissing contest, but that, right there, are a series of broad generalizations. I don't want to assume, but it sounds to me like you are saying the 'hood' is where the black people are, and where the black people are, republicans are not. that says a lot about everyone involved, i think.

posted by markovitch at 06:22 PM on September 27

The key my fellow americans is apathy in voting. As a so called minority, I certinally can empathize with the cause. We are indeed a silent voice come election day. If we refuse to vote we shouldn't complain!

posted by Richard j Garcia at 07:08 PM on September 27

What a surprise to learn that Drevl's rhetoric is unmoored from reality. Los Angeles had a Republican mayor from 1993 to 2001 and 1953 to 1961. Perhaps Thomas wanted to take Bush to the 'hood because the plight of working families in this country is affected considerably by federal tax policies and social welfare programs. Ever year the feds sink their hooks further into areas that should be the province of local authorities, such as unfunded or underfunded mandates like No Child Left Behind. One thing Thomas did get wrong: Pat Buchanan is not a supporter of this war. He has been a strong voice of opposition.

posted by rcade at 10:12 PM on September 27

When you are right, you are right, rcade. One major city had a republican mayor for 16 of the 52 years covered by your first paragraph. I just didn't realize that republicans were so all-powerful that they could achieve more of their evil goals in 16 years than the democrats could achieve good goals in their 36 years in power. You correctly mention that Thomas did get one thing wrong. However, it seems Thomas may have gotten a few other things wrong. He states that "this problem is none other than the current administration which has set up shop in the white house". An administration has lots of positions (I learned this from watching The West Wing - tic). Which of those offices is held by O'Reilly, or by Buchanan, or Lott, Hanity, Jeb Bush, Bush Sr, or Guliani. Do you get my drift? If you are going to show what an ass I am for saying dems ruled a place for 50 years, when a few years republicans held the office, then at least hold Thomas' intentional inaccuracies to the same scrutiny. By the way, I still say that running a city for 36 years out of a 52 year period suits the phrase "ruled" the city.

posted by drevl at 11:03 PM on September 27

(If you refuse to vote, you're nowhere near a minority in the only meaningful sense.) Any time I see someone take the initiative and go into public service because they want to actually serve the public, instead of it being a logical career move or to protect interests of one kind or another, regardless of where they may actually stand in the spectrum, it gives me hope. I agree with maybe two-thirds of what Etan Thomas says, and I think his platform needs some refining if he wants to advance, but he's certainly got something, and good on him for throwing his hat in. Certainly his future looks rosier than the Wizards'.

posted by chicobangs at 05:41 AM on September 28

Also, I'm ignoring drevl and anyone else trying to turn this into a partisan spin contest. If I wanted to get my face covered in shit while reading a discussion thread, I'd go back to Metafilter. Take it there, drevl. They'll greet you with open arms. This not another place to spout left-right talking points. Whoever was mayor overseeing what slum at what point in history and what color party jacket they were wearing while in office is outside the scope of this site.

posted by chicobangs at 05:46 AM on September 28

*One major city had a republican mayor for 16 of the 52 years covered by your first paragraph.* Drevl, money talks ... bs walks. Are you saying that's the only major city that has had a Democratic govenor over the last 52 years. How much f-cking size you want to put on that cuz? $1,000? $10,000? $100,000? Can we bet? Puh-leeeezeee. Are you man enough to put your money behind your mouth?

posted by Mike McD at 06:02 AM on September 28

chicobangs: Whoever was mayor overseeing what slum at what point in history and what color party jacket they were wearing while in office is outside the scope of this site. Etan Thomas: This problem is universal, transcending race, economic background, religion, and culture, and this problem is none other than the current administration which has set up shop in the White House. Seems that Mr. Thomas made it about the color of the party jacket. Go back ten years and tell me it was a different story. The person/party at the top matters less than perhaps any other time in the history of our nation. Strikes me as an axe-grinding from an athlete that can put more than two sentences together and everyone is gushing over him as a result.

posted by geekyguy at 06:42 AM on September 28

Thanks Chico. Will do. Haven't heard of megafilter until now. However, isn't the posting itself partisan spin. I didn't read a hell of a lot of sports in it. And to Mike Mcd. I'm referring to whatever size "hood" that Thomas wants to drop these folks in. If he's referring to a town of 500, then so be it. My guess is he doesn't mean that. What's your take?

posted by drevl at 07:19 AM on September 28

The person/party at the top matters less than perhaps any other time in the history of our nation. Come back in fifty years, if you're still alive, and see if the consensus agrees with you. Forget the point on the political spectrum; the cronyism and carpet-bagging is reason enough for why I believe history will treat the current administration with extreme prejudice. Strikes me as an axe-grinding from an athlete that can put more than two sentences together Axe-grinding how? When you never really listen to, much less heed, legitimate objections to what you're doing, you can't call it "axe-grinding" when people continue to raise them. And that's exactly the point of the "athlete who can put more than two sentences together". He's saying that the current administration and those who make up the corps of its spear-carriers have responded to the problems of the 'hood by saying, "Thank you for your input," and going on to projects that they find more interesting (or more lucrative). That's the whole point behind his fantasy bus trip: to make those in power have to live the reality of the people being left behind by their policies. Sure, it's a point that others have made. But this is SpoFi, and do you see any other athletes making any kind of political statement, except for those like Curt Schilling (Shilling?) whose "political statement" boils down to, "He's m' man!"?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:29 AM on September 28

It was a well constructed speech. It doesnt cover my opinion of things, but thats a discussion for another time and place.

posted by daddisamm at 07:30 AM on September 28

You're the one who picked Los Angeles as an example, Drevl. It stuck out to me because a Republican led it for eight of the last 12 years. The Katrina-spawned talking point that puts all blame for city conditions on Democratic local authorities seems fallacious to me. The federal government has its hooks into everything, and party affiliations aren't nearly as distinct in mayoral races as you think they are. New York's as blue as blue gets in the U.S., but Republicans have led the city since 1994. If you'd get over the partisan spin, perhaps you'd recognize in Etan Thomas an effort to recognize a legitimate problem -- the gap between the working and the wealthy in this country is widening, and it's harder for the lower and middle class to make ends meet these days. Even if you quibble with the particulars of his speech, I think we should appreciate the guy for making it. Most millionaire athletes would never put future endorsements at risk by being outspoken.

posted by rcade at 08:04 AM on September 28

I think everyone needs to take a step back and really look at this article and what this man has to say in his speech. First off, how can you even compare this guy to the likes of Owens, Didrickson, Ali and others. I have never heard of Etan Thomas. Second of all, I think he needs to take a look at who he is talking about. George Bush Sr. has seen war. He was shot down during a bombing raid over Chichi Jima in WWII and narrowly escaped capture from Japanese forces who assassinated the rest of them who were not as fortunate as him. Third, I am completely sympathetic to the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. I think that social programs are not doing enough to empower people and give them the tools to become successful; HOWEVER, I went to college with many men and women from the "hood" and they made it out because there parents expected good grades, they stayed away from gangs and drugs and sacrificed for success. I do agree that we need to help people that do not have the advantages of the middle and upper class, but I have known many who have come from nothing and made something out of it. For them it had nothing to do with democrat or republican; it was sweat, hard-work and sacrifice. Nobody gets anywhere waiting for someone else to fix their problems for them. Finally, I think that it is interesting that a man is standing up preaching about how bad the inner city is and that the "republican" government affords them no opporunities, YET according to USA Today Thomas made $4.9 million dollars last year and has not made less than $1.4 million in the last four. Now I would hope that a man with his convictions is living an average lifestyle and giving all he can back to the inner city to try and help. The proof will be in the pudding.

posted by mcstan13 at 09:07 AM on September 28

First off, how can you even compare this guy to the likes of Owens, Didrickson, Ali and others. I have never heard of Etan Thomas. I don't think you understand the nature of the comparison being made. Maybe you should go back and read it again. Hint: he's not comparing their athletic achievements. Second of all, I think he needs to take a look at who he is talking about. George Bush Sr. has seen war. That's true, but George Bush Sr. is not currently the president of the United States. The current president never saw a shot fired in anger. Third, I am completely sympathetic to the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. I think that social programs are not doing enough to empower people and give them the tools to become successful; HOWEVER, I went to college with many men and women from the "hood" and they made it out because there parents expected good grades, they stayed away from gangs and drugs and sacrificed for success. Sacrificed what??? The whole concept of sacrificing this to get that presumes that you've got some "this" to sacrifice in the first place -- and that reality has changed in recent decades. Dunno when you went to college, but you speak in the past tense, and the sacrificing that made it possible for these kids to go to college would have taken place decades ago. A working-poor family today has a lot less "this" to work with nowadays when considering how they can sacrifice to create opportunities for their five-year-old child.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:53 AM on September 28

damnit i did exactly what i didn't want to do.

posted by markovitch at 10:28 AM on September 28

Well, if I may be so bold I think that the legacy of Katrina will be that it didn't cause a third world country to shoot up overnight - but revelaed one. And also - the mangled mess that is the modern fifth estate. Good lord, was the fear mongering and sensationalism sickening. From now on, I'm not trusting a single thing I read/watch/hear within two weeks of a big event - it's all just jockeying for position on the scare-o-meter. Pathetic.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:28 AM on September 28

I'm talking about big cities. Top ten population wise in the US. Answer the question. Are you saying these cities had democratic mayors/govenors? And if you are, will you put your money where you mouth is?

posted by Mike McD at 11:18 AM on September 28

NIce comments Weedy.

posted by daddisamm at 12:13 PM on September 28

I especially like the "scare-o-meter"

posted by daddisamm at 12:17 PM on September 28

lil brown bat, I wasn't comparing their athletic achievements either, but those people faced true adversity and raised to the pinnacle of their sports through that adversity. Somehow I am not clear as to how Etan Thomas's life and achievements even gets close to theirs. Second, Thomas made a comment about wanting to take the "right wing conservatives to the "hood" and show them how they live and he made reference to the use of the poor as the front line troops to fight the wars. I was simply pointing out that Bush Sr. paid his dues as well. Third, I think you are being very short sighted. If anything, a poor person trying to raise a family, go to school, and work has to sacrafice more than the rich people. Sacrifice does not just include material things. I am talking about working the 40-60 hours, sleeping less than 5 hours a night because you have to study. That is sacrafice as well. The problem with alot of people today, especially youth, is that everything revolves around material possessions.

posted by mcstan13 at 01:14 PM on September 28

Drevl, Where are you cuz? You ready to put some coin behind your words?

posted by Mike McD at 07:36 PM on September 28

lil brown bat, I wasn't comparing their athletic achievements either, but those people faced true adversity and raised to the pinnacle of their sports through that adversity. Somehow I am not clear as to how Etan Thomas's life and achievements even gets close to theirs. The author of the article was not comparing their athletic achievements, their other achievements, or their lives. He was comparing their decision to become involved in politics. That's all. Second, Thomas made a comment about wanting to take the "right wing conservatives to the "hood" and show them how they live and he made reference to the use of the poor as the front line troops to fight the wars. I was simply pointing out that Bush Sr. paid his dues as well. But Bush Sr. is not a member of the current administration. That's who Thomas is talking about. Third, I think you are being very short sighted. If anything, a poor person trying to raise a family, go to school, and work has to sacrafice more than the rich people. Sacrifice does not just include material things. I am talking about working the 40-60 hours, sleeping less than 5 hours a night because you have to study. That is sacrafice as well. The problem with alot of people today, especially youth, is that everything revolves around material possessions. Poor people who want to send their kids to college do indeed have to sacrifice more than rich people, in terms of what they have -- and because of that, everybody who's poor can "sacrifice" enough to send their kids to college. Times have changed, that the rich are richer and the poor are poorer, and college costs much more than it used to. You can work 40 hours, you can work 50 hours, you can work 60 hours, but there are only so many hours in a day, and past a certain point you can't work any more...and meanwhile, you're not, as you say, being there for your kids as a parent "expecting good grades" and the like. Sounds like a lose-lose, no?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:27 PM on September 28

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