Kelley: "The first time I saw Yao in Portland, a group of fans in back of me was yelling the same kinds of things at him. People around those fans were laughing. They didn't get it either." ...SO WHAT DID YOU DO? TURN AROUND AND SET THEM STRAIGHT OR SLINK DOWN IN YOUR SEAT AND TALK INTO YOUR TAPE RECORDER?

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Posted Friday/January 17, 2003; 2:46 p.m. PST
Updated Friday/October 3, 2003; 3:07 p.m. PDT

Confused Columnist
I’ve gotta really be motivated to write a response to a sports columnist's column and Steve Kelley REALLY motivated me. First, I like Steve Kelley’s stuff. Second, I like Steve Kelley’s stuff when he knows what he’s talking about. Third, in his column last Sunday, “O’Neal’s act groups him with Lott, Rocker,” Steve Kelley didn’t know what he was talking about.

Big Bigot
Beloved Bigot

Comparing Shaquille O'Neal's bigoted remarks to those of John Rocker is alright for the sake of making his point. But grouping them with Trent Lott is unbelievable. First of all Steve, there’s a difference between bigotry and racism. Racism, like Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Marxism, “Etceteraism,” is a system of power. Racism is the political and economic power to enforce policy based on race. Making bigoted remarks is not being racist, just stupid. Archie Bunker was a bigot, but not a racist since he lacked the power to enforce his beliefs and agenda. But Archie was funny because the things he said were incredibly stupid and we all laughed at that blundering bigot.

Stupid Talkin' Slammer

For Steve Kelley to even think, let alone write, that the five words (actually sounds, since Shaq didn’t know what he was saying) O’Neal said were, “…every bit as racist and stupid and ignorant as anything ever uttered by Trent Lott or John Rocker,” is outlandishly ridiculous! EVER uttered? Rocker went off and Lott kept his invisible KKK hood on. How can those three things even be compared?

John Rocker gave straightforward answers to direct questions for a Sports Illustrated article. Senator Lott was toasting (Grandpa Racist) Strom Thurman at his 100th birthday party, while beaming with pride at being a cog in the mechanism of racism. Shaquille O’Neal made a flippant remark trying to be funny although he wasn’t. Steve Kelley's repeated comparison of O'Neal to Lott is every bit as ignorant as the sounds uttered by Shaq.

Chinese Jackie Robinson

As a U.S. senator, Trent Lott was a power brokering, policy maker for the United States of America. Of course, his comments required a gang of apologies including a “One Night Only” engagement on Black Entertainment Television. Shaquille O’Neal is a self-indulged, power center that doesn’t even make policy on his own team. He said, “If I offended anyone, I apologize.” Today’s egomaniacal athletes would sooner have their big toe cut off, than to say “sorry” to anyone for anything. So all the stuff Steve Kelley says Shaq “needs to do” is (in the words of another ego driven-no thinking-before-stupid talking-clueless jock), LUDICROUS!

I can appreciate what Steve Kelley was trying to say, but wonder why he isn't as insightful and sensitive about African-Americans in his own town. He devoted a entire column to grilling Shaq about mocking Yao Ming with a stupid attempt at doing what O'Neal always does; try to be funny. On Fox Sports Northwest, white sportscasters (trying to be funny) use “ivory ebonics” and mock African-Americans virtually every night. Steve Kelley scolded a black man in Los Angeles, saying he needs to be more “educated” and “sensitive” about the Asian community, but is neither concerning Fox’s lack of both for the African-American community in Seattle.

I do agree with Kelley that Shaq just might be “threatened” and trying to “deal with” Yao Ming the best way he knows how, since tonight is the BIG NIGHT. But in the realm of NBA competition, it seems like this falls under the category of “trash talking.” As ESPN's Dan Patrick said,“...I would guess that Yao might respond with his best gangsta-rap impression and everyone would laugh. No harm, no foul.

If Steve Kelley or anyone else in Seattle wants to deal with “real racism,” then address Steve Graham’s question in Backtalk from his letter, “Why the shortfall?

Commando Dave

Kelley: "According to Shaq Daddy, it isn't racist if he wasn't the first to say it, and since he's not the only one, then what's the big deal? Hey, he wasn't trying to be original, so why all the fuss?" ...MAYBE SHAQ IS WONDERING WHY NO ONE HAS MADE A FUSS ABOUT THE "MING DYNASTY" AND "EMPEROR FROM THE EAST" REFERENCES ESPN HAS BEEN USING FOR WEEKS.