Jeff Pearlman

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World’s dumbest athlete?

paul-shirley-con-balon-acbWatcher

Paul Shirley was a journeyman basketball player.

Now he is offering his take on Haiti—and how, since the people are poor, they deserve jack s***.

His money excerpt:

Shouldn’t there be some discourse on how the millions of dollars that are being poured into Haiti will be spent? And at least a slight reprimand for the conditions prior to the earthquake? Some kind of inquisition? Something like this?:

Dear Haitians –

First of all, kudos on developing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Your commitment to human rights, infrastructure, and birth control should be applauded.

As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it’s possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?

Sincerely,

The Rest of the World

  • Marty

    I LOVE Paul Shirley’s writing. I actually found myself agreeing with Paul Shirley and thought he asked some tough questions that needed to be asked.

    With that said, the way he worded some sections of his article just came off as extremely cruel, ignorant, and made me cringe. If he was Rush Limbaugh, nothing would happen. But he’s Paul Shirley, so he can be fired.

    I knew immediately after reading the article that ESPN would fire him rather than suspended him.

  • Marty

    Also, he’s rightfully getting skewered for the sections that were pointed out.

    Like Drew Magary from Deadspin/Kissing Suzy Kolber…
    http://kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com/2010/01/ksk-celebrity-pickakke-paul-shirley.html

  • Frank

    Ignorant!!…….walk a mile in their shoes my man! Jeff, we have a mutual friend that feels the same as this guy; and I ripped into him last night!

  • Jim

    The use of sarcasm and humor was inappropriate, but when you get beyond that, the man has sort of a valid point.

    Yes, we need to help the country. But given Haiti’s history of political instability and economic impotence, there ought to be some mechanism in place to make sure that money is spent properly. Clearly this is not a nation that has a track record of doing right by its people.

    The only line in there I had a problem with was the “use a condom” line, because that places blame on the people for the faults of the government.

  • Brian McDowell

    Am I alone in thinking that this guy is making at least a little bit of a good point?
    I wouldn’t say it as crudely as he does, but Haiti is obviously a country with a morally bankrupt government and with some serious sociological problems that money isn’t going to fix. And I think you can question the wisdom of sending 100 millions of dollars to such a country with no accountibility on how that money is going to be spent.
    And sending 100

  • Sean

    I think people are conflating Haiti’s political problems with the human catastrophe. If you want to solve Haiti’s government problems, you don’t need to wait for an earthquake to do so.

    As for accountability, it only goes so far as your trust for the organization you’re donating to. I’m pretty sure the Red Cross will be able to properly dispose of their money in a way that best helps the people of Haiti.

    Agreed that money won’t solve socio-economic problems (it never does), but it will go a long way to helping get water, food, and medicine to the people that need it.

    And what’s the solution for accountability? Make everyone who received a bottle of water fill out two forms w/ a receipt and a photocopy of government ID? How do you propose accounting for every dollar donated and spent without impacting the speed in which donations can be delivered?

  • Michael Duca

    The protestations of moral outrage and indignity would carry a lot more clout if people knew what the hell they were talking about, but that no longer seems to be the “American Way”.

    (And let’s not even bring Katrina into this discussion, because we’re Americans and ALWAYS do EVERYTHING perfectly, eh?)

    Haiti WAS saddled for decades with a morally bankrupt government. They were ALSO saddled, for more than 100 years, with imposed reparations paid to the government of France to compensate the French for liberating them from slavery — an amount that is equal to more than $21 billion in today’s dollars, or about $2500 per remaining Haitian. Compare that to their per capita income . . . and consider the power of compounded interest while you’re doing it….

    Their recent government had been making some major strides — the amount of general violence and theft/looting had dramatically dropped — cruise ships were calling on the place (and continue to, in yet another expression of clue-lessness that atomizes brain cells).

    Outside investment in the country had dramatically increased over the recent couple of years. Conditions WERE miserable, and are not worse — but they had been improving, not deteriorating.

    Just wondering if Tim Tebow will weigh in on this soon….

  • Michael Duca

    Type in the penultimate paragraph — should say “Conditions WERE miserable, and are NOW worse — ” …

  • Darrin

    This guy was indelicate at best and a bigot at worst… BUT

    I don’t think it’s unfair to ask if some of this relief money will go toward making sure that another earthquake will not automatically cause the same devastation.

    Put it this way… any liberals that were snarky about Midwestern farmers — who are mostly conservative Republicans — living along the Mississippi flood plain in 1993 don’t get to bitch about this guy.

  • Yikes. Yikes to those of you who think Shirley was even “making a little bit of a good point.”

    I’m a conservative and I don’t like handouts and government spending… BUT, I can’t get on board with even a little of Shirley’s crap. There’s a HUGE f-cking difference between poor infrastructure, corrupt politicians, etc., and a NATURAL DISASTER that kills 100K-plus people. Come on. Seriously.

  • Ron

    Wrong Jeff. Paul Shirley isn’t saying that “since the people are poor, they deserve jack s***.”

    You are.

    You’re inferring something that was not stated or implied in the article.

    There is no doubt that the people of Haiti need humanitarian relief in the face of the earthquake. However, there is nothing wrong with expressing the opinion that some accountability come with the effort to rebuild Haiti once basic human needs are met.

    I expect that you would recognize the snark and sarcasm as tools to deliver Shirley’s opinion. After all, you use them quite “liberally”.

  • Pete

    i actually agree with him. they should use this tragedy and make the country better. and i would like the $ not to go to the gangsters who run the country

  • Jiri

    his words taken out of kontext…just to make a point.. bravo Pearlman you big humanitarian

  • Wha?

    “kontext”

    a link to the entire piece is “taking it out of context?” just askin’.

  • Fitz

    This is sickening, this are PEOPLE we are talking about. You realize that country was just hit with one of the biggest earthquakes ever in the western hemisphere, followed by like 50 aftershocks? I don’t give money to homeless people either, but if an earthquake hit and half of my city was on fire, I would want to know that he has enough to survive. He is still a person. Shirley is a creep, and anyone agreeing with his article better live really far from a fault line.

  • Del

    Funny thing about Paul Shirley. He fancies himself a liberal intellectual. Read Chomsky in college and still listens to hipster and indie music. Talks about how much more interesting Europe is. Loved Obama, but now wonders if he lost his way. Yet these are his views. So what are we to make of them?

    I wonder how many other liberals share his views? The ones that aren’t blaming the United States(the evil of the whole world who are to blamed for everything according to us) for Haiti’s plight. But in private I’ve heard a few of my friends, who donated to Haiti, still mention Haiti being a failed country that clings to backward christian religion.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life