RAW DOGMA                                                                       written by Nkrumah Steward

maurice clarett: running with yoke on your face

On the way to work today I heard on the radio that Maurice Clarett surrendered to police last night for charges that he robbed two people at gunpoint Saturday night.
Remember when Maurice Clarett, the former Ohio State tailback who was busted for filing a police report claiming that more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs, cash and stereo equipment was stolen from a car he borrowed from a car dealership?
That cost him his eligibility at Ohio State.
As it should’ve.
At that time Jim Brown, the former Cleveland Brown
Hall of Fame football great came to his defense. He did the whole talk show circuit thing making his case that Maurice Clarett was a good kid that just needed another chance.
Now, Jim Brown is known particularly around the Los Angeles area for working with gang members and whatnot and trying to get that element of the black community on the track of doing something productive with their lives.
Naturally, regardless of what you do some kids are just going to fall through the fingers of even the most well intentioned Samaritans.
I am glad that people like Jim Brown exist. I am glad that there is someone that is willing to do what it takes to show these kids that someone cares and save those that can be saved. But I admit that my reasons for being glad that Jim Brown exists are selfish, because if you were waiting on Nkrumah Steward to do it, it wouldn’t get done.
What do I say to a kid that made the decision to do a drive by shooting, bully people in school or sell drugs and then is complaining that he doesn't like his life?
I don't have a clue what to say to him because I have never been where he is at nor am I from where he is from.
I am not big on asking others to bear the responsibility for my decisions so he probably wouldn't like what I said to him about people bearing the responsiblity of his.
I don’t blame the cops for hiding where I couldn’t see them when I get a speeding ticket.
I don’t blame my job for sending private investigators to sit in unmarked cars outside my home and follow me to softball practice when I am faking back spasms so I can collect disability.
I think there is a lot to be said about character. Somehow I think we as society have all gotten away from that.
I think religion has seen this and has tried to interject themselves in the conversation as the answer, but belief in Christ, fear of the devil or being uncertain about what happens to you when you die does not, will not, and cannot give you character.
Being a person of character won’t do a damn bit of good stopping someone from doing things to you, which is the goal of religion, to swear faithfulness to supernatural forces in exchange for them helping you avoid bad things from happening to you. Being a person of character can’t stop things from happening to you, shit happens, but it can do a lot about stopping you from doing things to yourself.
I am not going to run to a Maurice Clarett’s side and try to turn his situation around as some indictment of the NCAA, Ohio State University, or even White Society as a whole when Maurice Clarett gets caught fling a false police report and has to sit out a year of college football. What he did was a character issue.

I don’t blame the cops for hiding where I couldn’t see them when I get a speeding ticket. I don’t blame my job for sending private investigators to sit in unmarked cars outside my home and follow me to softball practice when I am faking back spasms so I can collect disability.
I think there is a lot to be said about character. Somehow I think we as society have all gotten away from that.
Yeah, kids do stupid things but I am big on consequences. I believe consequences, cause and effect are nature’s way to teaching people how to make better choices. I think the worst thing you can do to a kid is shield him or her from feeling the consequences of his/her actions.
I guess I am just tired of kids like Maurice Clarett suddenly getting tossed in my face like I have to bear the weight of the consequences of Maurice Clarett’s character issues because highly respected and influential black leaders like Jim Brown and Jesse Jackson run to these kid’s sides whenever they get themselves in trouble and make this into an issue larger than it really is.
Remember when seven black kids got into a fight at a high school football game in Decatur, IL, and they were suspended for two years under the school boards zero tolerance policy.
Jesse’s point was that they didn’t use any weapons, there were no drugs involved, no one got busted open and bled all over the bleachers so what’s the big deal.
Personally, I am not a big supporter of zero tolerance policies in general. I don’t believe justice can be served when the particulars of a given situation are ignored.
But with that said, again, consequences have to be felt. Eventually Jesse got the suspension reduced to a year but arguing that since the fight could’ve been much worse but it wasn’t, is just bad reasoning.
The point of zero tolerance is to make examples of people to hopefully deter things from getting worse.
Does zero tolerance work?
In my opinion, no.
I believe in the law of idiots. Idiots are the people we make laws for and idiots don’t think before they act.
That makes passing laws specifically to deter crime pointless because the people who are going to commit these acts aren’t thinking before they do them.
Case in point, the death penalty. There isn’t a single place in the United States that has the death penalty that can point to a decrease in murders as a result of instituting capital punishment.
That’s because people who kill aren’t thinking about the consequences of killing before they murder someone, and those of us that do think before we act, never get around to doing the crime in the first place.
There will be influential black leaders in America that will run to show support of any black American regardless of what they have done and try make the case that whatever they did is just a symptom of a larger issue.
At times like these I wonder what Jim Brown says when he hears that after all the work he put in with Maurice that is he out robbing people behind bars at gun point?
Does he say, “I’m not surprised” just like I did? Or does he say to himself, “here is another young black male who society has let down?”
If I am talking to Maurice Clarett right after the false police report incident, we aren’t talking about getting into the NFL or getting back on the football field at Ohio State even, we are talking about decisions and what kind of reasoning he uses when he is making decisions because obviously that is where he needs help.
The last thing a kid like Maurice Clarett needs is someone telling him that he is a victim of the NCAA, white society or the National Football League. He is a victim of his inability to make solid decisions and maybe, just maybe he has a problem doing that because his life has been filled with a never ending parade of people trying to shield him from the consequences of his actions because they thought he was supposed to be a phenomenal talent.
Now he is just going to be another statistic. We as African Americans hate to hear that but that is what he is now.
Another young, black male caught up in the criminal justice system.
Just another statistic.
Consequences are nature’s safety net for those who don’t have character.
I say if you have a troubled kid what you have been doing doesn’t seem to be working, let nature take a shot at it.
Former Buckeyes Star Clarett Posts Bond, Washington Post, Tuesday, January 3, 2006
same difference

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