Thursday, May 10, 2018

Over the edgy

For a guy who loves baseball and football so doggone much, I am way out of the loop of basketball. Just don't like it, never really have, and I just don't see the strategy and analysis that it takes to win in other sports; basketball just seems too simple.

But I know lots of people  - millions and millions - love it and that's fine, of course. I like people who like basketball just fine, except for Andrew Polk.  Andrew, I have nothing for.

I don't know Andrew Polk from Adam Levine, and for that matter, I don't know Draymond Green, either. Green is a player, a star, for the Golden State Warriors, and was playing in the NBA playoffs against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Polk is a standup comedian based in Ruston, Louisiana, that entertainment mecca that has been the wellspring of so many of our show business greats.  Why, just to name a few, there was what's-his-name who sang about the time the key broke off in the back door, and who could forget good old Whoozit who did the routine with the spinning cups and saucer.

Image result for andrew polk comedian
Funnyman Polk 
Apparently upset because Green had done well against the Pelicans, Polk tweeted that he hoped Green “gets shot in the face as soon as he leaves the arena, which looking at the citywide stats, is like 37 percent.”

When you're finished laughing at that slice of incisive wit, we can resume.

By now, you know how this works...explosive stupid tweet, outraged response from civilized humans, half-fast apology from original tweeter.  In this case, the apology said, "“I tweeted a very dumb thing meant to be an edgy joke. As a frustrated basketball fan, I go through ups and downs, and as a comedian, I don’t always express those in a digestible way. I wish no harm to anyone over a simple game, and I apologize sincerely.”"

I like comedians - the funny ones - and I don't think there is one single tiny thing funny about hoping someone gets shot in the face. And saying "I wish no harm to anyone" after saying you hope that someone gets shot in the face is not a proper apology.

A proper apology, in this case, might better have included Polk acknowledging that he has a serious emotional problem that requires professional help. What he wrote in an effort of apology was along the lines of those "I apologize to anyone who was offended" non-apologies.

Polk later emailed USA Today to say, "I accept the backlash and take responsibility for the criticism. It was a mistake I regret making. This is a simple game and I was making an inflammatory joke from a side of frustration and exaggeration. I didn’t take into account the very real human beings on either side of the joke, and for that, I apologize.”

As for Draymond Green, he took this stance: “If you feel the need to do something like that about basketball, then I feel bad for him. It’s kind of sad that someone would take this that serious. When you’re talking about at the end of the day what’s a game, making death threats and talking about life — I just pray that he gets the help that he needs. I personally don’t worry about it and No. 2 don’t care that much about it. I care a lot about basketball, but I don’t care that much. Being that we’re in it every day, we’re literally blood, sweat and tears in this every day — and it don’t mean that much to me, it shouldn’t mean that much to him either. I just pray that he gets the help that he needs.”

We all pray for that. Green did call for Twitter to block Polk for good and said the apology was "wasted," and I can agree with that as well.

And Green also makes this point: “I get booed everywhere I go,” he said. “I appreciate them booing me. That’s some deep love they got for me if you’re going to risk losing your voice trying to boo me. Thanks, I enjoy it.”

For all those who really truly believe that their taunts and catcalls and boos delivered to professional athletes from the comfort of a box seat (and a comfortable distance) really affect the players, time to think again. The sort of mental stability that enables a man or woman to become a top-rank athlete does not waver because Joe from Piscataway hollers something discouraging at them.

And calling for someone to be shot in the face is just not right.

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