Colin Kaepernick takes a knee to protest police brutality, and some folks tell him to “stick to sports.”

Pro athletes address the elephant or the elephants in the room, such as racism and socioeconomics, and some folks tell them to “stick to sports.”

Journalists such as Jemele Hill call out the “leader of the free world” for his compliance with white supremacy, and some folks tell her to “stick to sports.”

When people say “stick to sports,” in my estimation, the message is clear:

“Your entertainment value is all that matters. You can sing, you can dance, you can play sports. That’s all. When you open your mouth to speak about things that make me uncomfortable, I don’t want to hear what you have to say.”

That is, of course, patently selfish.

Still, I wonder how people would respond if an elected official of prominence talked about sports during a political stump speech?


The above commentary just happens to be from President Donald Trump. Why he would feel the need to pander — I mean, campaign, to his base when a possible bid for re-election wouldn’t be on the table for another few years isn’t even the most important concern here.

Where are all of the folks telling Kap, Jemele and pro athletes to “stick to sports”? Shouldn’t they be telling Donnie J to “stick to politics”?

Needless to say, I don’t subscribe to a narrative that says “stick to politics” or “stick to sports.” People are complex. Politics are complex. Hell, life is complex.

I also don’t subscribe to deliberate hypocrisy.

If you run on a platform of “Make America Great Again,” yet you discourage the First Amendment freedoms of athletes (or anyone else for that matter), especially as they speak to deep-seated social issues, you are not only unpatriotic and un-American.

You are on the wrong side of history.

I salute individuals such as Kaepernick, Hill, LeBron James and Stephen Curry for sticking to their convictions. Their sticktoitiveness extends beyond their competitive fire. Alongside Kobe Bryant, these NBA greats not only represent some of this generation’s greatest basketball players, they represent the idea that we should not allow ourselves to be placed in a box because of our profession or what we profess.

Continue to stick up for what you believe in. And keep sticking it to the man.

The Ugliness of Augusta — and America

This column appears in the September 21, 2017 edition of Urban Pro Weekly.

Before I continue talking about the controversy surrounding a proposal to move the James Brown Arena (JBA) to South Augusta, I want to get something off of my chest.

If you saw a story this past week that came out of North Augusta, S.C., about a local man who requested that a post-Confederate monument be taken down at Calhoun Park, that man was me.

I spoke up, with civility and authority, against a moral wrong. I spoke up, with civility and authority, against historical embellishments.

Comment sections, of course, are on fire. That is not relevant to me. What is relevant is the here and now.

It is time for each of us to become more politically aware and active. It is time for us to speak to moral wrongs and community concerns, on every level.

One of the most discouraging things I heard in the aftermath of my commentary in North Augusta was, “We were waiting for someone to speak on this issue.”

I translated that as, “We were afraid to speak on this issue because of the controversy it would draw. We were afraid to speak on a moral wrong because we felt it would inconvenience us in some way.”

It is vital that all of us, and in particular, our elected officials, speak the truth — however inconvenient.

THE UGLY (side of the JBA proposal)

When discussion about the JBA proposal reached its peak in the media/public eye, there was a side story that, for a moment, was pushed to the forefront. It was a story about a fight that happened at the Walmart at Deans Bridge Road.

The fight, of course, was used as an indictment of South Augusta.

And then, a false equivalence happened: if there’s a fight in South Augusta at a Walmart, then a fight can happen at the James Brown Arena if it’s in South Augusta!

That’s more than foolish — it’s flat-out stupid. A fight could happen at the JBA if it’s in downtown. A fight could happen anywhere because that’s the nature of mankind.

Thing is, these types of indictments happen because of inherent racism. There is a stigma attached to South Augusta — that stigma features crime and poverty.

That stigma, for many folks, has a Black face. That stigma is ugly and the folks who subscribe to it have an ugly mindset.

That is just the start of the hypocrisy. Apparently, there was a study done prior to the Mayor’s decision to move the JBA to South Augusta. The study costs $140,000, and it essentially discouraged the move to the Regency Mall property.

Wait, the city cares about studies? I didn’t know that, because there’s a disparity study that’s been sitting on the shelf since 2009 that speaks to discrimination against businesses owned by people of color, as well as businesses owned by women. That study can be found at this address:

One of the findings in the study is that “minorities and women are substantially and significantly less likely to own their own businesses as the result of marketplace discrimination than would be expected based upon their observable characteristics, including age, education, geographic location, and industry. We find that these groups also suffer substantial and significant earnings disadvantages relative to comparable non-minority males, whether they work as employees or entrepreneurs.”

Also, there are concerns about government working behind closed doors. Wait, we care about that now, as well?

Back when there were six white commissioners on the dais, there was a campaign that essentially destroyed city services through privatization. A lot of these meetings allegedly happened “before the meeting,” which is to say when it was time for these gentlemen to vote, their minds (and their plans) had long been made up.

In short, Augusta’s hypocrisy is ugly. In many ways, it is America’s hypocrisy.

It is a hypocrisy that treats Black people as second-class citizens, as if we have no morals or merits.

It is this attitude that erroneously justifies the mistreatment of Black people and expands on already impossible disparities.

We must fight this attitude vigorously and with veracity. We must also understand that the truth doesn’t matter to some people. Those people need to be turned back at every opportunity, and Lord knows, we can’t allow those people to make decisions that will affect the day-to-day decisions of a city, a state, or our country.

James Brown Arena — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

This column appears in the September 7, 2017 edition of Urban Pro Weekly.

Aside from talk of hurricanes, both near and far, the most popular story in Augusta these days is about a proposal to build the new James Brown Arena at the old Regency Mall property.

Personally, I think city leaders should move forward with that idea. It provides true economic opportunity to a section of town that has virtually been forgotten.

If only it were that simple.

The proposal has been complicated, not only because of the inner workings of local politics, but also because of details within the proposal that provide more questions than answers.

Taking all of this into consideration, it is time to present the good, the bad and the ugly of the proposal to build the new James Brown Arena at South Augusta.


Again, building the James Brown Arena (JBA) at the old Regency Mall property provides South Augusta with a true economic opportunity that has not been seen in the area in decades.

Literally every section of Augusta has experienced some type of revitalization — except South Augusta. The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center will be in downtown Augusta, which will only boost an area that is seemingly always under the public eye. West Augusta is flourishing because so much of the area is adjacent to Columbia County. Even East Augusta has the promise of improving infrastructure and gentrification — excuse me, I meant the rise of pricey homes in the midst of formerly blighted neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, South Augusta can’t keep a Kroger, and before you say downtown can’t either, at least it has the Medical District. South Augusta is just a desert.

The new JBA can be the start of something big. It can have an effect from its roots at the intersection of Deans Bridge Road and Gordon Highway, and travel up through Peach Orchard Road, Windsor Spring Road and Tobacco Road.

Imagine a supplementary entertainment facility at Diamond Lakes — something like an amphitheater for outdoor concerts, or a commitment to a huge child-friendly play place that could draw folks from out of town and out of state.

I believe it would all be possible, if it wasn’t for…


The burden of responsibility for the controversy surrounding this proposal rests on the shoulders of one man — Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis.

Mayor Davis has been on the frontline regarding this proposal the entire way, from an email applauding the Coliseum’s (fourth-quarter) decision to build the arena on the Regency Mall property, to holding a press conference at the Municipal Building to talk about the “visionary” plan.

Visionary? Perhaps. Airtight? Unfortunately, no. And that’s heartbreaking.

The city doesn’t even own the land that it wants to build the arena on, which reads like a recipe for failure. It’s reminiscent of the controversy that surrounded the TEE Center and adjacent parking deck deal.

Now, here’s another important question relating to local leadership — where were the commissioners in all of this?

It appears as if they were more than comfortable allowing Mayor Davis to take the heat, which makes sense upon a review of their working history. Commissioners have complained in the past that the mayor worked in a spirit of autonomy and secrecy — “solo dolo,” if you will.

Still, this political climate and ill will does nothing to help the people of Augusta, particularly those in South Augusta. This collective failure of leadership is a bad sign for the city overall.

You’ve read the good and the bad. Now, click here to read the ugly:

Howard U. Makes Capital Gains In Vegas

What’s better than making $600,000 in a “cupcake game”?

Giving your opponent indigestion.

That’s exactly what Howard University’s football team did against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) late Saturday night in a 43-40 upset of the Rebels, a final score that is least surprising because Howard’s Bison were 45-point underdogs.

You read that right.

What does that mean? Well, if you put $100 on Howard, you made $55,000. Congrats! And let your boy hold a few hundred dollars.

I heard about Howard’s 21-19 halftime lead and hoped they would make it a game in the fourth quarter. When I saw they were up 43-40 in the fourth quarter with six minutes to go, I went full #HBCULove mode.

A quick review:

Down 43-40, UNLV punted the ball to Howard. The punt was 11 yards, which set Howard up very nicely in UNLV territory. Howard drove the ball to the red zone, then came up with nothing on a heartbreaking fourth-and-1 at the UNLV 2 where Howard running back Anthony Philyaw was tripped before he could gain momentum.

So, this is where UNLV makes their move, right? Nah fam.

Howard’s Tye Freeland makes the defensive play of a lifetime as he chased down Drew Tejchman, whose catch and run would have yielded a 33-yard completion…

Except Freeland punched the ball out.

My orange-and-green Florida A&M loving heart clapped triumphantly as the ref signaled “Howard ball.” Told y’all, HBCU love.

I had to sweat out a few plays, sure. But when the dust settled, the final score was 43-40, Howard, and the Bison pulled off the biggest point-spread upset ever.

Shouts out to all of the Howard players (with a special nod to Caylin Newton, yep, SuperCam’s little bro) and coaches who turned a cupcake game into a cake smash. It’s good to see Black college football turn the tables on their opponents as heavy underdogs every once in a while — and turn back the clock to when the game’s greatest players could be found on Black campuses.

Winners-Losers From The Mayweather-McGregor Fight

We’ll start with the winners first, because well, they’re winners:

Floyd Mayweather:

Obviously. The Money Team seemingly always wins. He’s been using the same playbook for years as a businessman and as a boxer. First, the pre-fight trash talk. Then, impeccable business savvy. May weather puts his polarizing persona on display — for better or for worse — and then he steps into the ring and shows why he may be the best defensive boxer of all time.

Love him or hate him, he’s 50 and #OH. I hope the plans for a sequel to Coming To America actually happen so that the barbers can come together and argue Money vs. Marciano (obviously PBF).

Oh, and shoutout to that $100 million guaranteed purse.

Conor McGregor:

Look, I know he ran out of gas. I know he got touched up by Floyd. Still, he went 10 rounds and, all things considered, gave the fans more of a show than Manny Pacquiao did. His guaranteed purse is $30 million, which is 10 times more than his previous career high. Conor was already a household name, but now he has crossover appeal. If he plays his “Great White Hope/Hype” role to perfection, you’ll see him all over the place — for better or for worse.

Everyone Who Saw The Fight For Free:

I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s 2017. Paying $100 for a fight isn’t the move in a world with Firestick, Kodi and social media. Sure, it was a hassle to see the fight for free, but you know what? It was also a hassle for folks who paid $100 for a PPV stream. Your patience and persistence was awarded.

Mayweather Bettors/Fight Party Hosters:

Smart money all around. It made perfect sense to bet it up with the guy who NEVER LOST A FIGHT against the guy who barely stepped foot in a boxing ring. If you were really smart, you could have hedged your bets early on with McGregor with your bookie in the event that Conor pulled off the improbable upset. In the meantime, Money May bettors fleeced the Alt-Right — my bad, I mean folks who inexplicably though Conor had a chance.

If you paid $100 to see the fight, but you made your money back plus some change on the side by hosting a fight party — you have experienced a very small taste of the American Dream. Much respect to you.

Floyd, Conor and everyone who saw the fight for free made off like bandits. Goon masks sold separately. Oh, forgot one group:


Because the house always wins.

And now, for the losers:

Manny Pacquiao:

The last time I saw PacMan, he was losing to some guy named Jeff Horn on ESPN. Not Pay-Per-View, mind you. ESPN. (Apparently, the fight was broadcast in Australia and the Philippines as a pay-per-view, which makes everyone who paid for that fight losers by default).

At any rate, all of this hype for Mayweather-McGregor is what should have happened in 2010 or 2011 with a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Instead, we all settled for the “Fight of the Century” in 2015, where PacMan was past his prime.

In 2010 or 2011, Pacquiao stands a good chance of winning that fight. Now, his 2015 fight has been eclipsed in 2017 by a guy who, again, barely stepped foot in a boxing ring.

T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas:

Seriously though, how in the world are you unable to sell out a fight as big as Mayweather and McGregor? I know ticket prices were high. Still, we’re talking about one of the biggest spectacles in boxing history.

I did my research, though. I found out the general manager of T-Mobile Arena is Dan Quinn.

Yep, he has the same name as the coach of the Atlanta Falcons — yep, the same Falcons that blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl.

It all makes sense now.

Everyone Who Paid $100 To See The Fight:

Word to Nick Nack Pattiwhack: “Oh no baby, what is you doing?”

I mean, you could’ve paid the $20 cover at your local wing spot. Some cover charges went up to $50, and even that wasn’t as bad as the folks who paid a C-note.

Truth is, the biggest fight of the night wasn’t Floyd vs. Conor — the biggest fight of the night was all of the folks who paid $100 and still had to fight with Showtime just to see the stream!

The rest of the world was about to fall asleep waiting on Showtime to clean up those PPV streams just to watch the fight! I would have said Showtime is a loser, but they at least had the juice to delay the fight until they got those streams fixed.

Conor McGregor Bettors:

I know what McGregor bettors were thinking. “We got Trump in office, there have been a bunch of upsets in sports in the last few years, and Conor is the baddest MF in MMA!”

Well, this isn’t the octagon. This is boxing. No takedowns, no holds, no kicks.

You all got suckered. The sparring video(s) should’ve been a DEAD GIVEAWAY!

McGregor was out there flailing his arms like one of those inflatables at used car/lemon lots. He was out there flailing his arms like he lost two arm wrestling contests in horrible fashion. He was out there flailing his arms like he was The Last Airbender. Just terrible.

And this is who y’all chose to bet with?

If Floyd’s nickname is “Money,” your nickname is “Easy Money.”

Confederate Relics Turn Augusta’s Commissioners Into Cowards

This column appears in the August 24, 2017 edition of Urban Pro Weekly.

There’s an old saying about the dangers of not knowing one’s roots: “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.”

Maybe that’s why, in 2017, America still feels like the Confederate South of the mid-1800s.

Of course, any history book or simple Google search can tell me that the confederates lost the Civil War in 1865. Thing is, it’s hard to tell with all of the confederate monuments and memories in plain sight.

There’s one monument in the heart of downtown, on the 700 block of Broad Street.

Among its lowlights: “No name rose so white and fair. None fell so pure of crime.”

I guess slavery wasn’t a crime, then.

A short 5- to 10-minute trip down the street and across the Savannah River to Calhoun Park in North Augusta, S.C. will take us to another confederate monument. The obelisk in question honors Thomas McKie Meriwether:

“In life he exemplified the highest-ideal of Anglo-Saxon civilization. By his death he assured to the children of his beloved land the supremacy of that ideal.”

It should go without saying that there’s no place in our society today for these racist ideals. Yet here they are, disrespectfully in front of our faces.

When I think about the confederate south, I think about oppression. I think about slavery. I think about the following period of Reconstruction, where Black people still were not able to gain a foothold in society. As a matter of fact, the “hero” Meriwether was honored for his role in what is known as the Hamburg Massacre. The violent tragedy began after a group of white men sought to intimidate Blacks who wanted to vote.

Yep, that’s right. There’s a monument in North Augusta standing as we speak that highlights the confederacy, as well as voter suppression.

Sad to say, confederate ideologies have been in the news ever since a handful of knuckleheads went down to their local hardware or department store and marched with a few tiki torches at the University of Virginia.

One of the few bright sides to that hateful display has been a nationwide response to tear down confederate statues. All over the country, in the light of day and in the dead of night, these participation trophies to honor the losers of the Civil War have been rightfully struck down.

Too bad this hasn’t happened locally.

Now, it’s one thing to be silent on the issue. It’s another issue entirely for a couple of Black commissioners on a majority Black governing board in a majority Black city to make these types of comments.

“You ought to let sleeping dogs sleep,” is what Super District 9 Commissioner Marion Williams said to a local newspaper — a local newspaper that, ironically enough, happens to be across the street from the confederate monument at the 700 block of Broad Street. “When you get that type of conversation started, it doesn’t help. We talk at it, we don’t talk about it” and ultimately, “it’s going to result in some violence.”

Wait, so Commissioner Williams can talk tough when it comes to sagging pants, but he’s as quiet as a church mouse when it comes to confederate monuments? Pathetic.

Super District 2 Commissioner Dennis Williams chimed in as well:

“Personally I don’t have a problem with the monument,” he said. “I understood what the monuments were for – those are symbols of past history and hopefully a constant reminder to our community never to allow our community to get in that type of situation again.”

This brand of politics cripples and discourages the community. If we can’t get Black leaders to speak out against a moral wrong, how in the word can we get them to speak boldly on more complex issues such as income inequality?

It is important for us, at this very moment, to understand what fuels supremacy. In this case, it isn’t just about a culture of misinformation and misplaced glory. It is about leaders with an inferiority complex who feel as if their hands are tied by the confederate ghosts of the past — and the supremacist stakeholders of the present.

Really, the commissioners had nothing to lose. Their voting leads and voting bases are strong. Even with the understanding that most of this putrid monuments are protected under state law, Kennesaw’s local government still made a resolution that challenged the state legislature to allow local municipalities to vote on the monuments.

With all of the racial, social and political unrest in our country, now is the time for leaders, not losers. We need men of courage, not cowards.

When it comes to the ghosts of the confederacy, an old movie quote comes to mind: “I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost!”

We need the ghostbusters right now. And while we’re at it, we need some myth busters as well.

A Conversation About Reparations

This column appears in the August 10, 2017 edition of Urban Pro Weekly.

A few weeks ago, my dad told me about a conversation he heard on the radio. The topic — reparations for Black people.

The conversation, he said, ended with a white man’s comments about how Black people have already received reparations through “handouts.”

If I would’ve talked to that silly man myself, I would have explained to him that nationally, most of the people who receive SNAP benefits and food stamps are white. According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 40 percent of food stamp recipients are white, while just over 25 percent of food stamp recipients are Black.

I would have also outlined why Black people deserve reparations right now.

• The country’s economic foundation was built on slavery. Black people built this country with free labor.

• After slavery, America denied Black people economic freedom and flat-out stole from Black folks at every opportunity through measures such as land grabs and exorbitant housing rates.

Those bullet points are two of the main reasons why economic disparities are so great.

Over time, these disparities have gotten larger.

THAT’s why reparations are needed. Reparations aren’t “entitlements” or “handouts.” They are payment for services rendered and freedoms denied.

Glad we got the easy part out of the way. Now, all we have to do is find a feasible way to pay every Black man, woman and child in this country. Not “people of color.” I mean, BLACK FOLK.

How many Black people are in America, you ask? The 2010 Census says 42 million. So, what’s a respectable amount to pay everyone?

For the sake of argument, let’s say $100,000 per person. For a family of five, that’s half a million dollars.

This lump sum accomplishes a number of things. For the working adult, it could mean severe debt reduction or a chance to invest. For the aging adult, it could represent a shot at a much less stressful retirement.

Personally, I don’t think that lump sum is enough. Remember, there’s the matter of interest for lack of payment over 400 years. How could American possibly make up that deficit? It can’t.

What America CAN do is start with a formal apology to Black people. It can follow up its formal apology with no taxes for five years and a free college education. I’ll take that deal every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

So, I can already hear the haters.

“How do you pay for something like that?”

The number is $4.2 trillion. That’s how much it would cost to pay $100,000 to every Black person in America.

Believe it or not, that’s not a lot of money for our government. How do I know? Because there was a Reuters report that came out last August about how the U.S. Army “fudged its accounts by trillions of dollars,” according to an audit:

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.”

If the government has money to blow, then it has money to pay off its debts, especially to Black people.

Some of you still have heartburn about this, I understand.

Truth is, you’re scared. You’re scared of how white folks will respond to this. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, white folks already think Black folks receive “entitlements.”

Despite wealth and welfare numbers, white folks still think “the Blacks” get everything for free — college, food stamps and all!

Here’s my take on it — I don’t care what white OR Black detractors think about reparations.

Some people will say it’s a bad idea because “all we’ll do is blow the money.”

Speak for yourself! I know what I can do with $100K and five years without taxes.

I just wish we had the courage to send the invoice.