Thursday, September 18, 2008

In the words of the great Abraham Lincoln ...

... Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
And it was those words that came to mind this morning - well, truthfully since the Josh Howard video made its debut - but particularly this morning when I couldn't find a radio station that wasn't talking about it, and a morning show host that wasn't unleashing invective on the soul of Josh Howard. But let's review. Josh Howard made a poorly-thought out joke at the expense of the National Anthem. It's not the first bonehead thing he's done - and as a 28-year-old man, with five years as an NBA player with a certain amount of limelight, he should by now know that cameras are devices that record and transmit moving pictures, including ones of you saying that, as a black man, you don't celebrate the National Anthem. But do I think Josh Howard honestly thinks the National Anthem is something only white people sing? No. A reasonable person who has watched any Mavs games on television or in person would know that he's had ample demonstration of the opposite. Furthermore, I can't remember him making some kind of giant disruption - or deviating from what the rest of the team was doing - as the anthem played. So let's simmah down now. Yes, it was a bad thing to say. And I'm not a Josh Howard apologist - I think he needs a stern talking to and some time riding pine for comments that put the team in a bad light. But I do think that we're getting our panties in a twist over something that was just a joke gone awry. This is the city that embraces athletes that have been kicked out of their respective leagues for far worse (rhymes with Madame Bones). I wager that if the Mavs do the improbable and win a NBA championship this year (yes, I'm stifling a mirthless chuckle here, too), and Josh Howard contributes in any way, everyone will have forgotten this. That being said, what do the Mavs need to do? They need to not completely cave to knee-jerk public opinion, but at the same time, they need to have someone work with the guy on image control. It's been said he's also suffered several personal losses recently - something that likely needs addressing as well. Howard himself needs to apologize for his words. Yes, we have freedom of speech around here - but with that freedom comes the responsibility of owning your words and accepting the consequences. So far, Josh Howard has done neither. Update: Mark Cuban does a cut and paste job on the numerous e-mails he's gotten on the subject. Stay classy, Mavs fans.