Sunday, April 26, 2009

SI Writer Andy Staples Points to Racial Overtones of Prep Player Criticism


The reaction to the news of California high schooler Jeremy Tyler's plan was as predictable as it was tired. The New York Times reported Thursday that Tyler, a 6-foot-11 junior at San Diego High, plans to skip his senior year in high school to play professionally in Europe. In two years, when his high school class is one year past graduation, he'll return to the U.S. and enter the NBA draft.

The tongue-clucking was deafening. You'd think the Book of Revelation had been revised to include skipping a year of high school to play pro basketball right between the sun turning black and the moon turning red. This will kill college basketball, some said. This kid is throwing away his future, others said.

Since no European newspaper sports editor offered me a six-figure salary to skip my senior year of high school, I don't feel qualified to rip Tyler's choice. I've never walked in his high-tops. But I do have a few questions for the folks who consider Tyler's move an abomination.

If he played golf, would you feel differently?

If he played tennis, would you feel differently?

If he had gotten his own show on the Disney Channel, would you feel differently?

Set aside the obvious racial overtones for a moment and consider only the sport-specific double standards. We celebrate individual athletes when they turn pro at a young age. Maria Sharapova was the darling of the tennis world at 17. Joey Logano is tearing up tracks and getting paid at 18. We celebrate entertainers when they turn pro at a young age. Nick Jonas, 16, is an actor, a musician and a paparazzi magnet. Miley Cyrus, 16, just might control the universe.

Click to read.


Anonymous said...

I have no problems with Negros getting paid to play basketball. Lord knows its a lot better then the usual criminal behavior.

Anonymous said...

It would be different if he were planning to graduate anyway...and maybe he is, but this article did not reveal that.

Where are the racial overtones that you are talking about? I do not see any.

Anonymous said...

The author makes great points. Black men should not be dealt with different from white students in other sports, but they are. We live in a racist society.

Anonymous said...

Yet, you think that black men should be dealt with differently in other American occupations? What hypocrisy, what racism!

Anonymous said...

The author is right, there is racism in the way the world talks about black athletes. I am glad that someone is making note of this issue.

THSquare said...

At first, I was somewhat upset because the article gave the impression that he wasn't going to get his high school diploma, but then it went on to point out that he'll participate in the same homeschooling program that Jordin Sparks did in order to finish her high school studies.

Sonny Vaccaro has been promoting this idea for a few years, and he was on 60 minutes several weeks ago with an athlete that plays in Italy now that was the first to go to Europe and play professionally the year after leaving high school. He had played at Oak Hill and is predicted to go in the first round during the next NBA draft, so the choice worked out well for him. Also, other positive things came out of this arrangement for his family. His mother and brother went to Italy to live, and his brother was sent to a private school to learn. He had been going to a school that was sub-par, so it was a blessing for him.

African-American men have to deal with overt and covert racial overtones with many issues in our lives, so this isn't surprising. The European basketball adventure is new for US high athletes, so there will be successes and there will be those that this won't work out for.

Anonymous said...

I love this article. It's about damn time these brothers start realizing that they can make a whole lot more money than their NCAA pimps are allowing them to make. Going to europe and getting homeschooled helps the brother get paid and get educated, all at the same time. The NCAA will eventually learn the err of their evil ways.

Anonymous said...

There were certainly racial overtones in criticism of this young man. But I encourage him to ignore the naysayers and just out there and make his money. Stupid people will always be out there saying stupid things.

Anonymous said...

Good. This kid needs to go make his money.