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Volume 3, Number 6
June, 1998

View From the Cheap Seats A Man of Character

by Dave Lind

Rosa Parks.

Jackie Robinson.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Curt Flood.

Civil rights icons, one and all. People who saw injustice and inequality and chose not to accept, but to fight for what they knew in their hearts and minds to be right. People who were willing to sacrifice their own safety, their own security, their own careers, their own lives if need be, in the never-ending struggle to build a world wherein all men are truly created equal. Where there is indeed liberty and justice, not simply for all white men, but for all men and women of all races, all creeds, all backgrounds, all religious affiliations.

Now a new leader has arisen to take up the fight against the oppressor. The torch has been passed, the glorious struggle will go on. And who, might you ask is this new freedom fighter, this new...warrior, if you will, who shall lead us forward toward that promised land of wealth and prosperity for all?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Latrell Sprewell.

(Reverent pause.)

Yes, Latrell Sprewell, who labored unselfishly under The Oppressor's boot heel for several years, asking nothing in return save simple human dignity and $32 million a year. A great man, to be sure, but a man like any other and as such, a man with limits. And when pushed to those limits, a man who reacts swiftly, decisively, and most of all, justifiably.

It was a fateful day December last, when The Oppressor's lackey, PJ Carlesimo, finally pushed Sprewell beyond the brink by saying bad things to him and telling him what to do, wantonly disregarding Sprewell's dignity and trampling his civil rights. Under such circumstances, who wouldn't have tackled their boss to the ground, choking and punching him and threatening to kill him? Many, perhaps, would not have had the spine, as Sprewell did, to show such open defiance against The Tyranny. But few men, indeed, are like Latrell Sprewell. Few men would have had the courage to strike such a blow for the working class everywhere.

Of course, such open defiance of authority could not go unpunished, so like so many before him, Jesus, Dr. King, Joan of Arc, Latrell Sprewell became a martyr. After first being 'fired' by his immediate employer, the Golden State Warriors, Sprewell was subsequently suspended without pay by The Tyranny that is the NBA and banished from the league for one full year, probably because he is black. This injustice was only partially corrected when an independent arbitration ruled that the Warriors should reinstate Sprewell's contract and that his suspension be reduced to the balance of the 1997-98 season.

Flush on the heels of such a landmark civil rights victory, Sprewell now has decided to press his advantage to the obvious next step: He is suing The Tyranny for $30 million to help offset the $7 million-or-so he lost in salary this season. I know, $30 million might not seem like much in light of all that he has been made to suffer, but Sprewell is nothing if not fair.

Sadly, though, the forces of evil have proven too mighty, too formidable even for many of those who support Sprewell. Arn Tellum, Sprewell's agent, and the entire NBA Players Union have forsaken him, turned their backs on him in this, the hour of his greatest challenge. But fear not, Sprewell remains undaunted. He has vowed to fight for his rights, to make the NBA pay for their flagrant violation of his civil rights.

Yes, Latrell Sprewell, tireless fighter for the oppressed, will not rest until we all live in a country where we are free to strangle and bludgeon our employers at the slightest provocation without fear of reprisal. Where no man is held accountable for his actions, no matter how vile and contemptible they may be.

Latrell Sprewell. A man of character. A man of justice. A man on a mission.
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