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Etan Thomas Takes On Jason Whitlock

I avoided the whole Jason Whitlock-Vivian Stringer faceoff for a few days, but it's hard to ignore once our own Etan Thomas weighs in on the topic.

The backstory: at Spike Lee's Morehouse forum on black athletes this week, Stringer (the Rutgers women's coach) took on Whitlock (the large columnist). You Been Blinded has a nice summary. has a partial transcript, and a much-linked column that summarizes the proceedings.

Well, Etan Thomas was on the forum, and now he's responded to Whitlock via his SLAM column. First of all, you have to be a bit wary when you read these introductory remarks:

I'm not going to call you an Uncle Tom, a sell out, say you're tap dancing for the media, putting down your people so that you can move up the ladder of success in a Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, JC Watts-type fashion, because I actually took the time to talk to you. I truly believe that is not your intention.

So this means Etan Thomas doesn't like Clarence Thomas, I guess? Anyhow, Etan says he actually found some common ground with Whitlock, although he takes him to task for grandstanding and oversimplifying and stereotyping, all of which are probably fair enough complaints. And Thomas is undoubtedly correct that Whitlock's words have been sweet manna to a certain side of the political debate. But then Thomas closes thus:

I know that you don't want to be known as the "Uncle Tom of journalism," as one of the students at the panel referred to you while thanking me for standing up for them.

But whether you like it or not, that perception of you is out there. And if you don't do something about it, this label will be your legacy.

Which is, let's be honest, a cheap shot, name-calling under the cover of "that perception of you is out there." Seems a bit unfair. In other news, Etan Thomas lists some of his favorite MCs -- Rakim, Talib Kweli, Common, the Roots, Mos Def and Nas. That would be Nas of "Money is My [Bleep]," a track which, according to several lyric sites, uses the Imus "H-word" three times in the first three lines, and also has this little turn of phrase, from the chorus:

My money, money, money, my [bleep] is my money
Ohhh money you my honey
Money is my [bleep]
Ohhh money, money, money, love her cause she keep a [bleep] rich
Ohhh money you my honey, but I think she got me [bleep] whipped

Not that those lyrics are literal, but still, it's not a particularly progressive vocabulary, is it? If I were Jason Whitlock, maybe I would mention those lyrics as a rejoinder. Although in any case, I'll always give Etan Thomas credit for at least caring enough to write on these subjects.

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 11, 2007; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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