I heard a lot of great stories while I was working on The Whore of Akron. The best one isn’t in the book. Its hero is Drew Gooden, who played with the Cavs for four seasons during the LeBron epoch, and it takes place on a road trip, when the Cavs’ charter lands in Toronto for a game against the Raptors.
As Jason Whitlock has noted, Toronto is known to many NBA players as ‘White Vegas,’ a place to party and get laid. Gooden, a sweet-natured fellow, though not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, was so looking forward to his visit that when the Canadian customs agent boarded the team’s plane and asked if anyone had anything to declare, Drew hollered, ‘YEAH — WE’RE HERE TO FUCK YOUR WOMEN.’
The way I heard it, the entire team then sat on the plane for a couple of hours, cooling their heels while the agent slowly searched everyone’s luggage.
Because the only NFL team I actually care about is a joke, I don’t watch much football. But the Tim Tebow phenomenon is pretty compelling, not least because of the hostility toward him among folks who seem to find his professions of faith intolerable. Evanglism is essential to some Christian sects, and Tebow’s witnessing isn’t strange or singular. Because of his fame, he has been asked about his religion often, and every time I’ve heard him discuss it, he sounds like a nice young guy. The worst I can say about him is that I think he’s sincere in his delusions.
While watching him play against the Bears earlier, my twitter timeline was full of derision and loathing for him, most of it based on his religion, some of it from people who would be fighting mad if you accused them of bigotry. Yet I’m not sure what else to call it. It’s vile, it’s relentless, and it’s based on nothing more than the man’s faith in his version of God.
I’ve been called a ‘hater’ thousands of times for my feelings toward LeBron James, and I’ve heard from plenty of folks eager to ascribe my feelings to racism. It’s a conversation worth having, and I’ve enjoyed more than a few of them on the subject. I also understand that it’s far more palatable — and far less dangerous — to mock the majority culture. Still, much of what’s said about Tebow is brutally dumb and ugly, full of a profound ignorance and vicious contempt that say nothing about Tim Tebow, and a whole lot about the jagoffs saying it.