Words By G. Hylton
The shooting deaths of unarmed Black men and women by police officers have given way to a new discussion of race relations in America. Those choosing to speak publicly focus their attention on what black citizens need to do in order to prevent further instances of police brutality. Conversations in this space often forgo White supremacy while failing to address the systemic issues and instead place the burden of finding a solution squarely onto the Black community.
Karl Malone, yesterday’s guest on HuffPost Live, decided to give us his viewpoints on the #BlackLivesMatters movement and to lend his support the assertions made by Charles Barkley.
“We need to look in the mirror ourselves and stop waiting on someone to come march on our behalf. Take ownership ourselves, make our community better and stop looking for a handout. Do something about it yourself that you can control. Stop using the excuse about race. I am sick and tired that every time you turn around, that’s what we dangle … Our problem now is we do so much talking and beating things to death. Let’s take ownership in ourselves … stop waiting for someone to come in and march for us.”
Karl Malone further discussed the need for Blacks to “build up the community” and “take ownership of ourselves.” Yet, his stance seemed laughable as his history flew opposite of his words.
In 2008, Jemele Hill wrote a feature story on Malone which detailed his failure to be father to his children, one of which included the (at the time) recently former Buffalo Bills player Demetrius Bell. Bell, whose mother was 13 – Malone was a sophomore at Louisiana Tech – at the time of his conception, had this to say about his father:
“I treat it as if my mother went to the sperm bank. I don’t hate him for [not being in my life]. It made me a better person…”
Not exactly the high praise.
The ESPN report includes Malone failing to pay child support for Bell because it was “too much” ($125 per week plus medical expenses), Malone refusing to form a relationship with Bell – he reportedly told Bell “it was too late for him to be his father, and he’d have to make it on his own” – and mentions a pair of twins Malone ignored until they were 17. One of the two, Cheryl Ford, made it to the WNBA. Hill insinuated the numerous media reports on one of those twins following in his footsteps as the reason for the rekindled relationship.
Karl Malone lecturing the black community on accountability with a proven history of being an absentee father seems questionable. One does not need to be perfect to offer up criticism of the black community (or anything else for that matter). One simply needs to be consistent regarding the actions and the words spoken. Malone’s words at HuffPost Live juxtaposed with his actions in his personal life don’t lend themselves to being consistent.
If he wants to give anymore lessons on what the black community needs to do to improve their lives and their community, he should probably start with the man in the mirror.
The interview is below and the portion in question begins near the end at the 27:00 mark. Earlier in the convo, Malone offered to “knuckle up” against Kobe Bryant, which is a different conversation of its own.