Brace yourself I feel a rant coming on!
Marion Jones was one of nearly 700 who requested a pardon or commutation of their sentence from Shrub. She was denied. One of the more notable pardons was granted to John Forte (Fugees) who was charged with intent to distribute narcotics because he went to the airport to retrieve a suitcase that contained $1.4M worth of cocaine. We all make mistakes, but come on.
Marion was sent to prison for lying to Federal prosecutors about her use of performance-enhancing drugs. She was retroactively stripped of all her Olympic medals as well as her relay teammates, removed from the entire history of the IOC and had to return her prize money. Martha Stewart was sent to prison on a similar charge over a $50K stock trade. There’s also the fact that taking questionable drugs cause long term damage to the body of an athlete. Now we can argue the merits of guilt and need for punishment for breaking the law but I feel uncomfortable with these results. Especially in comparison to the way crimes are viewed when committed by certain men. I know race, class, privilege and as usual – connections can make all the difference in how ‘justice’ is meted. Paging Scooter Libby….
Genarlow Wilson has been touted as a victim of harsh sentencing. Somehow if you and a group of your friends decide to have sex one after the other with a passed out girl (drunk/physically impaired = no consent = rape) in a hotel room and then move on to getting fellatio from a 15 year old and taping it for kicks, you the oppressed Black male is being railroaded by the ‘system.’
Moving on, one other thing that really irritates me is how the mental prowess and strategizing techniques of the elite athlete is completely ignored for physicality when the athlete is Black. Like with Serena and Venus Williams. If I hear one more correspondent talk about “their power” or how they “overpowered” their competition I will scream! Sheer strength is not enough to become the number-one ranked tennis player and remain for multiple years.
Which is why I think the use of performance-enhancing drugs is far more prevalent than what the powers that be would have the general public believe. Is it with tacit approval but a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy, where if you get caught you’re on your own? After all, the US of A wants world dominance in every area including athletics. Who gets to decide what’s legal and what’s not? Alcohol used to be banned – and it never will be again no matter how many impaired people get behind the wheel of a vehicle and injure or kill others. So why was Marion Jones so publicly humiliated and jailed when she got caught? Was it the severity of the crime or was there more to it? She could’ve been potentially charged with other crimes – which she may have been acquitted of by a jury of her peers. Was it race or gender or both that motivated the prosecution?