Paul Shirley posted some rather polarizing comments about Haiti on FlipCollective Tuesday (Jan. 26). ESPN’s ban-hammer was swift — the former NBA player and author has been fired.
Among the things he wrote about Haiti were, “I haven’t donated to the Haitian relief effort for the same reason that
I don’t give money to homeless men on the street. Based on past
experiences, I don’t think the guy with the sign that reads “Need
You’re Help” is going to do anything constructive with the dollar I
might give him. If I use history as my guide, I don’t think the people
of Haiti will do much with my money either.”
“After the tsunami of 2004, the citizens of the world wailed and donated
and volunteered for cleanup, rarely asking the important – and, I
think, obvious – question: What were all those people doing there in
the first place? Just as important: If they move back to a place near
the ocean that had just been destroyed by a giant wave, shouldn’t our
instinct be to say, ‘Go ahead if you want, but you’re on your own now.’?”
]]>Dear Haitians –
First of all, kudos on developing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Your commitment to human rights, infrastructure, and birth control should be applauded.
As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it’s possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?
The Rest of the World
Well. That is certainly one opinion. On Wednesday, ESPN released a brief statement announcing Shirley’s views “do not at all reflect our company’s views on the Haiti relief efforts. He will no longer contribute to ESPN.”
Shirley is the author of “Can I Keep My Jersey” and (until recently) wrote the “My So-Called Career” blog for ESPN. Maybe someone else will pick him up and he can write the “My So-Called Career at ESPN” blog.
What do you think? Should ESPN have fired him for expressing these views?
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