Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community  

Go Back   Tilted Forum Project Discussion Community > Interests > Tilted Sports


 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 04-01-2005, 06:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
Sleepy Head
 
dylanmarsh's Avatar
 
Jason Whitlock: I 'heart' Johnnie Cochran

From ESPN.com Page2: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...k/050331&num=0
Quote:
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Cochran helped ease the pain

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

American media love and revere two kinds of outspoken black men: 1) dead ones; and 2) ones ravaged by Parkinson's disease.

So this week, Johnnie Cochran joined Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X and Muhammad Ali as American heroes, men whose controversial lives can now be celebrated and talked about positively.

Maybe now, more than a decade after The Verdict, America will recognize the O.J. Simpson case for what it was for Johnnie Cochran and millions of black folks: a vehicle to expose an even bigger crime than the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

Now that he's dead, Johnnie Cochran can be talked about in the same breath as Thurgood Marshall, the famous civil-rights-attorney-turned-Supreme Court justice. Now that he's dead, perhaps America will quit reducing Johnnie to the comic, buffoonish figure of Jackie Chiles, the infamous "Seinfeld" character.

Johnnie deserves that. He was always so much more than a spotlight-stealing, rapping-and-rhyming defender of a double-murder suspect. Johnnie was a spotlight-stealing, rapping-and-rhyming freedom fighter who used The Trial of the Century to expose a century's worth of racist corruption within our criminal courts system.

It's unfortunate that circumstances made O.J. Simpson the benefactor of Johnnie's passion and brilliance. For reasons beyond his (possible) guilt, O.J. didn't deserve it. O.J. divorced himself from the black community shortly after he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968, the same year Los Angeles police and the FBI began framing Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt for the murder of Caroline Olsen.

At the same time the media was focusing on Cochran's defense of Simpson, Cochran was in the process of freeing Pratt from 27 years of incarceration for a crime he did not commit. Cochran repeatedly told the Simpson media that they were missing the real Trial of the Century. No one cared.

Pratt didn't sell newspapers. Pratt didn't drive TV ratings or emotions.

I'd love to say the black community grasped these dynamics during the Simpson trial. But we didn't. For all we knew, Pratt had been killed years ago in some unreported prison riot. What we knew was that day after day, the Dream Team was questioning the very group of people who follow us in shopping malls, pull our cars over for no reason and often assume we're guilty before any facts are presented.

I can't lie. It felt good to see the police and the district attorneys embarrassed. If you've ever been detained on the side of the road for more than an hour and surrounded by a half-dozen cops while you desperately explain that you're a sports writer for the Charlotte Observer not a robbery suspect, then you can relate to how I felt during the Simpson trial. You don't easily forget getting pulled over for driving 30 mph in a 35-mph zone and getting cussed at and threatened because you're big and black. It leaves a scar.

Johnnie helped ease the pain. He beat the police with the very race card they placed in the deck themselves. No one can deny that. Yes, Robert Shapiro, in a shameless attempt to regain acceptance in the majority community after the Simpson verdict, tried to criticize Cochran for playing the race card from the "bottom of the deck." Shapiro, the original lead attorney, wanted distance from Cochran and O.J. Now that Johnnie is dead, don't be surprised if Shapiro tries to snuggle up closer to Cochran's legacy. Look how many sports writers and broadcasters love Muhammad Ali, now that he's harmless.

It has taken a decade, but the mainstream press has already started to warm to Cochran. You hear less talk about how stupid the inaccurately described "all-black" Simpson jury was. The experts who never watched the trial have now read enough books about it that they have an understanding of just how one-sided the lawyering was.

Dream Team vs. Clark and Darden? It was a complete blowout. It was Holmes vs. Ali.

The American media embraced Marcia Clark and Chris Darden, the unwitting accomplices in O.J.'s run for freedom, and overlooked or made excuses for their incompetence. Clark and Darden were portrayed as victims. Geraldo and Co. couldn't wait for Clark and Darden to join the O.J. experts' buffet line that gave every Simpson/Cochran critic with a law degree a 30-minute TV show.

Meanwhile, Johnnie was Jackie Chiles, a jive-talking villain.

Black people loved Johnnie when it wasn't popular. And for a brief moment, we liked O.J. We had fantasies about his innocence. We thought when it was all over, he might throw on a FUBU shirt, come down to the barbershop and talk a little SC football. We wanted O.J. to be Geronimo.

But we quickly accepted that Johnnie Cochran was our hero. O.J. was just a tool, a prop.

When Johnnie was out promoting his book, "A Lawyer's Life," and came through Kansas City, I spent most of the afternoon with him. We met at Gates BBQ in the 'hood. O.J. Simpson's name never came up. We talked about Geronimo Pratt and good barbecue and what it was like to have so many demands on your time and how na´ve people are about police work.

Johnnie didn't dislike the police. He just recognized that the police, like all people with power, need to be challenged, watched and ... well, policed.

It's an obvious point. And the American media should've been the first to recognize it.
I wasn't sure if this was the best forum to post this article but being it came from espn.com and discusses OJ quite a bit, why not?

FWIW, it seems Whitlock's goal in life is to stir the pot with jumbled rhetoric and open up old wounds. Really kind of sad.

*Mods: feel free to place it elsewhere if it is not germane to the sports board.*
dylanmarsh is offline  
 

Tags
cochran, heart, jason, johnnie, whitlock

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:03 PM.

Tilted Forum Project

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
© 2002-2012 Tilted Forum Project

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360