When I thought of Josh Howard, the first thing that used to come to my mind was a rising star with extreme potential to be one of the best basketball players in the NBA. Recently, however, Howard has been rapidly losing the respect I once had for him. Up until a few months ago I would have said that Howard was one of my favorite basketball players in the NBA, but he has shattered that image by pulling the last straw and insulting something so precious to most Americans: the national anthem.
Howard found it necessary to interrupt the national anthem at a flag football charity event hosted by Allen Iverson. Not only did he walk around with a towel on his head and not put his hand over his heart, but most importantly he made this comment: “I don’t celebrate this (explative), I’m black.” For me, hearing somebody who represents the National Basketball Association of America say something like this is extremely unpatriotic and belittling to our country.
Many people seem to agree with me. I conducted an informal survey with both men and women, asking them if their views about Josh Howard had changed. Ninety-three percent of the people said yes. Hannah Mahieu, a TCU freshman, expressed her views to me.
“It is hard to respect someone when they don’t even respect themselves or the country in which they are a part of,” she said.
Saying remarks that come across as unpatriotic isn’t a very smart thing to do when in the public eye, especially at a time like this when a black man is running for president. Many people, young and old, look up to Howard and see him as a role model, so to see someone with his leadership status say something so demeaning is disappointing.
This isn’t the first time that Howard has made people mad. He has also been quoted saying he occasionally smokes marijuana, he was charged in North Carolina for racing and going 45 mph over the speed limit, and he threw a party for his birthday the night before his team, the Dallas Mavericks, lost to the New Orleans Hornets in Game four of the opening round of the NBA playoffs last season. The fans here began to fall in love with him and now, as these events keep occurring, many people are losing interest and are essentially falling out of love with him.
So what is supposed to happen now? Because Howard has admitted to several controversial things, the Dallas Mavericks have a lot of damage control to do. Not only do they have to start taking advanced communication skills sessions during their training camp, but many other NBA teams are not going to want to draft someone who comes with a lot of legal, frowned upon baggage.
Courtney Baker is a freshman strategic communications major from Fort Worth.