America’s favorite ex-NBA journeyman has become America’s least-favorite ex-ESPN contributor. Paul Shirley, who wrote a very funny book about his basketball career, was declared persona non grata by the monolith after Shirley posted a controversial blog post about the relief effort in Haiti. ESPN severed its ties with Shirley through a statement:
[Shirley] was a part-time freelance contributor. The views he expressed on another’s site of course do not at all reflect our company’s views on the Haiti relief efforts. He will no longer contribute to ESPN.
While there are good arguments to be had about how aid should be delivered to the Haitian people–both post-recovery and beyond–Shirley gave enough ammunition to his detractors to pass off many of his comments ["Dear Haitians – [C]ould some of you maybe use a condom once in a while? Sincerely, The Rest of the World.”] as garden-variety racism. Instead of fighting an oversimplified argument with an oversimplified argument, I give Shirley credit for trying to tackle an unpopular point of view, even though, like some of the Haitian people, the roof fell in on him. That’s not really a joke so much as pisspoor allegory. Hey, what do you want from me?