By Ralph E. Moore, Jr.

Coaches

The Peacocks of St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J. were the Cinderella team of this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament. Now eliminated by the University of North Carolina Tar Heels (69-49) they made it to the Elite Eight, so the Peacocks have much to be proud of.  

St. Peter’s is a small Jesuit school founded in 1872. There are only 2,600 undergraduates and 800 graduate students at the private university. The 30-acre New Jersey campus is just two miles west of  New York City.

Shaheen Holloway has served as head coach of the Peacocks since April 2018.  It’s rumored that he is looking to coach Seton Hall University’s basketball team in South Orange, N.J. Halloway was a standout basketball player for the university 23 years ago and graduated from Seton Hall in 2000. He would get an enormous salary increase with a move. His relocation would be precipitated by the fact that Seton Hall’s coach, after 12 seasons, is moving to be head coach of the University of Maryland’s Terrapins.  He is Kevin Willard and he will become a sports household name in these parts.

Go, Peacocks! Next year.  

Ouches

The 94th Academy Awards presentation broadcast on ABC TV on March 27 will simply never be the same. It was the night when Will smacked Chris “upside the head” on live television. It was a very unusual moment to watch.

Comedian Chris Rock, long known for being funny and biting with his humor, made fun of various stars in the audience as is typical of hosts and presenters during the show.  Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were seated front and center of the stage in the audience.  Chris made a crack about Jada. Audience members watching the ABC TV broadcast heard Chris Rock say that he was looking forward to seeing Jada Pinkett Smith in G.I. Jane 2, playing the titular role that was made famous by Demi Moore and her shaved head in the mid-nineties. 

“Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you,” he said. 

Though Will Smith initially chuckled, Jada Pinkett rolled her eyes. Mere seconds later Will Smith was seen taking the stage and walking towards Rock. The comedian apparently knew he had messed up by Smith’s bold steps onto the stage- completely spontaneously and unrehearsed. Will Smith smacked Chris Rock in the face like it was nobody’s business and returned to his seat. 

It was a hit heard loudly in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. but also around the world.  

Smith has been criticized for his use of raw violence that night. And though Chris Rock has made Will and Jada Pinkett Smith the butt of his jokes on another Oscar night, he should have known better. 

Traditionally, the African American community has held onto “playing the dozens,” a game of spoken words common in the African-American community where insults are swapped until one of the parties engaged gives up. But it is clearly and firmly understood that you never ridicule anything about someone or a relative that is true. If someone’s mom is on crutches, you never joke making a reference to that fact, for example. Real circumstances are off limits.

Again, Chris Rock should have known better.

Pinkett Smith’s condition is an auto-immune illness that causes the loss of hair. There’s nothing funny about disease. No exceptions.

Will Smith was defending his wife’s honor. Could he have walked up on stage and in a menacing manner perhaps simply demanded that Chris Rock take the joke back and apologize? Rock may or may not have complied.

Violence is not acceptable in most situations, except in self-defense. Will Smith perceived perhaps that Chris Rock was ridiculing his wife’s illness. 

Laughing at someone’s sickness is a form of violence. Rock stepped over a line and with a hard smack of his hand in self-defense, Will Smith sent him back to the right side of the line.

Some things just aren’t funny. Remember that, Chris.

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