Santonio Holmes Hassled By The Man

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The Man

I love Pittsburgh.

My grandparents were born here. My parents were born here. I was born here. Most of my family still lives here and none of us have any desire to ever leave. I love the city. The sights and sounds. The local culture. And the people. I’ve visited many other places in this country and can honestly say no other city deserves the title of Most Livable or Friendliest more than the ‘Burgh.

However, there is one part of Pittsburgh I’m not proud of. One aspect of the city we all know about but seldom like to speak of. Something which is brought up by outsiders from time to time although never spoken about here.

Pittsburgh is a racist city.

Please understand that I’m not calling you a racist. Or your parents. Or even your grandparents. And I’m not saying things haven’t gotten better over the years. But this is still a city that has a very spotty history when it comes to racial prejudices, especially when it comes to athletes.

Once upon a time Steelers head coach Chuck Noll received death threats for starting a black quarterback named Joe Gilliam. Gilliam, by the way, was undefeated at the time leading the team in place of the benched (for ineffectiveness) Terry Bradshaw. While I don’t think that would happen today, the disgraceful treatment of Kordell Stewart toward the end of his time in the Black and Gold shows there is still an undercurrent of racism around these parts. Sure, Steeler fans are always hard on their QBs. But there’s a big difference between considering Bubby Brister a functioning retard or dumping trash on Tommy Maddox’s lawn and labeling a guy a homosexual because he had a bad season after leading your team to not one but two AFC championship games.

With this in mind, I want to bring up the recent case of WR Santonio Holmes. Holmes issued a contrite apology this week after being caught with two joints in his car which lead to him being suspended for the Giants game. I read coverage of the incident and waited for somebody to point out what was obvious to me. Sadly, I’m still waiting.

The part of the story everybody seemed to either miss or more likely gloss over was WHY Holmes was stopped. Here’s what the police had to say:

“At the 3 p.m. roll call, the officers were told to look for an SUV with an out-of-state license plate traveling through the Hill with a “large amount of narcotics,” the police affidavit said.”

What they conveniently left out was one key word: Black. I will guarantee you any amount of money the roll call description included some variation of the word African-American in it. Guarantee. Of course they’re not going to admit that but do you really think they were stopping every single SUV that rolled through the Hill District that day?

Gotta love those crack redneck cops we have here in Pittsburgh. Accident on the Parkway and it takes 20 minutes for them to show up. But a negro in a fancy car with tinted windows drives around downtown and they’re ON THE CASE!

The police admit Holmes was driving perfectly fine. Not swerving. Not steering erratically. They pulled him over for no reason other than he fit a very dubious description. Pirate outfielder Nyjer Morgan was driving to PNC Park a few months ago and was similarly pulled over for having “tinted windows.” I guess “tinted windows” must be their new code word for “black man in nice car.” Of course, nobody said anything at the time because nobody likes to talk about this and because, well, nobody cares about the Pirates.

Here it’s happened again and this time it cost us a very important member of our team. Yes, Holmes needs to be smarter. Yes, he needs to take responsibility for his actions. But if the fact some Bacon Bits can just pull you over for no other reason than your ethnic background doesn’t bother you a little, you need to wake up and smell the Starbucks.

I don’t want to open up a debate about drugs. Usage of marijuana isn’t the issue here. The fact is the city of Pittsburgh doesn’t really care. The penalty for being caught with the amount Santonio had in his glove box was a ticket. That’s it. A ticket, just like one you’d get for speeding. Would the Rooneys suspend Holmes for not driving 55? I’m sure Herr Goodell and his Nazi-like regime would like to but even they know that would be taking things too far.

So what we have here is a guy stopped for no legitimate reason given a ticket for an extremely minor infraction who is going to probably miss at least two games over it. And the worst part is people are heaping criticicism on HIM. Gene Collier in the Post-Gazette wrote a column about how Santonio’s absence caused the offense to stall. Yeah, because Holmes not being there is why Big Ben refused to throw the football in a timely fashion or our line couldn’t block worth a damn. Ron Cook used his soapbox to also criticize Holmes, going as far as to claim he might have cost them the game. Good lord. The harshest words were by WXDX radio host Mark Madden who wrote he had no respect for Holmes. So the same guy who worked for and is close friends with a number of professional wrestlers, guys who abuse drugs and alcohol, not to mention beat and kill their wives and children, is disgusted by a pot bust? Really?

All the anger in this situation has seemingly been focused on Holmes and I’m tired of hearing it. Take your hands off your ears, open up your eyes, and point your blame finger where it truly belongs.

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