Donald of Reading sent me the following question via this blog's submission form: "WHY IS EVERY ONE PICKING ON JIM BROWN AND WHY DO PEOPLE GET THE IDEA THAT THESE BIG COMPANY REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU?"
Jim Brown is an easy target. He brought a lot of justified criticism on himself when he declined his invitation to the team's Ring of Honor ceremony by writing a letter that included racial references to Browns President Mike Holmgren. I have no problem with him declining, but it's the way he did it that's disturbing.
But I also recognize neither Jim Brown nor this issue is simple. And not everyone is picking on Jim Brown, either. In fact, Barry McBride of the Orange and Brown Report explored the complexities of "Jim Brown vs. the Ring of Honor," including how the local media has covered the saga.
The following is an excerpt from McBride's column, but I strongly urge you to read the piece in its entirety as well:
"It is simpleminded to think that we can take Jim Brown’s accomplishments on the field and separate them from Jim Brown the man. The same force, in my opinion, powered both. We cheered his passion and anger when it gave us greatness on the football field, but want to wag our fingers at the same passion and anger when it’s expressed in ways we don’t like.
The danger of nostalgia is that it washes away the lessons we should have learned from the past. Brown doesn’t come from a past with a better sport or a better world. He comes from a past where mistakes were made that we need to learn from.
That’s Jim Brown’s gift to us. He makes us examine ourselves, as we should whenever we bob around in the wake of a remarkable life.
No one gets out unscathed. Not Brown, not the team, not ourselves. Nor should we."