Commentary: Tyson goes off again

By RON COLBERT, UPI Sports Managing Editor  |  May 29, 2003 at 11:38 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- The reason I don't like writing commentaries is that, when you write them, you always get responses from people who don't like what you say. The last one I wrote, a client called it the worst piece of sports journalism he'd ever read (I seem to remember that he either misread or misunderstood what I said, but after I straightened him out, he never bothered to apologize, not that I expected him to or thought he would or should.)

That happened recently when I talked about how I thought NBA playoff basketball stunk, when I said that watching Big East basketball was like watching paint dry, when I asked the question about when this marvelous medium I have worked in all of my adult life was ever going to give Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis a break after he was acquitted of criminal charges in the wake of a fight outside an Atlanta nightspot on Super Bowl weekend in 1999.

Heck, I get ticked off all the time about some of the things I hear on radio and television talk shows in news and sports, but I bite my tongue in most cases and I keep most of my thoughts to myself.

Well, I'm about to upset people again about the latest headline involving Mike Tyson.

First and foremost, you should know right up front that, originally, I was not a Tyson fan. I admit, the reason I was never a fan of his is because, in the ring, he always beat the guy I wanted to win. However, I always gave him his props. In his prime, Tyson was a beast, his skills were always underrated, and it bugged me that, like my hero, Muhammad Ali, he always thought he was going to win his fights and didn't miss an opportunity to tell anyone who would listen.

However, I never thought that he was guilty of raping Desriee Washington -- didn't in 1991, don't now, likely never will. And what's worse is that I always thought his "alleged" rape trial in Indiana was a travesty and a farce, and after an interview on a show on Fox TV Thursday night called "The Pulse," I haven't changed my mind one iota.

What bothers me now, as it has for many years, is that now, all of a sudden, people are coming out of the woodwork saying how they too never thought he was guilty, as if they feel like now is a good time to admit that because they now understand his inner rage about being found guilty of a crime he has always he did not commit.

In the interview, Tyson said he now wants to rape Washington because the rape conviction, to this day, still makes him angry.

"I just hated her guts," Tyson said. "She put me in that state where, I don't know, I really wish I did (it) now. I really do want to rape her and her mama.

Chilling words from a man who, admittedly, is unstable and full of rage. After all, he did bite a man's ear off in the ring. He admitted to beating up two people at the site of a traffic mishap. He did get into a brawl with the "bodyguard" of heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, part of which was staged to generate better interest in the fight. And he did claim he wanted to eat Lewis' children.

Now you tell me -- does a sane person do or say these things? I think not, unless he was scheming to get away with something by making people think he was crazy. That's happened before.

I say now, as I always have, if you go to a man's abode at two in the morning, you're asking for trouble, and that's especially true if you don't even know the guy. You might say no, and you might cry rape later if that happens, but if you have a half a brain, knowing anything about how men think, you won't do it. No means no in any circumstance (only God, Tyson and Washington really know if she really did say no), but if you go to a man's room at that time of day, 99 times out of 100, something like this is likely. I've got four sisters, one of whom has a 20-year-old daughter, and I'm quite sure they would say the same thing, and they'd tell the law to toss me in prison and throw away the key if I were guilty.

But why is it that Tyson never seems to say something as incendiary as this to black reporters? Has anyone ever asked that question? Why is it that it's always a person other than of color who gets the "big" comment? Have we not yet learned that Mike Tyson does not trust white people and likely will say something this outrageous because of that?

Under the premise of reviewing the trial on its "11th?" anniversary, Fox made a huge deal out of this "report." I will admit, I did learn something from it, mainly that there were a few folks who did think his trial was a sham and some of them were jurors. That shocked me, not because they didn't get a chance to hear crucial testimony that might have made a difference in the verdict if they had, but because a number of us have said that all along and were dismissed as not being rational or impartial.

It's too bad that now Mike Tyson is the way he is. If we did not think he was crazy or unstable, if he were not depressed, as some medical folks say, if he had not been so arrogant and cocky in his younger days, we might know the real Tyson right now. Unfortunately, for him and for us, we likely never will!

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