How long before we learn that a young pro, an NBA or NFL player, a kid suddenly being paid millions, has been the sustained victim of a gang shakedown, that’s he’s paying “tribute,” extortion money, “life insurance” or “family life insurance” to his neighborhood’s hoods?
It’s likely already happening simply because it has to be. America’s mean streets have never been meaner. And those neighborhoods are among the nation’s leaders in producing superior athletes. Do the street math.
Consider that in just one day this week, the Knicks signed Qyntel Woods, a 24-year-old pro from mean-streets Memphis with an arrest record for everything from drugs to animal abuse, and lost Quentin Richardson, who returned to mean-streets Chicago to mourn his brother, a murder victim, the second brother Richardson lost to a shooting.
And these kinds of stories have become so commonplace, we’ve become inured to them. Just another drive-by day.
How long before we learn that a sports agent is hooked up with a street gang? How long before we learn that 20 percent of a player’s paycheck is being kicked back to the head of a gang’s regional chapter? How long before we learn that, like with any crime family, you just don’t decide to walk away, especially when you’re suddenly making huge dough?
I’m not saying that Mushnick that any kind of problem with young black men getting paid or anything, but it is telling that he cites the NBA and NFL but totally ignores the history of NHL players being extorted by organized crime.