Is Phoenix Suns forward Amar'e Stoudemire blind to the truth about Sheriff Joe Arpaio?
Apparently so, and in more than one eye. According to recent news reports, Big Stat was sworn in this afternoon as a "special deputy" for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
For Sheriff Joe, it's a publicity coup, coming at just the right time, with African-American Arpaio critic Al Sharpton scheduled to be in town this Friday to protest the sheriff's immigration policies and racial-profiling tactics, and to show solidarity with the local Hispanic community.
But for Stoudemire, who suffered a detached retina just after the All Star Game here last season, it's his Stevie Wonder moment. ABC 15 quotes MCSO Lieutenant Brian Lee as stating that Stoudemire's "a fan of the Sheriff's Office and his policies." Does that mean Stoudemire's a fan of the sheriff's prejudiced policies against Latinos?
Or maybe Amar'e likes how Sheriff Joe treated his mom Carrie when she was booked into MCSO's custody on aggravated DUI charges. She later did about two years at Goodyear's Perryville Prison on the counts. Former New Times writer John Dougherty detailed Stoudemire's mom's problems with alcohol and drugs in the cover story "Amare's Burden" and a follow-up column "Yo Mama."
Thing is, Stoudemire's cozying up to Arpaio's far more shameful than anything his mom's done. (Or, at least, anything we know that she's done.) Sportswriters sometimes say Stoudemire "lacks focus" on the court, which is shorthand for "Amare's a dim bulb." His puckering up to Arpaio confirms this observation.
Stat's teammate Shaquille O'Neal was smart enough to dodge the sheriff's attempts to reel him in as a posse member. Last year, O'Neal, who has long expressed an interest in law enforcement, signed on as a volunteer with the Tempe police force.
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Months later, Arpaio demanded back an honorary badge he'd given Shaq in 2006 when Shaq-Fu was with the Miami Heat, and toured Tent City while in town to play the Suns. In a retaliatory PR stunt, Arpaio claimed Shaq had disgraced the badge when a salty video of Shaq rapping about Kobe Bryant surfaced on YouTube. Supposedly, Nickel Bag was upset because Shaq had used the n-word in the rap-attack.
"I don't condone this type of racial conduct," said Arpaio in a fit of fake outrage. This from a man who's made running after brown water park workers and car washers the primary focus of his department.
Maybe Suns GM Steve Kerr can have a chat with Amar'e about this and explain why Sheriff Joe's a bad man. Or maybe he could make Stoudemire watch that classic skit from Dave Chappelle's Chapelle Show where the black comedian plays a blind, African-American member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Sure the MCSO ain't exactly the KKK. After all, no one there wears white sheets. At least not on duty.