Wednesday, January 31, 2007


......Stop Digging!

This is the fourth and final phase of the Nifong Charge and it is potentially the most devastating. Of course, All are reminded that this is only a charge and must be proven before the appropriate tribunal before there are any consequences.

The Overall claim of this portion of the complaint is "Misrepresentation and False Statements to State Bar's Grievance Committee".

The first thing we have to recognize about this charge is that it is different from the preceeding three in the environment in which it is alleged to have taken place. All the other alleged misconduct took place in the rough and tumble biospheres of either the National Press or a hotly contested criminal case. Those environments are not designed to encourage reflective or philosophical thinking or utterances. When responding to a bar complaint, there are two important differences. First, the quality of witnesses against you is high. The Bar Committee is made up of folks who live in the "Question and Answer" format. They understand the gravity of statement made by a party-witness to a disciplinary proceeding. Moreover, the answers given in that environment are in examinee's own writing, with no time constraints and with advice of counsel, or an actual transcript. In other words, unlike the previous environments, there are really no excuses for "misspeaking".

The charges, slightly oversimplified are these:

Nifong admitted to the bar that he had talked to the scientists but he denied that he had discussed with one of them the concept of leaving out the exculpatory material (DNA) and amended his statement to say that leaving out the non-suspect DNA was based upon "privacy concerns". The charge then goes on to state a bunch of collateral evidence which tends to show that Nifong was unconcerned about privacy. Thus his statement explaining the scheme to leave out the non-suspect donors' DNA was false and made in connection with a disciplinary matter.

The Bar then states that Nifong stated to the grievance committee he "didn't know" the non-suspect DNA was not provided to defense counsel until they filed their Motion to Compel in December of ''06. Without a lot of foreplay, the bar alleges that's a lie because he was talking to the scientist about leaving out that information as early as April '06.

The complaint then moves to Nifong's statements concerning his allegedly misleading statements to the Court (which we examined earlier). He alleges he was referring not to the existence of potentially exculpatory DNA but to what he called defense counsel's "allegation that an intentional attempt to conceal (exculpatory evidence) had been made." The State Bar points out that the only problem with that explanation is the Duke Defendants NEVER MADE SUCH AN ALLEGATION. Essentially he is charged with two material lies in one sentence here.

I view this claim as big trouble, a professional greasefire. The more water the respondent tries to throw onto it, the brigher it burns. Even though it will be different people, the folks determining the outcome of this complaint are the folks who believe they were lied to. They are also the people who have the power to short-circuit an attorney's livelihood. Additionally, the problems with allegations two and four are that they are the kind of conduct which requires reflection. They don't happen on the spur of the moment. It took thought and time to conspire with the scientist to deep six the non-suspect DNA. It took thought and time to compose the answers to the grievance committee. So, if there are mistatements in this phase, they are knowing, intentional and willful mistatements. Not just poor impulse control. Not a good career track.

There will come a time, I'm guessing, when Nifong's defense position becomes untenable. To me, it would be very surprising if a good deal of time were not allowed to pass in this case and then a negotiated settlement entered into. It is difficult to see how Nifong's defense could sustain the testimony of Judge and a forensic scientist describing his conduct in real time. I would look for, within the bounds of ethical lawyering on both sides, a very slow play on this (preferrably until the criminal case is disposed of) and then a deal.

Finally, a word in defense of the NC State Bar. This organization has been vilified in some NC based blogs and publications. The decision to file this complaint had to be agonizing. Even a first year law student would have figured out that a charge including suppressing exculpatory material would lead to Nifong's office having to withdraw from the criminal case. This sets up a choice between policing the bar in real time and depriving the people of their elected representative, an agonizing choice between two compelling values. To those who say it was too slow, I say, it was a momentous decision by a serious, deliberative body and the time taken was probably not a sign of cowardice or collusion, but of earnest due care.

Tomorrow, Who has the power to clean up the stain this conduct has left on the American Criminal Justice System? It's probably not who you think.

To all of those out there who have contacted me personally to acknowledge appreciation of this series of posts, Thanks. Most of you, I didn't even know you had a computer!



First, the Cliff's Notes Review:

Step 1 = injudicious pretrial publicity

Step 2 = Failure to disclose material favorable to the Defense and cooking the reports to prevent that disclosure.

What is the natural progression from that? Of course, Phase three, from page 21 to page 27 has the lovely, fetching title of "Misrepresentations and False Statements to the Court and Opposing Counsel." I must tell you, this one is not as sexy as it sounds.

Here are included things like Stating to the Court "I have turned over everything I have" when he had allegedly failed to include a verbatim of his conversations with two scientists, denying that he had any additional conversations with the scientists that were not reflected in the reports, a specific denial that there were additional statements made by one of the scientists, a direct statement and that "this was the first I heard of (exculpatory, third party DNA identified on the person of complaining witness)."

This section is artfully pleaded but looks a little weak on its face. It really reargues topic number two more than it successfully makes out a new charge of misleading the court. The statement that Nifong falsely avowed that he had turned over "...everything I have" appears to me to be more of a legal conclusion than a statement of fact. You almost have to read the whole complaint to get a feel for how this section is weaker than the first two. There's nothing in here for which one would earn a scouting badge but I'm not sure it properly pleads a stand-alone offense.

Please don't take this as excusing the behavior. If I were defense counsel, I'd be plenty steamed about this two-step with the evidence and the way the scientists' reports were schemed, but I think the specific claim of this segment's gonna be tough to prove and this segment of the complaint probably amended.

Once again, these are only written charges which have yet to be proven. If a "misleading a tribunal" charge is proved, it almost always results in time without a license. In fact, in all the time, I've done professional discipline work, I've only seen one case where a more lenient penalty was imposed. That was a unique case where the misleading attorney, one day later, called the misleading remark to the attention of the tribunal, fixed the result, made the other party whole for wasted attorney time and turned himself into the the disciplinary body.

A careful reading of this part of the complaint against Nifong causes me to believe the charges under this section are very unlikely to be proven. Tomorrow, we will take up Section Four, Page 27 through 33. This will reemphasize for us that the coverup is always equal to or worse than the infraction being covered up in terms of the pain it visits upon the one covering up. Also known as the "Nixon Rule".

Just for fun, let's say I'm right about this one and he is not found responsible for this conduct. Is a Judge every going to believe a single word he says about the conduct of his Office? That's the practical side of a prosecutor who is not a straight shooter. In the end, it impairs his ability to adequately represent the People he signed on to protect.

What a lot of people who have never done it do not appreciate is the unique position of a prosecutor. The courts must believe your word. The defense bar must believe your word. The police agencies must accept what you tell them and rely on it. Even the crooks have to believe your word is your bond or you're out of business. The system revolves around the honesty of prosecutors. Others can shave the truth, hold back relevant information and, while wrong, that conduct does not cause the sytem to break down. The minute any of these factions cannot accept the prosecutor as honest and reliable, we're just marching in place.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007


It has recently been announced that the "foreUS Women's Golf Tour" will begin March 25 in Palm Springs, California. This tour is described as "a competitive golf tour for lesbian golfers of all skill levels"

Three events are planned for 2007, six in 2008 and eight in 2009.

The mind boggles at what might be involved in the Qualifying School.

We will now returned to our regularly scheduled Nifong.



OK, team, let's keep in mind this is nothing but a pleading and the State Bar must prove these charges before anything happens.

We left off yesterday talking about Phase One of the charges which can be summed up best by the referee going on live mike and saying "Illegal use of Mouth, Home Team, No. 1, 15 yards! Repeat First Down!"

That's the first 15 and a half pages. Pages 16 to 21 take us to a much darker place.

The starting point here is that ALL prosecutors have a duty to disclose "exculpatory" evidence to the defense. The prosecutor doesn't get to decide whether the evidence is powerful or conclusive. If it can be interpreted in a way that either shows innocence or reduces punishment, it must be turned over.

This Second section begins with the allegation that Nifong didn't promptly notify the defense of the absence of Defandants' DNA and the presence of the DNA of others at various locations on the complainant's anatomy. If true, that's bad. But the allegation moves on to a darker place. It actually describes Nifong telling the scientist what to omit from this report. The way it's described in the complaint is very willful and shows a pattern of attempting to keep the defense from learning about evidence helpful to the defendants. So this section has two prongs: first is failing to turn over exculpatory material promptly; Second is micromanaging the scientific findings in an effort to make it unlikely the material will be discovered or pursued by the defense. Prong number one is bad conduct because it tends to defeat constitutional protections but it could be packaged in a way that, if true, it's still not a permanent loss of license. Prong number two, if proven to be true, is not only evil but purposely so. If proven, it shows a pattern of willful failure to observe the rules. Worse, in my mind, is that it calls into questions the good faith of every prosecutor in the nation and thus, weakens our justice system. Proof of guilt of the second prong would show a very unfit lawyer. It would be difficult for a disciplinary body to see any rehabilitative potential or feel any mercy for someone who would willfully cook the report so as to defeat discovery of important fact (as to each defendant, not a donor, and four unknown donors detected).

Where possible, I've reviewed the actual case file documents. In the case of Seligmann, the prosecutor not only had a free standing duty to disclose exculpatory material but Seligmann's lawyer had also very artfully requested exactly the material that appears to have been purposely concealed. I suspect the other Def's did the same thing.

As we go through the continuum of charges, we are moving inexorably to the big leagues. Not turning over bio-evidence is a problem. Masking the existence of favorable bio-evidence is fairly large problem.

To review, we started with the Prosecutor simply making impermissible public statements. Now we have moved to concealing things he had a duty to make known to the other attorneys. Tomorrow, we move into a new arena: Actually making afffirmatively false statements to the court and counsel in the underlying criminal case. That's pages 21 to 27. It's not a pretty story, as you'll see tomorrow.


Monday, January 29, 2007


The Amended Complaint is 33 pages long. The first 15 and half pages are just a recitation of the foundation of the case and a litany of imprudent public statements Nifong made which a reasonable lawyer would have thought might influence a jury. Some are more putrid than others. One essentially attacks the system by asking why a defendant would need a lawyer if he weren't guilty or had something to hide (Uh, Mike, maybe because there are unscrupulous prosecutors out there). Some of the remarks discuss evidence which I'm sure the police would rather have had come up for the first time in court. Many of them were just his undistilled opinion (essentially saying "trust me--they're guilty").

All of this is impermissible under the rules set out for lawyers and the higher standard for prosecutors. None of these looselipped pronouncements, in and of itself, would have brought about substantial punishment. There would have been some understanding that a case of nationwide publicity would be a little difficult for a local prosecutor to navigate, even an experienced politician.

But the sheer volume of them is a concern. How many times does a guy screw up before it becomes obviously willful? The non-stop chatter to national media, at some point becomes cumulative.

Factor in that the backdrop for this performance was Class/Race Warfare during a primary election and it gets slimier. In effect the performance was to convince the black locals that he was on their side "against" the rich white out of state students. A prosecutor's not on anybody's side except crime's. A prosecutor has to tell cops "no", putative victims "no", defense counsel "no" and sometimes even Judges "no". If a prosecutor pledges his allegiance to any class of people, he's missing the point of a justice system.

Still, I will contend, that, if found guilty of everything in the first 15 and a half pages of the Amended Complaint, Nifong would not have lost his privilege to practice law for any substantial period of time. Moreover, because he was an elected official, it would have been likely that he would have been allowed to finish his term before the sanctions bit. There is precedent for that in several states. Disciplinary bodies do not wish to deprive the public of the elected official it chose. There are arguments on both sides but this one has held sway for first offenders before.

Of course, the Amended Complaint doesn't end there. Tomorrow, in the words of Dr. Strangelove, we will take up the "Precious Bodily Fluids."

For today I shall close with the following: Class warfare in any direction is a bad idea.


Friday, January 26, 2007


When they were plugging for a tax increase, they were quick to assure the public "This is isn't about us getting more money. We just want to make sure that ambulance services remain available to the whole county!"

Now they've voted to strike and....oh, by the way.....Good Luck on the "Service to the whole County" thang.

Not saying who's right in the pay dispute. Still, a strike is inconsistent with a concern for consistent service for our citizens here in Adams County, Illinois. Make up you mind, folks, which is your priority?


Thursday, January 25, 2007


It was my considered opinion, that the invasion of a sovereign foreign country was bad policy, resource allocation and of questionable utility. With every day that has gone by, it has become clear that our leaders had absolutely no concept of how to handle the period of occupation.

Moreover, it has always been obvious that they had no defined, measurable goals which, when achieved, would be a "victory."

Even at that, of the removal of the top-level bureaucrats and the dismantling of the Iraqi army showed a remarkable combination of arrogance and stupidity. It will probably never be clear in my lifetime why an ambitious diplomat essentially superseded reconstruction expert General Garner.

All of this woeful performance in the occupation of Iraq simply served to confirm my initial impression of that this seemingly imperialistic adventure was wrong on any number of levels. Given this background, it would be a fair guess that I would adamantly oppose President Bush's proposed "Surge". Much to my own surprise, I find myself in tepid agreement with His Flightsuitness on his proposal to insert approximately 21,000 additional troops into the occupation areas and have them function essentially as an "anti-gang unit".

Make no mistake; I still believe that the original invasion was a grievous error. The whole neocon concept of installing a representative government into the center of a land mass that we generally refer to as Arabia was borderline demented. The value of the targets was vastly overrated. The value of the infrastructure that we destroyed in the adventure was vastly underrated. No value was placed upon artifacts we had no plan to preserve. The value of the public service bureaus and the lower grades in the army resources to reconstitute the country was disregarded. In other words the whole undertaking was lame. In a land war, ground is taken to be liberated on behalf of someone who will occupy it and care for it, to be temporarily held for strategic fighting purposes or to be occupied for colonial purposes. We took ground for no purpose other than to change a regime with no considered thought about the identity and trustworthiness of those who would occupy it.

All of that aside, we are there now. Nothing can change that. We have broken up the Iraqi civil service system, its defense system and the only peacekeeping mechanism it had. Iraq, with any form of government, has historic enemies. The grudge between Iran and Iraq is not going away anytime soon. The need for basic civil infrastructure in Iraq is not going to disappear. Now that we have broken this country, we need to leave it at least as functional or before. As Colin Powell so correctly said, the first rule of post-modern society regarding invading another sovereign is "You broke it, you fix it. " we cannot fix it, which means we it cannot leave this engagement honorably, if there's not sufficient security for American and Iraqi engineers, construction professionals and technocrats to safely rebuild. To put the same thing another way, we have, as a consequence of our stupendous bad judgment, placed ourselves under an obligation to create sufficient security in Iraq to repair its broken to defense system, civil infrastructure, justice system and governance. We have adequately demonstrated we cannot do that with the troop levels and assignments currently in place.

Having placed us and our fine military in this position, the President was presented with essentially three oversimplified options " go big, go long or go home ". To his credit, he worked on refining these simplistic categories. In essence be decided upon " go big " modified by what I will call " go short " and " go specific ". He proposes to insert proactive troops into problem areas, take ground for the purpose of pacification and gradually let the Iraqi army maintain each area's pacification.

Certainly, he is not tell us precisely how "Short " this adventure will be and is understandably shaky on the details of how this risky undertaking is going to be handed off to risk-averse Iraqis. It is a fair criticism to suggest that, in coming to this decision, he sought meaningful counsel only from people he believed would agree with him.

It seems to me that all the objections to his plan have fallen to one of four categories: First are the moral objections from people who are more or less pacifists; Second are the people who believe the original incursion was a bad idea and believe any additional troops is throwing " good after bad "; Third are the people who correctly state that this is administration has not been correct about much in the way of foreign or military policy and justifiably ask " why should we believe you now? "; finally, come the people who simply believe that there is no credible and certainly no compelling evidence that this strategic modification will prove successful.

For the categorical pacifists and conscientious objectors, I have no satisfactory answer. There will never be one. We elect the commander-in-chief. Any time he or she elects to use military force the pacifists' moral objection is implicated. Those of us who happen to agree with the president on this phase are simply left to respect the pacifists' high moral principles and respectfully disagree.

To the people who argue " good effort on top of bad ", I say that argument minimizes the stakes. On September 12, 2001 the entire civilized world was our friend. We have done much since then fritter away the good feelings, which came our way back then. There are, for whatever reason, still governments and still people in this world who hold us in the relatively high regard. If we leave things in their current status, that is, we busted up this country beyond measure and then left it in a heap, we lose almost all of the remaining respect there is for us in the world. For those interested in World War Two history it will be the diametric opposite of the Marshall Plan.

I quickly concede that it would be useful if our administration would set measurable benchmarks assess when progress is actually made. There is nothing more maddening than to hear the President and his minions talk vaguely about " victory" as if it were simply a happy state of mind immediately to follow the insertion of just a few more troops. At the end of the day, we can find the President's intentional vagueness and sembling description of the outcome he desires repugnant and still agree with his conclusion that we have undertaken, by our actions, an obligation under multinational law to honorably repair what we have broken by initiating this adventure.

Great respect should be attended to those who argue " Why should we believe you now?” They make an excellent point. They are not factually wrong. Still, the president is our commander- in-chief under the constitution that we all embrace. That position and the information that flows into deserve some deference. Additionally, the practical question is "Can we exclude or eliminate the possibility that this plan might lead to some success in restoring the country? " Responsible people of all political persuasions with the training and access to knowledge to make that judgment have stated that this limited buildup has a chance to achieve some success in pacifying particularly difficult, insurgent neighborhoods and regions. Beyond that, when listening to the few specifics that have been made available, the proactive nature and a change of Rules of Engagement suggest a more adaptive warfare which could assist existing troops in clearing and perhaps maintaining dangerous pockets. "Yes" to all who say it is hateful that we are in this mess to begin with. We understand and sympathize with all who say this exercise is not worth one additional American life or limb. Still, however ill conceived the original attack may have been, we are in this, is a military operation and must be staffed by military personnel. It is possible, if not plausible, that the additional troops with an aggressive, proactive mission might reduce the origination points for the explosive devices which are harming so many of our personnel. In other words it cannot be excluded that the surge might actually reduce gross casualties. Of course we'll never know because it will be impossible to determine what casualties would have been taken without the surge.

The same arguments apply to the "No credible evidence" crowd. In the final analysis, this is the province of expert witnesses. If there were a majority of independent generals, admirals and warfare experts stating that this concept has no chance, such a view would be entitled to great weight. As we begin 2007, however, that is not the case. One can shop for about any view of this plan and find plausible and accomplished military men to for support that view.

To some extent anyone of my generation would be colored by our country's Vietnam experience. That influence is there. Still, when I look at the proposal and the reasoning and the incredible morass in which we find ourselves, I cannot say I disagree with the president on this one issue. Whether or not the original decision to invade Iraq was wise, moral, just or even legal is left for people at other times and in other places to decide. The question before the country, right now, in real time, is "How best to see to the balance of our military mission?" The President's plan is not fatuous.

In 1975 we saw what "Phased redeployment " looked like. It is hard to do practically, honorably and geopolitically. The commander-in-chief is entitled to an opportunity to identify a way, which promises to lead to a better, safer and more constructive outcome.

Decent people can reasonably disagree about this. Certainly the president has earned a jaundiced view of anything he says about military and foreign policy. The President insists on harming his own credibility by invoking "the war on terror" to justify his neoconservative adventure. He should be taken more effectively to task about not assigning metric goals that would equal "Victory." We can't and shouldn't forget about the method or the outcome of the decision-making which led us into this costly and foolish adventure. It was a stacked deck of questionable, if not dishonest, premises. The fact is that we are there. Given that unfortunate fact, the President's plan is the only one we have heard which holds out the possibility of meeting at least our baseline legal obligations to the world community and our promises to the Iraqi people.
J.C. Watts' father once said, "A black man voting for a Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders!" I kind of feel like that chicken as I type these words. This blog supports the President's "Surge" plan and hopes it is successful.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Gee, that's embarassing for the Yale Law School. A Yale Law Honors Grad outfoxed by a guy who never graduated from college, anyplace.

If it's true, I guess it proves that Republicans actually do eat their young. Well, wait, even if it's not true, Libby's still a Republican. I guess it proves they eat their young whether it's true or not.


Monday, January 22, 2007


Some of my methodist brothers and sisters are objecting to the George W. Bush Presidential Library being on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

I do not join in that anti-intellectual position. I agree with nearly nothing this man stands for but he is and has been the President. He has a point of view. His administration will be an important learning tool for all of us for years to come (likely and object lesson).

A university is a place where all points of view should be presented fairly and the students come away with their own, balanced view. Simply because this President is not our cup of tea, we shouldn't refuse to house his history. After all, it's our history as well, like it or not.

Please, don't let my faith be the "thought police."

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What on Earth were the other 25% thinking?


Friday, January 19, 2007


Contrary to popular belief, the Super Bowl will be populated by a team from New England, coached by a homeless guy lookalike and Quarterbacked by a guy who couldn't start in the big ten. Peyton Manning will continue to be the Greatest Quarterback Never to Have Played in the Super Bowl and Tony Dungy will not be the first african-american head coach to take his team to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots will run more than pass and Indy will not be able to stop them on the ground.

If you disagree, post it. Then, when I'm wrong you can say "I told you so!"


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Starts Tonight @ 1800, Vermont Street Methodist Church Library, it's part of the "Living the Questions" presentation. This one is called "Counterning Pharoah's Production-Consumption Society Today".

The main talent is a fellow named Walter Bruegemann and I'm the facilitator and Hall Monitor. I assure you it'll make you think.

If you can only come a few nights, please do so. We'll have materials relevant to each night's presentation available when you come in.

Participants of all faiths are welcome.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Trump says Condi has no negotiating skills. She walks off the plane, smiles and waves. Then she says hello and nothing happens. Other Countries laugh at our proposals.

It's a little hard to argue with him on that one.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


In his last "Condition of the State" speech Gov. Vilsack urged the legislature to pass a resolution calling for a prompt end to the adventure in Iraq. He spoke of the impact on the Iowa and its communities.

At about the same time the General Accounting Office was estimating that just the care of disabled and disturbed veterans over their lifetimes will be from $350B to $850B, not including other veterans already in the system or to be placed in the system from other adventures. Of course, if history is any teacher, the Gov't will continue to redefine who gets benefits, shrink the benefit and slow play the recipients. Still, it's a whopping debt we owe our own sons and daughters. I surely didn't hear anybody...and I mean anybody....talking about this before we went in.

That's before the States do their part and that total doesn't include what some of the rehabilitated vets will cost their own private insurance carriers if they are deferred or refused by the VA.

And, of course, it doesn't begin to cover the human suffering.

Maybe we could have done the cost-benefit analysis better if we had clearly defined the specific, measurable goals we were trying to achieve.



The Hall of Fame Voting has always had a built-in bias against relievers but Gossage not getting in is ridiculous. The question you have to ask is "During his prime years, was he preeminent at his position." Uh, yeah.

These idiots were so busy whaling on McGwire they forgot to put in the most deserving guy on the ballot at his position. It's time to consider taking the exclusive decision-making away from baseball writers. There should be alternative ways for deserving candidate to get in without waiting 20 years to be considered by the veterans committee (which is also a joke but that's another post.)

Cal Ripken was very deserving, as was Tony Gwynn, but Gossage was better at his position than Ripken was at his.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Mr. BCS Bowl Chief Suit announced yesterday he was opposed to a playoff system (Be still my heart! Who knew?) but, in a fit of generous flexibility, he was NOT opposed to the "and one" system. This is the one where they would play the National Championship Game and then, a week later they would pick a team to play the Winner in a "Super Duper This Time I Really Mean It Championship Game".

OK just use this year as an example. Who would play Floriday in the "And One" game? If you Say Boise State, you punish LSU for their schedule. If you say LSU, you ignore Boise State's going undefeated and winning a BCS bowl game.

These BCS types are always saying they don't want to do anything to devalue the Bowl Games. Does anybody think a successful and interesting "and one" game would not water down even the big bowls? I've got some TWA stock you're gonna just love!


Monday, January 08, 2007


Do we think Fichigan can quite griping about not being in this game now?

Now, when do the Gay-tors play Boise State?


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


DHS came out with a report as to which cities and regions are progressing best in the area's of disaster preparedness and and security response. I'm sure Achmed will factor this into his pin map of targets.

Ya know, some government information really doesn't have to be public information.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


In today's excerpt, the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City:

"Three months after [Robert Kennedy's killing, the real world again insinuated itself into sports. Again, ABC Sports, [Roone] Arledge, and [Howard] Cosell were there. Ten days before the 1968 Olympics were to begin in Mexico City, nearly ten thousand people gathered to protest the nation's expenditures on games when millions of Mexicans lived in poverty. Gunfire from soldiers and police killed more than two hundred protesters. ...

"Late in the games, the black American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos finished first and third at two hundred meters. They were proteges of black activist Harry Edwards, a professor at San Jose State. ... At a press conference alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., and Floyd McKissick of the Congress of Racial Equality, Edwards proposed a boycott of the Mexico City games unless certain demands were met. Those demands included barring South Africa and Rhodesia from the Olympics, [and] the hiring of black coaches and officials on the U.S. team ..."

No boycott developed, but Arledge expected something. ... Then, there it was, the something. As Smith and Carlos stepped onto the victory stand to receive their gold and bronze Olympic medals, they were barefoot. Their heads were bowed. Each wore one black glove. As Arledge watched the scene on a control room monitor, he shouted to directors and camera operators: 'Get in there!' He wanted close up pictures of Smith and Carlos. He said, 'This is Black Power!' In a city where people had been killed by government action during peaceful protests, in a time when black Americans protested institutionalized racism, Arledge was prepared. He recognized the social and political significance of the Smith-Carlos scene. Rather than turn ABC's camera away to preserve the IOC's pretension that politics played no part in the Olympics, Arledge shouted again, 'Get in on them!'

"[In an interview with Cosell soon after, Smith explained,] "The fist to show Black Power, the strength and unity of black people. The shoeless feet to show the anguish of black people all through the years. The bowed head because the words of the anthem were not being applied to blacks. ...

"The Warren (Ohio) Tribune ... printed a full-page, black-bordered broadside with the headline: 'SHAME ON HOWARD COSELL--AND SHAME ON ABC.' "NOTE: Edward's call for a boycott was ahead of its time. In 1980, the U.S. "asked African nations to boycott Moscow [even though] the U.S. had refused to join twenty-nine African nations in a boycott of South Africa's presence in the 1976 Olympics." Dave Kindred, Sound and Fury, Free Press, 2006, pp. 143-147, 236.

The above excerpt from the Wonderful Dave Kindred book (one of my favorite writers) comes courtesy of our friends at Delancey Place, What follows is my own recollection.

Both Carlos and Smith were injured in either other events or trial heats. Carlos was a powerful athlete with a forceful running style. Smith was a graceful, almost ethereal runner. Both were questionable starters. Because of his powerful style, Carlos was the more doubtful of the two. There was doubt until the end as to whether either would get to the starting blocks or could successfully get out of them. They were treated intensively by one of the american team physicians. In Carlos' case, the doctor designed a specific compression bandage to limit the possiblility of secondary injury. Both were able to answer the gun and earn their medals.

The Doctor received no fee for his services. Neither Smith nor Carlos has ever publicly thanked him. He was a southern white man.

Harry Edwards became upwardly mobile by becoming a "protest sociologist". It's funny how his schtick has played out. He told black athletes that were being exploited for so long that they came to take it as an article of faith. Their reaction? Hire better agents and get paid more for being exploited. Time marches on and I have not heard Edwards being seriously quoted on any topic involving sports or race in the last 15 years. The sixties, after all, didn't live forever, no matter how much some folks wish they had.


Monday, January 01, 2007


"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations"

.........March 4, 1865,

Every word still as true today as it ever was.

Have a great 2007, USA and her people (Particular those in the good, old UMRB.)