You know sometimes I think we should get rid of Black History month. Please here me out before you start saying I am an “Uncle Tom”. We as blacks always seem to settle for less than we are owed. We accept society honoring our accomplishments as a race once a month every year versus them changing the history books to reflect what really happened. We are fine with them saying Christopher Columbus discovered America versus saying that America had already been discovered because there were Indians and Africans already on American soil. Now they are trying to pass laws to get teachers not to talk about anything that maybe uncomfortable for our children. No one wants to be held responsible for how they forced us as a race to REACT to how they treated us. They want to treat us anyway they choose to treat us, and we just have to deal with it.
Now I know you may be wondering what this has to do with the Juwan Howard situation. Well on February 20, 2022, a basketball game between the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin was played ironically during our “Black History Month”. Howard made national headlines for slapping Wisconsin’s Assistant Coach Joe Krabbenhoft. After that incident all we have heard is why Juwan Howard shouldn’t have done that. Some people thought he should be fired. Some people thought at the very least he should be suspended for the rest of the regular season and post season. Most people just want to focus on Juwan Howard’s reaction versus why he was put in a position to REACT in that manner in the first place.
Everyone is highlighting the SLAP versus the GRAB. What is also amazing to me how some people in the media tried to downplay what Gard did. As a matter of fact, here is how one media outlet described the situation. “During the on-court exchange, Gard put his left hand on Howard’s right elbow, presumably to keep him from walking away, Howard didn’t like that”. What a joke? Who in their right mind would like being GRABBED? No one is highlighting the fact that Wisconsin Head Coach Greg Gard GRABBED Juwan Howard’s arm forcefully as he tried to walk by him during the so called “good sportsmanship” handshake line. For the record just because people shake hands without an incident doesn’t mean you are a good sport, but that’s whole another subject. No one is holding Greg Gard accountable for what he did. Question, if Greg Gard doesn’t GRAB Howard’s arm does this incident happen? Does Krabbenhoft get slapped? I’ll wait! Now which one of us like to be GRABBED when we are upset? How would we react? Most people wanted Howard to just apologize for his actions because he knows better. Where is the outcry for Greg Gard’s apology? He should know better than to GRAB another man’s arm while he is obviously upset.
Now lets breakdown what really happened after Greg Gard’s unnecessary GRAB that caused Juwan Howard to react. By Gard GRABBING Howard unnecessarily, he caused Howard to stop his forward progress through the line. Howard then put his finger in Gard’s face and grabbed him momentarily. If you look closely, he takes his hands off Gard and then just continues the verbal confrontation. Then of course players and assistant coaches from both teams continue the verbal geek. Then suddenly, the 6’7 Joe Krabbenhoft burst onto the scene as if he is the top bodyGARD in the country. He proceeds to say something to a Michigan player, and it’s been said that he put his hands on the Michigan player and then and only then did Juwan Howard REACT with the slap. So now let’s put ourselves in Howard’s situation, if someone you were upset with, put his hands on your child or said something you didn’t like to your child How would you REACT? It’s amazing to me that Krabbenhoft in all of this has gotten a free pass. No one has talked about how he had a major part in Howard’s reaction. What if Krabbenhoft doesn’t get involved at all? Does Howard slap anyone? Where is Krabbenhoft’s apology for his role in the situation?
For the record I agree that Howard shouldn’t haven’t REACTED and slapped Krabbenhoft, but I also believe that Gard and Krabbenhoft should be held accountable for their actions as well. We talk about holding our kids accountable and no one held Gard and Krabbenhoft accountable. Its clear that the Big Ten, society and Wisconsin’s athletic director didn’t hold them accountable. As a matter of fact, Wisconsin AD Chris McIntosh said that he offered his complete support of the UW coaches and players. He added that the athletic department will pay the $10,000 fine that Gard incurred from the Big Ten calling it a “Wisconsin fine” and not a Greg Gard fine. So, here’s my interpretation of McIntosh’s statement. “We at Wisconsin believe that any of our coaches can GRAB any opposing coach and we agree that any of our coaches can say or put their hands on opposing teams’ players and cause an opposing coach and player to react in a negative manner and we are ok with that because it’s a Wisconsin thing”. REALLY? McIntosh went on to say that neither Coach Gard nor his staff had any intent to provoke or incite any of what took place. Did Juwan Howard have any intent to provoke or incite any of what happened? I would argue that he didn’t either based on his initial INTENT to walk by Greg Gard during the handshake line. It was only after Greg Gard GRABBED him by the arm that everything else took place. If a person flicks a lit cigarette that he thought was unlit onto his living room floor and the house catches fire and burns down to the ground. Who is responsible for the house being burnt down? Let me answer that for you, the person that flicked the lit cigarette on the floor, even though he didn’t intend to burn the house down.
Once again society has chosen to focus in on the person, Howard, who just REACTED to Gard GRABBING him. No one wants to focus on the fact that Gard caused Howard to REACT regardless of his intention or not. It’s amazing to me that there was no public outcry for Gard to at the very least apologize for his role in all of this. On the other hand, I shouldn’t be amazed at all by society’s opinion of this situation, as my mama used to say that’s too much like right. I’m glad Howard is back on the sidelines where he belongs, impacting the lives of young men through basketball but there is one thing I can guarantee after all of this, Howard won’t be caught offGARD again.