Jan 27, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT
Paul Shirley and I were born in the same town. But he left the mean streets of Redwood City, Calif., a San Francisco suburb, for Kansas as a small child, and went on to a career as a journeyman NBA player, and then a writer (I plan to follow that path in reverse). So as a Redwood City homie, I am sad to report that Shirley has been canned as a part-time blogger at ESPN. As a human being, however, I’m not bummed at all. On Tuesday Shirley wrote a particularly distasteful piece on his personal blog, FlipCollective.com, in which he explains why he won’t be donating any money toward Haiti relief. Excerpt:
As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it’s possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?
I haven’t donated to the Haitian relief effort for the same reason that I don’t give money to homeless men on the street. Based on past experiences, I don’t think the guy with the sign that reads “Need You’re Help” is going to do anything constructive with the dollar I might give him. If I use history as my guide, I don’t think the people of Haiti will do much with my money either.
The resulting backlash was terrible and swift. The Big Lead writes: Those of a certain bent will frame this politically and make him a martyr, but it’s not a case of valid viewpoint discrimination. Shirley’s words were inexplicably ignorant. ESPN, which has played host to Shirley’s blog on music and sports since 2007, was not amused. They issued a brief statement today in which they washed their hands, and for good measure their feet, of him.
Shirley actually had a rather large following on ESPN, and I’d be interested to know what the reader reaction will be.
UPDATE: Trying to log on to Shirley’s column on Flip Collective, and getting a Service Temporarily Unavailable message. Traffic congestion, or has he taken the column down?
If you rebuild it, they will come [Flip Collective]
Paul Shirley fired over Haiti comments [Pop Eater]
Statement regarding Paul Shirley [ESPN MediaZone]
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