Silence in the Trenches
When asked for marital advice after being married for 16 years, I give the same words every time. Don’t let life get in the way of your connection. Life will hit you harder than anything else, if you don’t have someone in the trenches with you, willing to fight the battle with you, your connection is worthless. The battle isn’t worth it anymore because whatever talent you brought to the fight cannot guarantee you a victory.
In the last 25 years, we have uncovered the fact that winning simply does not cure everything. From Jimmy Johnson leaving as Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys to Kevin Durant’s departures from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. Like Love, winning hides a multitude of faults. Our imperfections somehow get mixed with another person or group, and in a sense, creates some version of perfection. Loyalty, duty, and honor hides our faults in public, but those faults get tolerated in private.
There is something to be said about being in the trenches with someone. For all of the rumors that have been circulated about the 90s Dallas Cowboys, they will never speak on their exploits. Scottie Pippen’s comments about Phil Jackson being racist, and Michael Jordan playing to the cameras for the famous Steve Kerr last second shot in the ’97 NBA Finals, caused a media stir.
It was quite evident from the docuseries, The Last Dance, that it didn’t make Scottie Pippen look good at all. From criticizing his refusal to go into the game in the ’94 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, his signing of a bad long-term contract, him not having offseason surgery but opting to have it during the season instead. The series actually singled him out for chastising the Chicago Bulls GM, Jerry Krause, for the bad contract. I think the series ultimately broke his heart, and these recent comments were a result of the pain he has been holding on to for some time.
Phylicia Rashad was criticized for voicing her support for Bill Cosby after he was recently released from jail. Cosby was released after a Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his conviction due to a technicality. Rashad, who is currently the Dean of Fine Arts at Howard University, has had calls for her resignation from both students and alumni. As I said on our podcast, Rashad is black untouchable. The image of Claire Huxtable was something that America had never seen before, and something it has failed to replicate since.
Did the 90s Dallas Cowboys get it right by letting decades old rumors be the only window into their storied run? Their silence inside and out of the arena is admirable. From the brotherhood of Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston, Troy Aikman in the gallery for Michael Irvin’s court appearances, and Deion Sanders testifying as a character witness for Nate Newton. Their commitment to winning obviously created a bond amongst that team that has extended well beyond the field.
To speak on the image of Claire Huxtable again, TideKing has a saying about black women today. They’re too busy trying to be Oprah Winfrey, when they forgot to be Good Times’ Florida Evans. My only addendum to that would be is that no one is even trying to be Claire Huxtable. That image doesn’t happen without Bill Cosby. From 1985 to 1989, the Cosby Show was the highest rated tv show to ever hit the airwaves. For all its high ratings and praises, none of its actors never received a Primetime Emmy. They watched their mostly white counterparts win awards year after year.
When Phylicia Rashad was in the trenches with Bill Cosby doing exceptional work, was a bond not supposed to be created? Are we surprised by a friendship that extended off the set of the Cosby Show? Because of this bond, in his darkest hour, Rashad has steadfastly voiced her support for him. When our friends are in trouble, sometimes we’re told to cut them loose, and don’t even speak on their issues. While Rashad’s criticisms are valid, I admire her courage to be in his corner.
For Scottie Pippen, I think that because he was in the trenches with Michael Jordan for every one of his championships only to be made to look like someone who never knew better, solidified for him what he always thought of Jordan. Only Pippen, would have never made Jordan look bad. Think about this, Pippen had been the biggest Jordan is the Greatest cheerleader and the 90s was the best era promotor in the media. When the silence in the trenches was broken, Pippen’s tune definitely changed.