Droopy drawers bring athlete's arrest and new discussion of hot-button topics
Find a photo or ad showing clothes suitable for recreation, nightlife or sports -- but not school, worship or work.
Some people say Deshon Marman was reinforcing a negative stereotype. How can newspapers help change assumptions through coverage of athletes or minorities? Look for an example.
Try to spot a picture of a performer, athlete or other celebrity in street clothes. What image does his or her style create?
A college football player left an airport in handcuffs last week essentially because he boarded a plane with pants sagging below his underwear. Deshon Marman, a 20-year-old junior returning to the University of New Mexico after a high school teammate's San Francisco funeral, was arrested before takeoff because crew members and police say he wouldn't pull up loose-fitting pants and was aggressively uncooperative. The athlete says he couldn't comply so when first asked because he had bags in both hands, and then saw no need to do so while seated.
A passenger who videotaped part of last week's incident says the pants were at mid-thigh level and showed black briefs. "When I first saw him coming down the aisle, I was like, 'Come on man, really?' " the seatmate told the San Francisco Chronicle, requesting anonymity. "But after he sat down, you couldn't see anything." After a night in jail, Marman was freed on $11,000 bail. The prosecutor's office will decide by July 16 whether to charge him with resisting arrest and trespassing for disregarding the captain's request to leave the jet.
Marman, who is African American, grew up in a high-crime part of San Francisco. "Where Marman comes from, pride isn't defined by how a guy wears his trousers," sportswriter Rick Wright said Sunday in the Albuquerque Journal. Reactions to the arrest include observations about race, culture and how small disputes can grow. "He was attacked for three reasons: his clothing, his skin, and his hair," claims the player's mother, Donna Doyle. LZ Granderson, an ESPN commentator and writer who is African American, also sees the arrest as excessive. "No way should a conversation about baggy pants end in the young man's arrest," he says in a blog post. "Trained professionals are supposed to defuse nominal situations like this, not escalate them for arbitrary reasons." US Airways, the carrier involved, has no specific dress code. A spokesman says it asks customers to "dress in an appropriate manner to ensure the safety and comfort of all of our passengers."
Deshon Marman says: "I'm embarrassed by the negative attention that has been brought upon my family, my football team, my teammates and most of all myself." -- June 17 statement
Sports columnist says: "Life is about continuing lessons, and yours [Marman's] right now is learning to dress appropriately. You need to embrace it, if for no other reason than your own self-respect. Understand you set us back when you do these things -- 'us' being African-Americans and athletes." -- LaVar Arrington, Washington Post
Player's lawyer says: "Once he was seated, his buttocks were at the back of his seat and nothing could have been seen, nor was anything displayed. The issue should have been over." -- Joseph O'Sullivan, San Francisco attorney
Front Page Talking Points is written by
Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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