Let it be known, I am a Temple basketball fan through and through. And my cherry and white blood runs deep. So, it is easy for me to typically have a friendly disdain against the perennial flagship Atlantic 10 program, the Xavier Musketeers. Xavier is a fantastic basketball team (as hard as it is for this Temple fan to admit) and having it as a conference rival is nothing short of painfully awesome. It’s a love-hate kind of thing.
But I am all but disgusted with the program and, ultimately, its brand after last week’s embarrassing bench clearing brawl with its in-state rival, the Cincinnati Bearcats, and the slew of inane comments made by its superstar player, Tu Holloway, in the press conference following the brawl.
Cincinnati is taking most of the heat for this brawl (and rightfully so). In many respects, this appeared to be a near prison-like staging between warring gangs. Players kicking one another, socking each other in the face, blood a spew, and flailing adolescent tempers abound. All of which was abhorrent for a passionate basketball fan like myself. However, worst of all, in my estimation, were the comments made by Xavier’s Holloway and the acceptance of those comments made by Xavier’s coach, Chris Mack.
Said Holloway, in describing his team’s actions: “We’re grown men over here. We got a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room. Not thugs, but tough guys on the court.”
Worse yet was Mack’s retort to these remarks: “I think [they] are warriors on the basketball court. They’re competitors. Sometimes, they probably don’t represent themselves with their use of words real well.”
A seemingly nonchalant response to monumentally ignorant comments. I suppose all is just OK in Mack’s world, and his players can say and do as they want because, at the end of the day (as he suggests though his comment), his players are just too dumb to know what they are saying.
All of this would mean nothing to us at Stealing Share if it did not beckon the notion of brand. With this whimsically made statement by Holloway (all sarcasm aside) Xavier (players and coaches) have let us all know that its brand is one of the “gangsta.”
To be clear, I’ll give you two definitions of the term “gangsta.” The first comes from the ever-popular Urban Dictionary: “A sociopathic member of the inner-city underclass, known primarily for being antisocial and uneducated. Also known for ready access to illegal drugs.” Great stuff. Or how about the more succinctly noted definition by Merriam-Webster: “A member of an urban street gang.”
So this is now the brand of Xavier basketball. “Gangstas.” Known for a lack of education, access to drugs, whom have bonded together in a sociopathic gang. A belief system that the Xavier coach condones, too.
And so then, this is exactly as Xavier will be seen as it is bound now by the comments that have branded a once classy university. A brand that now stands for ignorance and a willingness to embrace that ignorance and sweep it under the rug.
A one-game suspension for Holloway is sinful. If Xavier has any heart left and if it wishes to salvage its brand at all, it must let the world know it does not condone the brotherhood of “gangstas.”