John Feehery: Speaking Engagements



Posted on October 8, 2009


Raymond was kicking my butt yesterday, getting me to jump rope, do squats, hit the floor and do pushups, like he does just about every Wednesday, when the conversation turned to the dustup between Braylon Edwards and a friend of LeBron James. Edwards, the Cleveland Browns wide receiver, was released the other day because he beat up this friend of James, who is the undisputed King of Cleveland.

LeBron had the all time greatest put-down when he was asked to comment on the fight. He called Edwards “childish”.

So much of what happens in America these days is “childish”. Responsibility is never claimed, always pawned off on somebody else. Too many parents don’t take responsibility for their kids. Too many politicians don’t take responsibility for their votes. Too many celebrities don’t take responsibility for their actions. Too many adults don’t take responsibility for their success.

As I was lifting weights, at the direction of my friend Raymond, the conversation turned to education. I said the single best thing LeBron James could do to send the right signals to kids everywhere was go back to school, and get a college degree. Clearly, he is smart enough to complete college. Clearly, he understands his effect on kids. And clearly, a college degree (perhaps in Business Administration) could help him manage his money.

Raymond has some friends of his who used to play in the NFL. One of his friends played for twelve years – he was a pretty good player – applied for a job once he retired, and found out he wasn’t qualified because he didn’t have a college degree. So, he decided to go back to college, and tried to go back to his old school. He offered to work there as an assistant coach, as long as they would help with the tuition. The college turned him down.

I thought of this story as I heard about the visit by Arne Duncan and Eric Holder to Chicago, who are now investigating the highly publicized murder of an honors student in the Windy City. It was highly publicized because some conservatives were trying to make a big deal about the crime in Chicago, just as the President was traveling to Copenhagen to try to get the Olympics.

Because this murder helped sink the Olympic bid (or so the theory goes), the President now feels the need to send his top guys to Chicago to investigate the crime spree that has engulfed Chicago. But the crime spree that has engulfed Chicago is not a new thing. Chicago has been a shooting gallery for well over a year. Why hasn’t the President done anything about this before then?

During the campaign, Mr. Obama said much about responsibility. But he hasn’t said anything at all about it since he became President. He needs to lead on this issue. He needs to do more to than just talk. He needs to get on Bill Cosby’s bandwagon and really preach the doctrine of responsibility. He needs to get LeBron James and Magic Johnson and Cosby, and others together to come with ways to stop the killing in the streets of Chicago, DC, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York.

The FBI released some chilling statistics the other day. Despite the relatively small percentage of African-Americans in the country, black on black murder is the most common type of homicide in the United States. Barack Obama needs to do something about this. He has the bully pulpit. He should use it.

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