Jalen Rose Didn’t Seem to Know that He was Under Arrest

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World 

It appears that Jalen Rose of ESPN (and the Fab Five at Michigan) wasn’t aware that he was being arrested when he was stopped for DUI. Here is a transcript of Jalen’s interaction with the police officer in the back of a squad car on the night he was arrested for drunk driving:

Jalen: "So what are we doing right now?"
Cop: "We’re gonna go to the police station right now."
Jalen: "To do what?"
Cop: "You’re under arrest."
Jalen: "For what, sir?"
Cop: "For drunk driving."
Jalen: "But I wasn’t really drinking."
Cop: "Um, okay."

Obviously, one can clearly see that Jalen and the officer are not on the same page. Also, given that the evidence seems to show that his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, it’s clear that Jalen needed to be in that police car. I am with the officer in that neither of us believe Jalen’s initial assertion that he hadn’t had anything to drink that night. He failed several sobriety tests and smelled of alcohol, so I believe he was drunk driving.

With that said, I’ve made it clear in the past that Jalen Rose deserves a shot at redemption. I don’t think he should have been cut from the ESPN lineup, and the good has outweighed the bad in his broadcasting career. The problem for Jalen, though, is that he hasn’t learned one of the fundamental rules for outspoken black men in America: Keep your sh*t together, for the haters are always watching.

Jalen has taken some bold steps lately, being one of the few prominent black public figures to write about the fact that college athletes should be paid. Both Jalen and I put pieces up on the Huffington Post about this important topic around the same time. While I felt that Jalen wasn’t asking for enough (he requested stipends for athletes of about $2,000 per semester), I was happy to finally see a prominent black male athlete speak publicly on a topic that so many will only grumble about in private.

The thing about Jalen (who was also in the middle of controversy after calling the black Duke University basketball players “UncleToms”) is that a black man can’t run his mouth that much in public and then “get caught slippin.” The fact that Jalen was arrested for DUI only gives his enemies fuel for their fire of disdain toward him as they are surely working to discredit him. It is for that reason that I am saddened by his arrest.

But no matter what happens with Jalen Rose, we all know that college athletes and their families deserve a slice of the multi-billion dollar pie that the NCAA earns off the backs of black families across America. The coaches, administrators and commentators (mostly white men) making millions for their families while leaving black families in poverty is fundamentally wrong, and there’s nothing they can say to change that.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of ALARM, the Athlete Liberation Academic Reform Movement. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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