JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Gregory R. Ball: State Senator & Racist Slime

So back when some guy named Greg Ball was running for New York State Senate, I paid close attention. Not only was the man shooting for the spot that represents my ol’ home turf of Putnam County, but he was a combative, vindictive, racist, asshole pig of the first degree. There’s no better example than the Ball advertisement that appears beneath this sentence, which depicts people who look like they could possibly maybe perhaps be illegal immigrants as, factually, illegal immigrants:

Seriously, what sort of serious-minded politician runs on illegal immigration by taking video of Hispanic-looking men—without actually knowing whether they’re illegal? Answer: Greg Ball.

Alas, Putnam County being Putnam County (conservative, closed-minded, oft-bigoted), Ball won. And now—lucky New York!—he is heading a committee in charge with studying how vulnerable the Big Apple is to another act of terror, a la 9.11.

The official hearing was held on Friday in Manhattan, and things were going quite smoothly until Ball-less, uh, Ball invited a woman named Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-born American who is director of the mighty Former Muslims United, to testify. Though she appears to be an expert on, eh, nothing in particular, Darwish is, it seems, a former Muslim. Hence, Ball was thrilled to have her slam the religion, noting that, “[The Muslims] don’t leave your mind to think for itself. You’re supposed to hate Jews. You’re supposed to hate America. You’re supposed to hate Western culture.” (Ironically, one could fill replace many of the words in the preceeding quote and describe Ball’s 2011 America—”You’re supposed to hate Muslims. You’re supposed to hate Egypt and Palestinians. You’re supposed to hate …”)

When a Democratic senator, Eric Adams from Brooklyn, rightly noted that this was all a bunch of racist, xenophobic bullshit, Ball—a bully’s bully—lashed out. “I’m glad that nobody is between those TV cameras and you,” he said, “because that’s the most dangerous place in New York City right now.”

There are jerks. There are bigger jerks.

There is Ball. The king of jerks.