Freedom

Photo by Sean O’Keefe/Pride of Army Basketball and Taymil Road.

The other day Jason Whitlock, the Fox Sports columnist, did a fascinating chat with Deadspin readers. Really, it’s an excellent read. Someone asked about my takes on him which, I’ve gotta admit, run hot-cold-hot-cold. Here’s the exchange …

I actually think it’s a pretty strong answer. I’m sure there’s a part of Jason that regrets the life he’s chosen; the loneliness that can come without a wife, without kids. That’s not to say marriage and parenthood is for everyone—it’s certainly not, and I can 100 percent understand that.

However, there’s one area where I think (actually, know) Jason is off. When he writes, “A lot of these guys wish they had my freedom. And by that, they fancy themselves as transparent and willing to deal with the fallout from transparency but they can’t handle it. I don’t blame them. They got wives, kids and real shit to deal with.” Honestly, I can’t think of one minute (one second) where I wish I had Jason’s “freedom.” Hell, I had “freedom” (I’m using quotes, because the meaning of freedom, in this context, means not having a nuclear family) for many years, and here’s what I recall:

• 1,287 shit dates.

• 454 nights of watching a movie at home alone.

• Worrying only about me and my happiness.

I love the idea of, say, jumping on a plane and backpacking Italy. That joy, however, would last roughly 2 1/2 days. Then I’d wanna hear my son blather on about the snowball fight he had at school; I’d wanna watch my daughter play the piano; I’d wanna turn on the electric blanket and hang with the wife. “Freedom” can mean “liberty sans the burden of wife and children.” It can also mean “lonely existence where one only focuses on himself.” (For the record, I’m not slamming Jason as one who only focuses on himself. For all I know, he calls his parents six times per day).

Maybe I’m not a rebel. Actually, I’m quite certain I’m not a rebel.

But I probably never was one to begin with.

5 thoughts on “Freedom”

  1. Everyone of the Founders was married. Dr. King was married. So was Malcolm X. So was Ali, several times. So were most of the leaders of the Easter Rising. So was Nelson Mandela. And, to get closer to the journalistic point, so were William Lloyd Garrison, Ida Tarbell, I.F. Stone, and Mike Royko. Generally, if you have to tell the world what as rebel you are, you’re pretty much not.

  2. I think he’s referring to the freedom of not having to worry about losing one’s job. Those who are married with kids tend to worry about supporting their family rather than being single and having no financial responsibilities . That gives him the freedom to say whatever he wants.

  3. “I ‘actually’ think that’s a pretty strong answer.” Anytime someone writes or tells me that’s “actually” a good point, my condescension alert goes off.
    Ok, Pearlman, what’s the real story between you and Whitlock? There’s obviously some kind of professional pissing contest going on here. What does this stem from? What’s the real story here?

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