Party Poopers and Proud of It!
I hope New Times is proud of itself for single-handedly being responsible for the demise of the Miami High School athletic program and possibly costing a number of student athletes college scholarships because of Robert Andrew Powell's articles (August 20, August 13, July 2, June 18, May 21, March 26, March 5). The commissioner of the Florida High School Activities Association (FHSAA), Ron Davis, wasn't even thinking about investigating until a copy of "Dream Team" (March 5) appeared on his desk.
So New Times should give itself a hand because it is responsible for four Miami High athletes being suspended for the upcoming season. These kids did nothing wrong other than give themselves a better chance at making it to college. Now they may not make it to college. They may lose their scholarships because they were suspended or because they can't compete around the nation at the high level Miami High is accustomed to. They won't be as publicized as before.
Here is the question I pose: Can New Times actually prove that Miami High recruited? New Times never actually proved that the school recruited. To recruit is to go and seek out. Miami High doesn't seek out its athletes or try to pry them from other schools. Why would they need to? They have a magnificent reputation, particularly in basketball, so they wouldn't need to go seek out players as New Times stated.
Students come to Miami High with the hope of helping their own future. The students use Miami High as much as Miami High uses them. I know that if I had been a basketball prodigy when I was in high school, Miami High would have been the first place I would have gone to enhance my abilities and to showcase my talent to the rest of the nation.
All coach Frank Martin and his staff did was help make teenagers better athletes and help them have a future by providing them with housing. If you want to find Martin guilty of that, then go right ahead. He probably is guilty. I only wish there were more coaches like him, coaches who clearly care about their players as if they were family.
But recruit? He doesn't have to recruit.
If New Times thinks Martin recruited players, then what about those years before he was head coach? I seem to remember a period when the team had a front line of players all over six feet eight, consistent records of more than 30 wins per year, total domination over the state, annual rankings in the nation's top ten, and eight state championships in ten years. So why did Robert Andrew Powell's articles come all of a sudden? What took New Times so long to expose this basketball program? If they are supposedly recruiting now, then why have they been so good for the past twenty years?
Now Martin and the athletic director Tiger Nunez have been fired, just days after Miami High principal Victor Lopez said they wouldn't be. And Lopez won't even appeal the FHSAA decision against his own school. He shows how much he really cares about his students, particularly after being a front-row spectator at all Stingaree basketball games, thrilled that his team was so fantastic. He clearly doesn't care. All he is trying to do is protect his own butt.
The way I see it, there are a number of bitter coaches who can't stand to lose, and they would do anything to find a way to lower the level of play at Miami High. Why don't those coaches stop whining and strive to make their own teams better? I thought that was what competition was all about. You strive to beat the best.
I haven't heard anyone cry and complain about the Carol City Chiefs winning the 6A football championship two years in a row or compiling a 42-3 record over the past three years. And what if they win it again this fall? Does New Times plan on trying to compile evidence against them in an attempt to destroy their program as well?
And what about the St. Thomas Aquinas girls' soccer team? They haven't lost in six years, have won well over 100 games in a row, and have been the state champs for, like, six years in a row. Yes, St. Thomas Aquinas is a private school, but recruiting is illegal in the FHSAA, so it doesn't matter if it is a private school or a public school. Yet no article has been written trying to destroy them.
I think New Times has gotten my drift. The New Times evidence reviewed by the FHSAA was damaging to the school, to the coach (hurting his reputation greatly when he did nothing wrong), and most of all to the students, who are just trying to give themselves a chance at having a future. Can New Times fault them for that? Yet they have been suspended by the FHSAA because of the New Times articles.
Goal accomplished. New Times destroyed the future of many students as well as the reputation of a school. Congratulations.
Editor's note: All seven Miami High articles by Robert Andrew Powell are available on our Website, www.miaminewtimes.com.
Steroids: Through the Eyes of a Sophomore
Regarding "Size Matters" by Ted B. Kissell (August 13), Jason DiBiaso's assertions seem to cut both ways. He accuses author Michelangelo Signorile of being harmful to gays because "he factionalizes and divides" the community. This statement was made in regard to Signorile's concern about the expanding abuse of steroids by gays around the country, and in particular in South Florida. Signorile's concern addresses the real medical consequences, psychological implications, and criminal truths of illegal steroid use. His concerns are well grounded, as the ultimately detrimental outcome of nonmedical use of steroids is undeniable.
On the other hand, DiBiaso promotes the events of Miami Beach Hardbodies, an organization that states, "Muscle guys only.... Expect to take your shirt off to prove it. If you don't measure up, you don't get in." This statement, along with DiBiaso's own statement, prompts the question: Who is being divisive within the gay community?
I would be less judgmental if the Hardbodies participants had obtained their musculature solely via hard gym and physical work and not from steroids. These are the same gay men who openly condemn women who have face-lifts, liposuction, and breast augmentation without realizing the deep irony that their physical enhancement is equally artificial and stems from emotional need.
DiBiaso's declarations, his work as a model (code in the gay world for work as an escort), and his perspective of the gay community through the eyes of a high school sophomore (attractiveness and sexual appeal are based solely on physical attributes) lead me to believe that given the choice of sex with either DiBiaso or Signorile, I would be repulsed by DiBiaso and ecstatic over the opportunity to be intimate with the intelligent and thoughtful Signorile.
Alexander Patrick Lamb
Steroids: Smeared with His Own Audacity
It just galls me that Jason DiBiaso, a man who sponsors parties for men who fit his ideal body image, could have the audacity to say this about Michelangelo Signorile: "I think the lady doth protest too much. If someone doesn't allow you in, you find a way to demonize them in order to justify your nonparticipation. And that's essentially what [Signorile] has done. And I think his view has been very harmful to the gay community at large, because he factionalizes and divides a community that can survive only through unity. By being such a divisive element, he panders to those whose self-esteem is not what it could be or should be. And offers them a scapegoat as to why they feel the way you do."
So tell me, how unifying is it to exclude members of the community who don't fit your stereotypical image of how gay men should look? Can't DiBiaso see that he's accusing Signorile of the same attitude he displays in that statement?
Steroids: Women -- They'll Just Never Get It
Michele Sinisgalli's letter (August 20) in response to "Size Matters" does not paint a very attractive picture of the gay male culture in South Florida. She criticizes the superficial emphasis on physical appearance, which is not entirely a gay phenomenon. Her letter, in fact, is a cliched female complaint about men that applies to straight as well as gay men.
The article on steroid use focused on the gay community because there is such a large number of gay men in South Beach that the practice becomes visible. But for every stand-out body on SoBe, there are many other gay men of average build who go unnoticed. Also, not every buff bodybuilder who uses steroids in South Florida -- or the rest of the country -- is gay.
There are many men who are attracted to others and who form loving relationships not dependent on body appearance. But most men are discerning of beautiful bodies and are quite capable of being aroused by such images. It's in our nature from a distant past, and most women can understand it only academically, not viscerally, as we men do. Notice that I do not differentiate gay men from straight, for they both respond the same way toward their respective gender preference. So don't disparage gay culture for focusing on body image; in fact, it is just a male thing.
Daryl Jones and the White Man's Credibility Gap
I find it rather incredible that Jim DeFede so easily dismisses the possibility of racism in the defeat of Sen. Daryl Jones's nomination to become Secretary of the Air Force ("Only Himself to Blame," July 30). Mr. DeFede was provided with the testimony of Senator Jones, Col. Thomas Dyches, and retired Lt. Col. Jack Connelly. There was no written evidence presented. Mr. DeFede could have said there were conflicting versions but he chose instead to take the word of two white men at face value rather than give equal credibility to Senator Jones.
I do not know those other individuals. I have not seen them helping the community over the past decade, making commitments and keeping them, as I have seen Senator Jones doing. Senator Jones did not talk publicly about the impact of racism as he surmounted barrier after barrier. But we in the NAACP continually receive significant complaints about the impact of race and know that racism is alive and well.
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I am disappointed in New Times for not giving equal weight to the statements of an outstanding black man who has demonstrated his concern for, and has provided service to, both black and nonblack communities.
Bradford E. Brown, second vice president
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
DeFede's Herald Jones
Has Jim DeFede always had this hangup about the Miami Herald? He mentioned the paper eight times in "Only Himself to Blame." It was distracting to me, and possibly to him as well, since he missed a simple fact: Sen. John Warner's question to Daryl Jones was so awkward it left too much room for interpretation. To call the response a lie in that setting was wrong. If Mr. DeFede wants to keep up with the Joneses, he might try concentrating less on the Herald and more on Daryl.