Luther Campbell, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke explains why he deserves the Marv Albert treatment.
Two weeks ago, I was with my wife watching the Tennessee Titans play the Houston Texans when I realized the man calling the game is a voice very familiar to basketball aficionados worldwide. Turns out this past June, CBS signed longtime NBA announcer Marv Albert to do play-by-play of NFL games alongside ex-Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon. Albert's monumental comeback after a lurid scandal almost killed his career got me thinking about the lack of due process when it comes to celebrities of a darker skin tone.
Fourteen years ago, Albert was exposed as a sex freak who enjoyed dressing up in ladies' underwear and biting women during rough intercourse. Kinky Marv even welcomed another man, "an attractive airline pilot," to participate in a ménage à trois, according to the testimony of Albert's longtime lover Vanessa Perhach. In 1997, Perhach accused Albert of sodomizing her in a hotel room in Virginia. He was criminally charged and swiftly lost his gig on the Peacock Network.
But two years later, after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and the sodomy charge was dropped, Albert was back doing his NBA thing for NBC. When TNT took over some pro-basketball telecasts, the cable network hired Albert. Now he's on CBS, where he can earn some bread while the NBA season is sidelined because of the lockout.
No one questions Albert's moral character anymore. Yet whenever a guy like me does or says something in the media, people want to dredge up cases I beat 25 years ago. Even though I was exonerated when I had my day in court, I'm still guilty in the court of public opinion. Let's not forget that earlier this year, some jerk who writes for the Miami Herald rehashed all of my arrests because I endorsed Julio Robaina instead of Carlos Gimenez for county mayor.
If I had been caught up in Albert's mess, national talking heads like Nancy Grace and Bill O'Reilly would have had a field day with me. Those two are entertainers who get away with masquerading as newscasters. As a result, people take them seriously and believe what they say is the absolute truth. I don't think the Founding Fathers envisioned the fourth estate having the right to present bullshit as fact. Yet it goes on every day in the mainstream media.
There should be a law that protects people who are vindicated after they have been charged with a crime or sued in civil court. If the charges are dismissed or you are not found guilty, it should be illegal for anybody to use that incident against you, whether it is to deny you a job or write a hit piece about you.