The column extolled Red's virtues as a dynasty builder and a coach who focused on the team above the individual, and most notably, being the first coach to start an all black starting line in 1964. As Cullen writes; "Red made the issue of race relevant by treating people's race as irrelevant when judging them." I am not a basketball fan but the column stuck with me.
And it came back to me today when I read this Opinion in this morning's Globe. In it, Tripp Jones, using the most faulty of logic, tells Hillary Clinton supporters (such as himself) that it's time to back Barack Obama. His reasoning is that the race between the two Democratic contenders has become so racially contentious (in large part as a result of the words of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.) that the only way to right the course is to give the nomination to Obama.
So, what we're saying is that because a racial divide still exists in the country, we should nominate a black man largely because he is black? Huh? Jones posits that "Our support would send a powerful message that the United States is headed in a new direction - on race relations, certainly, but perhaps most importantly, on what it means to be an American." I disagree. This isn't a new direction or a new idea. It's called reparations and it repairs none of the racial divide.
I am a Clinton supporter. I'm not in love with her and I've previously voiced my opinion that I do think she has an agenda. The reason I'm voting for her is not in whole because she's a woman. It's because I think she is the smartest, savviest, most-experienced contender in the race, whose opinions concerning the issues important to me align most closely with my own.
I like Obama. He's also smart and savvy but with less experience on the world stage and lacks the connections that will serve Hillary so well. If he wins the nomination, I'll vote for him in the general election. I think he would do a good job as president. But I do not think he's the strongest candidate. I would very much like to see him as Hillary's running mate. But make no mistake; my preference is for Clinton at the top of the ballot.
I think we all need to take a page from Red Auerbach's playbook: treat individuals as individuals and make the question of race irrelevant when judging. Mr. Jones, I'm not concerned with "sending a message", I'm concerned with making our country the best it can be by electing the person most capable to the office of The President of the United States.