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Derrick: About that "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt of yours

By Harold Witkov
web posted December 15, 2014

Dear Mr. Rose:

Derrick RoseI have been living in the Chicagoland area all my life, and I am a long-time Bulls fan. However, I am not writing to you today about basketball. It's about your "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt.

Back when I was in school, I studied a good amount of Shakespeare. I still read his works and attend his plays from time to time. Amongst Shakespeare's many inspirational messages, I learned clothes often make a statement about the man who wears them, and there is something not quite right about publically wearing one's heart on one's sleeve.

To be sure, I do not doubt you have the best of intentions. But as far as your "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt is concerned, I think it would have been better had you taken a page or two out of Mr. Shakespeare.

Mr. Rose, I've been noticing that a number of your fellow NBA players have been following your lead. Like you, they have taken Eric Garner's last words, and are making a political statement out of them for all to see.

Now that you have started this shirt mania, I don't think you should let it end with the "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt. I have a much higher calling for you. I'd like to see you start donning quotation shirts that exemplify the innermost depths of the human soul.

You see, my thinking is why quote Eric Garner, when you can instead utilize the works of great philosophers like Socrates, Descartes, and Voltaire? What a different kind of role model you could become if you would wear T-shirts that proclaimed: "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living," "A State Is Better Governed Which Has Few Laws"and, "Opinion Has Caused More Trouble Than Plagues." And while you are at it, I would not be against you wearing a "Love The Lord With All Your Heart And All Your Soul" T-shirt, either.

Mr. Rose, about this shirt thing you started the other day. It reminds me of the first time Moses employed his staff at the feet of mighty Pharaoh. It didn't change any minds, did it? That was because Moses wasn't thinking big enough his first bout with ruler of Egypt. Like Moses, you too have been thinking small. So, my advice to you is, the next time you wear your heart on your shirt, use your power to influence others wisely, and think bigger, much bigger. ESR

Harold Witkov is an occasional contributor to Enter Stage Right. © 2014 Harold Witkov






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