Professional athletes are often young millionaires that find themselves attracted to the bling-bling life that urban centers offer them. Commonly, when professional athletes are in the bad news that’s not directly related to sports scores, it has something to do with a visit they had to a local club or bar. Cleanthony Early, a forward for the New York Knicks, is one such athlete now in the news for some kind of club-related mishap. He’s certainly not alone in that regard when other, even less recent news, is looked at.
For those that don’t know, Early “was shot in the leg during a robbery after leaving a Queens strip club Wednesday” morning (ABC7NY). According to the same source, the robbers wanted his jewelry and the gold caps on his teeth. He was also shot in the kneecap and, although no one is really saying it right now when I picture that I can’t help but think that it might be career ending for him at the age of 24. However, witnesses that saw Early shortly after the robbery didn’t think he was badly injured (NYPost.com; updates pending).
Clubs are an atmosphere where it can be hard to avoid trouble if you have any kind of attention coming your way. They’re littered with criminals, low-lifes, and chest-beaters so, if you stand out because your famous or because you have a good-looking woman with you, you can rest assured that someone lacking in character will be paying attention you.
I have a liberal and tolerant attitude toward things like drinking and visiting establishments like strip clubs. That said, I don’t advise doing either for anyone, and there’s no contradiction there so long as the reader understands that tolerating doesn’t mean condoning. The mixture of immaturity, drugs, profit motive, alcohol, animosity caused by sexual competition, and a sort of arms race to see who is the coolest or baddest often means that SOMETHING goes wrong for club patrons either while partying or shortly afterwards.
Early reports regarding Early don’t sound like he was doing anything wrong unless we consider going to a strip club inherently wrong – which I don’t. He clearly sounds like a victim with the information that is presently available. However, drama found him after visiting a club just the same, and I won’t be surprised to learn that his desire to showcase himself as over the top, with expensive jewelry and capped teeth, had something to do with it.
If you are planning on going out to a club all bling-bling then not only do you risk attracting attention from thieves, as fellow Knick Derrick Williams allegedly did earlier this month, but you also risk affronting primitive males – maybe even making them jealous. When I read early reports, the violence against Early seems pointless in terms of aiding the robbery, and I wonder if it was done simply in some kind of spite as opposed to being done to facilitate the robbery.
Looking at other news stories, Jahlil Okafor didn’t really do anything wrong when he went to a club in Boston in late November (except for entering an establishment underage). However, drama still found him as he got involved in an altercation upon leaving. Okafor was recognized, he was ridiculed for playing with the then-winless Philadelphia 76ers, and it all culminated into mild violence.
Patrick Kane is on the list of athletes who have had some kind of drama find them after visiting a club. Kane, the star of the Chicago Blackhawks, took a woman home from a downtown Buffalo nightclub during the off-season – another act which in itself is not inherently wrong. But rape allegations followed ones that never lead to a prosecution but caused Kane drama all the same.
Evander Kane, who plays for the Buffalo Sabres, entered the news this week following, you guessed it, a trip to the bar. The news regarding Evander is still very much a developing story with implications and allegations that aren’t clear. However, that drama all too often finds you somehow and in some way after you visit a nightclub or bar should be clear by now.
What I also want to make clear is the fact that people that visit clubs do not have to do anything morally wrong to cause themselves drama. Dressing up and going out is in itself banal. But clubs are environments that are inherently unsafe, because of the social scene. For all of us, they offer some danger. But for athletes and famous people, they are especially dangerous because these people will always attract attention – and not the kind they necessarily want.