In this week’s edition of Heroes and Zeros, the top spot goes to a sports commentator who doesn’t hold back about what he believes and the loser is a comedian whose comments about trans women are just wrong.

Hero – Shannon Sharpe

I like this guy. I don’t know much about his past or what he did during his time in the NFL, but Shannon Sharpe is this week’s hero because he is not afraid to call out his fellow black man (or any man for that matter) on their spinning bullshit concerning the reasons Colin Kaepernick is not signed to an NFL team.

This is what we need more of because in today’s racial climate, too many black men who have “made it” are not speaking up the way they should about the state of the black community in America. If they aren’t dodging questions about police brutality or ignoring the conversation altogether, they are putting in their two cents that only serves as a sort of black speaking head to co-sign white folks’ nonsense. I am talking to you, Ray Lewis!

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Shannon Sharpe is sharp. He has gone toe to toe with athletes who are more concerned about their image and what the higher ups will say than the truth and what’s right. Again, I am looking in your direction Ray Lewis. Sharpe recently had words with the former Baltimore Raven linebacker and called him out for agreeing with the Ravens’ owners (and racist fans) concerning their pass on Colin Kaepernick. Sharpe saw right through his façade and relentlessly did not hold back in taking him to task for Lewis pretty much saying Kaepernick just isn’t good enough, and that’s the reason he is not playing for a team. Those who have been following the story know that it’s so much more than that.

Sharpe is a loud proponent for athletes using their influence to speak up for social injustices of minorities, and I am here for it. I mean what good are the money, fame, and position if you don’t use some of what you’ve amassed for the betterment of the people who made you what you are? But it’s not only other black men that Sharpe has no issue setting straight about Kaepernick or anything else. From ass hats like Clay Travis (yeah I had to Google him too) and others, Sharpe uses his voice to bring attention to race as it pertains to professional sports and why it matters in the grand scheme of things.

For going there without a care, Shannon Sharpe is this week’s hero.

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Zero – Lil Duval

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about transgender issues. In fact, topics related to trans individuals have been trending immensely starting with the attack from Donald Trump’s “ban” on transgenders in the military. Riding the wave and giving his two cents, this week’s zero is a comedian named Lil Duval for his comments recently during an appearance on the radio show The Breakfast Club in which he joked about murdering trans women.

His statements actually bring up a debate that has been waging about the responsibility of those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery to let their sexual partners know. While I do not agree with Duval’s or any person’s assessment that killing an individual is the proper response in the event they unknowingly sleep with a trans person, I do believe ultimately, revealing that aspect of who they are is only fair. There are too many factors that come into play when seeking a romantic relationship with another person like the ability of a woman to carry a baby, etc. Taking important aspects like that into consideration, a conversation should be had. That aside, when it comes down to it, joking about taking someone’s life because they didn’t reveal that bit of info before a sexual encounter is wrong, and it’s dangerous.

The narrative surrounding trans people in America is an ever-changing one. I am a firm believer that people should accept themselves for who they are, despite what society tells them, and do whatever they feel will make them happy. For a person who is overweight, if that means having weight-loss surgery, then do you boo. And the same rings true for those who opt for gender reassignment. No one should ever be made to feel that their life is in danger because of the choices they make that bares no harm to others.

Duval caught a lot of heat because of his comments and rightfully so. When you are in the spotlight (whether a little or a lot) and make statements like, “She dying I can’t deal with that… Imma be so mad I’m probably gonna want to kill them,” people are going to feel a certain way about it. Furthermore, it subconsciously gives direction to others about how to respond to those kinds of situations.

For his statements about killing a trans woman in the event he unknowingly slept with one, Lil Duval is a zero.

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