Three Stories that Ring All Too True for Far Too Many

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A break from sports; a personal story

James Winston
I was sitting in my cubicle, minding my business, when a flustered office-mate (and friend) walked in the door. He was clearly pissed off, so I took him aside and asked him what was going on. The night before he had been pulled over for speeding and was provided with a hefty fine. Two policemen had pulled him over at a gas station, and questioned him about why he was driving in the illustrious city of Kirkland, Washington. First, having driven with him in the past, he was meticulous about never speeding. Secondly, he had just moved into a condo up the road to be closer to work. Even if he lived in Siberia, versus the repugnantly boring Kirkland, he had the implicit right to drive where he wanted to.

A rising salesperson in the tech community, with a penchant for never giving up on a sale, or anything else for that matter, he spent a great deal of his time during the next few weeks fighting the fine in small claims court. The judge eventually cleared him, and he didn’t have to pay up. That said, the policemen never apologized.

I have another friend who was arrested due to mistaken identity. He happened to fit the description of someone who had committed theft. Therefore, he was roughed up by the cops, detained, and had to spend his hard-earned money and lawyer up. After a night in jail, he was cleared. He is still shaken up by the violence of the thoughtless arrest.

This man is a former All-American NCAA athlete, a consultant and engineer at major companies including the vaunted Microsoft, and more importantly, he actively donates his spare time to younger people as a coach, teacher, and advisor.

An old friend of mine, who I have known for over 20 years, is a rising producer in the world of mass-media. He has worked with musicians that include Iggy Azalea, Dom Kennedy, and has constructed commercials and campaigns for companies that include Puma, Skullcandy, and Funny or Die.

We were hanging out one day, a couple years back, and he told me he owned a gun. I point blank asked him, with some concern, why he owned a gun. Very calmly, he stated, “I am a black man living in L.A.” He went on to explain that he didn’t enjoy owning a firearm, but that he needed to protect himself and his loved ones.

I treasure the relationships I have with the three men above. They have guided me, as best they can, professionally and interpersonally. They have been fucked with by law enforcement.

They have been scarred.

It’s time we listen to the stories of our young leaders. And it’s about time we listen to each other, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and show a little respect.

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