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Chamique Holdsclaw Needs Our Support, Not Ridicule

By Khalid Salaam November 16, 2012, 01:21 PM EST

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One of the hardest subjects for writers to discuss is mental illness. These conditions leave no space for sarcasm or flippant editorials. In recent months we’ve learned of incidents with former Mavs guard Delonte West, Rockets rook Royce White, Celtics guard Keyon Dooling and now former Tennessee icon and WNBA All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw.

She’s currently in Atlanta police custody after an incident with a former girlfriend. Allegedly, Holdsclaw battered her ex’s car with a bat and let off a shot inside the vehicle. No one was injured, but that doesn’t take away from the seriousness of the situation. Holdsclaw is currently being held on $100,000 bond for charges that include aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and reckless conduct.

Holdsclaw suffers from depression, serious enough that she attempted suicide in 2006. There’s no easy way out for anyone battling mental illness. It’s a lifelong issue and even with medication, it’s fight that requires patience and support. Most people know this and pay the proper respect.

But in this age of online cowardice and rampant ignorance, internet comments ridiculing Holsdclaw have sprung up as the news made the rounds. I’m not even gonna say its unfortunate behavior. It’s much worse than that. It’s evil.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Those who seek to laugh and even prosper at the expense of victims of mental illness, are pretty much the scum of the Earth, and deserve whatever level of pushback doled out to them. It’s despicable.

As for Holdsclaw, we hope she’s able to find her way to normalcy and get beyond whatever issues are currently holding her down. For her sake, as well as others in her predicament. Obviously, what she did was reckless and dangerous. Nobody is attempting to absolve her of her responsibilities as a considerate citizen. But mean-spirited and dismissive language in this situation is unacceptable. 

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Khalid Salaam was formerly deputy editor of The Shadow League. 

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TheShadowLeague.com, a site dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage with a cultural perspective that insightfully informs sports fans worldwide. Founded and developed by media entrepreneur Keith Clinkscales, TSL is owned by Shadow League Digital a multi-platform content creation company.