Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#414. The Jerry Joseph Story

Michael Oher. Few names can be uttered that bring more ecstasy to the mind of white people than this adopted Black individual who went on to stardom at Ole Miss and eventual National Football League (NFL) fame.

Proof for some, that nurture is a far more potent ally than nature as Michael Oher was adopted by a loving white family who swooped in to remove him from the unforgiving streets of Memphis where he was born to roam the squalid conditions afforded by his Black mother.

Left to those devices, Oher would have been blind-sided by the reality of Black indifference and neglect, but a loving white family saw him and took mercy upon this piteous teenager and adopted him. Helping Oher navigate the difficult water of academia at a prestigious white private school in Memphis, the white family paid for endless hours of tutoring so he could be eligible to play football.

At Ole Miss, the school he eventually was recruited to primarily play football for, he would undergo countless hours of tutoring just to maintain eligibility. Oher performed admirably in the classroom at Ole Miss, but lost in the excitement of this tremendous intellectual achievement is the countless hours spent in private one-on-one tutoring with him.

The opportunity costs of keeping Black athletes eligible to play college sports cannot be counted nor properly quantified or qualified. Imagine if 1/10 of the costs were spent with extra tutoring on the most capable intellectually, instead of the millions upon millions being spent to ensure that players of Oher’s incredible athletic gifts are able to muster a competitive GPA and stay eligible to play sports.

No matter. The short term gains provided by using Black labor far outweigh any long term deleterious effects to the nation and the heartwarming story of Michael Oher supplies enough evidence to warrant white families across the nation to adopt Black children from undesirable backgrounds.

Such was the case Jerry Joseph, a Black person and an immigrant from Haiti to boot. He possessed extraordinary talent when it came to basketball so Joseph was a logical choice to be groomed for a college career by a white person. Danny Wright stepped in to help the homeless and downtrodden Joseph land on his feet, as the high school player only needed a loving white home to thrive.

Sadly, this story doesn’t end with the fairy tale one provided courtesy of Michael Oher. Joseph was in actuality 22-year-old and posing as a 15-year-old so he could play basketball and relieve those glory days, courtesy of gullible white people bent on winning in sports:

Jerry Joseph's story was inspiring:

He arrived in West Texas as a 15-year-old, homeless Haitian immigrant. At 6-5 and 210 pounds, he was a big kid. What's more, he could play basketball.

Permian High School's basketball coach took Jerry into his home and treated him like family. Last season, as a sophomore, he averaged 14.2 points a game and led the Panthers into the playoffs in District 2-5A.

For a brief moment, Permian forgot football and its legacy as the Texas high school that inspired Friday Night Lights.

"I loved him like a son," said Danny Wright, the coach.

The story sounds similar to that of football player Michael Oher and The Blind Side. A nice family rescued Michael from homelessness and adopted him as a teenager. He went to college and ended up a beefy NFL lineman. Oher's story was true and the movie made him famous.

Much to Odessa's chagrin, Joseph turned out to be an impostor and a liar.

Investigators confirmed last week that his real name is Guerdwich Montimer. He is 22 and he already had graduated from a Florida high school in 2007, almost two years before he arrived in Odessa.

"I've been in public education for 18 years and not experienced anything close to this," said Roy Garcia, the Permian principal. "Why would he do it? If he wanted the chance to do high school over again, it looks like he took it here."

Montimer's life in Texas began in February 2009 when he arrived in Odessa with Jabari Caldwell. The two men told people they were half brothers. Caldwell had won a basketball scholarship to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, and the man who called himself Jerry Joseph tagged along.

The Dallas Morning News has pieced together Montimer's story from interviews, police records, federal documents and news accounts.
After arriving in Odessa, a working-class oil town of about 100,000 people, Montimer went to Permian High and asked to enroll as a student. He told officials his mother and father were dead and that he had come to the U.S. from Haiti two years ago. He had no education records or immunization papers. He said he was 15 and had no driver's license.

He did have a birth record from Haiti, however. Garcia described the document as written in the French creole dialect native to Haiti. It was embossed with the official seal of the Haitian government. It said Jerry Joseph had been born Jan. 1, 1994.

Montimer told school officials that he was sleeping on the floor of the college dormitory room where his half brother was living with another UT-Permian Basin basketball player.

After consulting with other school officials, Garcia determined that the law required Ector County ISD to enroll Montimer as a ninth-grader at Nimitz Junior High School, which feeds Permian High School.

"He was truly homeless," Garcia said.

In spring 2009, Wright got a call from the Nimitz basketball coach. You need to come watch Jerry Joseph play ball, he advised Wright.

"He was a kid with a lot of potential," Wright recalled. "He seemed quiet and humble, which meant he was coachable. I didn't have any idea at that time that he would eventually come to live with me and my family."

Then, Caldwell lost his basketball scholarship. He told Wright he would be heading back to Florida. Could Wright take care of Jerry? he asked. The answer was "yes." For years, Wright had said "yes" to taking care of stray young men and helping put them on the right path to manhood.

Later, everyone would learn that Montimer and Caldwell were not related. They were just friends from Florida.

Montimer spent the late spring and summer taking enough academic courses to qualify as a sophomore at Permian when school started in August 2009. He signed up for a challenging academic schedule full of advanced placement classes.

At the time of his arrests last week, he was had a 4.4 grade-point average on a 4-point scale because of the extra credit earned by taking AP courses, Wright said.

And he was popular with classmates.

"I just thought he was a tall 16-year-old," said John Puckett, a Permian senior. "He played it off like a normal kid in school – telling jokes and having fun.

And playing basketball.

He played point guard and power forward. The Panthers went 16-13 in the regular season and 12-6 in district play. Then, they lost to El Paso Americas in the first round of the state playoffs. When the dust settled, Jerry Joseph was named Sophomore of the Year in District 2-5A.

Now that the truth has emerged, some of his teammates say they were skeptical from the beginning. Understandably, they aren't happy about the prospect of forfeiting all of the games they won last season. The senior players are especially upset.

Rules set by the University Interscholastic League, which regulates high school sports in Texas, forbid anyone older than 18 on Sept. 1 from playing sports during that school year.

Sanctions could range from forfeiture of games in which Montimer played to suspension of the Permian basketball program. Permian might escape with no sanctions if officials prove that they "properly verified [Montimer's] eligibility based on the facts available ... exercised sufficient diligence in determining actual conditions and facts ... and previously ruled the student eligible."

Warren Clark, one of Montimer's teammates, told the Odessa American that he believed early on that Jerry's story was "way cloudy."

"We put in a lot of effort, and it really hurts," he said. "It is our senior year and we will never get another one, and it is unfortunate that it happened."

Nonetheless, Jerry's supporters had more reason to be proud of him after he became an active member of Mission Dorado Baptist Church last year. Wright attended his baptism.

"I was a very proud father at that moment," the coach said.

A proud father of a 22-year-old impostor indeed, coach. The potential of fielding a winning basketball team with an individual of dubious lineage was a high risk/reward situation that Coach Wright decided was too good to pass up. A more apt analogy of the 21st (and 20th) century fascination with sports and Black labor cannot be found then this story of the 22-year-old Haitian immigrant pretending to be a high school student, graciously accepted by the white community thanks to his basketball prowess.

And he was a good Christian boy too!:

A 22-year-old man accused of posing as a high school basketball star in West Texas was charged with sexual assault Friday after an underage girl reported having sex with him last summer when she thought he was a teenager, police said.

Guerdwich Montimer was arrested for the third time in four days, this time after a 16-year-old girl in Odessa told police and school district officials she had sex with him at a home in August when she thought he was 15-year-old Jerry Joseph, said Odessa police Cpl. Sherrie Carruth.

Officials said Montimer enrolled at a junior high school and later at Permian High School last year with a fake birth certificate from Haiti. Suspicions were raised recently after coaches at an amateur basketball tournament said they recognized Joseph as Montimer, a 2007 graduate of a Florida high school and a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti.

In movies and TV shows, actors in their 20s are routinely cast as high school students. Perhaps this is what Joseph was under the impression life was - but art - and he was engaged in an elaborate ruse with the sincere hope of earning a role in the next CW show about teenage angst?

We’ll never know. What we do know is this: white people will stop at nothing to field a competitive sports team, even using illegal Black labor in the process. The majority of the time, Black labor is utilized for four years and then discarded. Sometimes, Black labor ends up providing a provocative, heartwarming story such as Michael Oher.

Overcoming the horrible odds of emerging from the Black ghetto alive and well is one thing, but to do it with the helping hand of white charity is another story altogether.

In the book “The Blind Side”, Leigh Anne Tuohy remarks that she wishes she could help out all of the downtrodden Black youth who inhabit the inner-city of Memphis, Tennessee.

Helping out Michael Oher was one thing, but the unwanted spawn of thousands of Black mothers require the judicious application of white love that only Tuohy and her ilk can give.

No telling how many of these Black youth would pull over a “Full Jerry Joseph” on her in the process.

White people live vicariously through sports. Many would probably crawl into the fetal position if sports were suddenly no longer available to pass moments of consciousness. Black people provide a steady stream of entertainment for these lost souls, and Jerry Joseph had the talents to improve the high school he ruefully played for illegally.

Blind-sided by the truth of Joseph’s duplicity, Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes the Jerry Joseph story. Providing the antidote to the warm fuzzy feelings provided by a viewing of The Blind Side, Joseph’s tale of deceit has the potential to undermine the passage of The Michael Oher Act, which would theoretically remove all underprivileged and at-risk Black children from unsuitable homes and place them with white people.

Contrary to popular belief, white people are not evil and racist. They just believe they can provide a better home to Black children than Black parents can.


Hirsch said...

This kid could have avoided the lies and humiliation, and given sports an earnest go in America, but he would have had to go the much harder route of pugilism.

Plenty of boxers had backgrounds in other sports and made the transition at much later ages. If he'd been willing to clean and keep house in some urban gym, I'm pretty sure some Cus D'mato-like curmudgeonly old-school guy would have put him through his paces and made him the next Tyson. He was from an impoverished country and was thus probably both figuratively and literally hungry, and more importantly, as the post pointed out, he was coach-able, exactly the kind of malleable prospect trainers are looking for. "I find a spark and I feed it, and it becomes a flame. Then it becomes a roaring blaze."

Then he could become a millionaire, get a rape charge or two, eat his opponent's ear...well, I guess he doesn't have to follow the Tyson plan to a "T," but it would almost be worth it to get a funny bit part in a movie like the hangover.

What the hell were we talking about again? I'm in the middle of exam week.

Phalluster said...

i'm not sure a boxing career would have satiated his appetite for 16 year old pussy. i can't help but wonder if this pussy in question belonged to a white girl.

Anonymous said...

Is Danny Wright white? He has a mighty deep tan.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

No, he's not. Did I insinuate in the article that he was in the article?

My bad if I did. I read over it again and don't see any mention of it.

Silent Running said...

He's from Haiti, so his whores had better get an HIV test, asap.

Anonymous said...

"Danny Wright stepped in to help the homeless and downtrodden Joseph land on his feet, as the high school player only needed a loving white home to thrive."

This sounds like he's white.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Danny Wright is indeed Black and I did insinuate it was a white family that took him in. I will amend my mistake.

I apologize to Mr. Wright and his family for this gross oversight.

The whole "The Blind Side" story that most of the stories I read regarding Joseph threw me for a loop.

Thanks for pointing that out, and I apologize again.

Phalluster said...

you know what? i retract my comment. i don't subscribe to the feminist theory that adulthood begins on your 18th birthday. i hope JJ enjoyed his sexual conquests - i would do the same in his situation.