Yesterday I couldn’t scroll through my Facebook newsfeed without seeing former high school basketball star Tony Farmer’s name pop up.
Farmer collapsed in court yesterday after hearing that he’d spend the next three years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery, assault, kidnapping and intimidation of the victim stemming from the April attack of his ex-girlfriend. Famer’s attorneys were hoping the 18-year-old standout would get probation, but the judge took Famer to task for his horrendous actions, noting that any opportunities he lost were at his own hands.
I agree. But judging by the multiple Facebook statuses wondering why the system was trying to ruin the life of yet another promising black man you would have thought Farmer was wrongfully convicted. Only…he wasn’t.
Farmer was caught on tape punching, kicking, and dragging his ex-girlfriend (a black teen) out of her apartment complex by her hair. If that wasn’t enough, after she sought an order of protection against him, he continued to send her threatening messages that he might do her more harm.
Hero? Methinks not.
While folks questioned whether or not the judge ruined Farmer’s career, I wondered what happened to our values.
Too often athletes and entertainers—of all hues—are given slaps on the wrist for behaviors the rest of us would surely spend some time in jail thinking about. And wondering how Farmer’s prison sentence will affect his future basketball career is not only shortsighted, but also telling.
Farmer’s family, teachers, coaches, and even the victim asked the judge to go easy on him, claiming that he was a good guy who just made a mistake. And while he might have been a decent young man who let his anger get the better of him, those are the breaks. If you punch, kick, and drag someone out by the hair instead of having a conversation with them, then you might as well prepare yourself for a few summers behind bars.
Although Farmer’s reaction to his prison sentence was difficult to watch, seeing him assault his ex-girlfriend was even worse. I hope he uses this time to rethink his decisions and commit to being a better man. But I have no sympathy for men who brutally attack black women, even if they are one of the top basketball prospects in the nation.