Friday, May 11, 2007

Newble and Darfur

I rip on Ira Newble quite a bit on this blog. Some of it is justified (the Cavs overpaid) and some of it isn't (cheap jokes about Ira Newble are fun). But I'm gonna give credit where credit is due, Newble is trying to raise awareness (and pressure China) on Darfur:

Newble has started collecting signatures from teammates and from other players in the NBA and will present an open letter in a few weeks to the Chinese Government and to the president of the International Olympic Committee to protest China's role in the Sudan. The letter will also be posted on

"It's a protest to wake people up," Newble said. "China has the 2008 Olympics and that's an event that will have the attention of the world. It'll be known that many NBA players are expressing their concern about this issue. China has a large NBA fan base. This will definitely get their attention."

Newble would not reveal names, but he said many of his teammates have either signed the letter or they are undergoing further study before making a commitment to the protest. Newble also said this is not a boycott of the Olympics and the protest is not sanctioned by the NBA.

"I don't have a specific number of signatures," Newble said. "Any signature from an NBA player will make a difference. Obviously, the more All-Stars that sign will have a greater impact. But I'm just trying to get as many signatures as I can and bring attention to the travesty going on in Darfur and hopefully change China's current policy."

The protest is directed at China because the Chinese government is the chief buyer of Sudanese oil and the Sudanese government uses proceeds from those sales to fund weapons (some manufactured by China) for the Janjaweed militia. China has used its veto power on the U.N. Security Council to stop efforts by the U.S. to introduce peacekeepers to protect the civilians.

Newble seems like one of the more socially conscious players (Branson Wright often goes to him for current event quotes) and this is definitely a good thing.

There really isn't much activism or social awareness in professional sports and I applaud Newble for speaking out (speaking of athletes with opinions, here's an interview with Charles Barkley).

I really wonder if Newble's gotten LeBron to sign the petition (as LeBron comes from Michael Jordan school of not pissing anyone off- though it's not exactly risky to come out against genocide, angering China when you want to be a "global icon" by the Olympics is a different matter).

[Update] Welcome True Hoop-ers! Come back and visit


Anonymous said...

Ben,I am Ira's and have always been very proud of that;just as I am of Eric Snow and most of my clients;past and perhaps future.I commend you greatly for bringing this up..The Group that Ira and I have been working with has been working on Steven Spielberg because of his role in the 2008 games as an art advisor.Mr.Spielberg took the first proper course of action you may be aware. I consider Ira to be the Steven Spielberg of the NBA at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Did not mean to be anonymous,just couldn't figure out quickly how to send one of these mesages because I never cared enough to send one before.
By the way you couln't be more off on Ira's talent.
He is curretly a 10th man on a very deep team,has started in this League and is a rotation player.Along with Snow he is the toughest guy on the team.
Thanks,Steve Kauffman

Kid Cleveland said...

Its a great cause for one of the most irreprehensable displays if humanity since WWII. This shouldn't be taken any lighter then the attempted genocide of the Armenians or the Jews earlier in the last century.

On a lighter note, w/o Ira's picture on Clear Choice's website, I wouldn't have chosen them for my Lasik last year. Yes, I can still see.

Anonymous said...

It was late last night when i posted;it is 4:30 am pst and I am heading to Jersey..screwed up;meant to indicate I am Ira's agent and have always felt he(and his classy family) are people of great depth and character.Ira probably understands more about current events and the World we live in than half the people we elect to Congress.If Bush had Ira's brains and code of conduct we would be living in a far better world. Go Cavs;sometimes can't root.but have no clients on New Jersey

Ben said...

Steve, thanks for commenting, its really nice to hear. Like I said in the post, I've been noticing that Branson Wright almost always goes to Ira when he wants a current event or political quote.

This is something that I'd wish more athletes would do and like I said, I commend Ira for it. Also, this year he hasn't gotten much PT, but he has performed when he's gotten the time (he basically won that Milwaukee game).

Anyways, thanks for reading and commenting. I glad Ira is speaking out on this and I'd be interested in hearing more from him on this and other issues.

Ben Q. Rock said...

LeBron James' top priority in two words: Global icon

Ira Newble's top priority in two words: Save Darfur

Thanks for the insight. It's good to know that not all NBA players are self-absorbed.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that Lebron is not signing the letter because he is trying to push shoe sales in China and doesn't want to jeopardize that. I call for a boycott until he pulls his head out of his ass.

Anonymous said...


Do you not watch the news? Do you not listen to the radio? There is absolutely no excuse to not know about Darfur! You can go to You can Google. Young man, to say you don't know enough about the situation is only an excuse. Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

Newble and his teammates are to be highly commended for their letter to China on the genocide going on in Darfur. I would hope that many more of our athletes would take a similar stand. David Stern is to be highly commended for his support of Newble and his teammates. The National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned About Darfur is an organization in New York City that is working to bring the genocide to a complete halt. The action of Newble and his teammates adds great meaning to lur efforts.
Rev. C. Herbert Oliver
341 New York Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11213.

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