Antonio Tarver: Strange Fruit

By Robert Ecksel on March 2, 2014
Antonio Tarver: Strange Fruit
He wasn't speeding. His tail light wasn't out. He presumably wasn't Driving While Black.

Before we drag out the tar and feathers, before we find a poplar tree to hang him high, let’s take a collective deep breath…

Trouble comes in many forms, as former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver is discovering.

Despite being smart, accomplished, and eloquent, Tarver has gotten into more than his fair share of trouble in recent years.

Starting with testing positive for PEDs after his fight with Lateef “I fuck he up” Kayode in 2012, which led to his dismissal from Showtime, his being canned from the Olympics, and a year-long suspension from the Buster Brown of sports, the latest bit of trouble happened in the fighter-friendly state of Florida where Tarver lives.

Tarver, 45, was arrested shortly before midnight on Saturday by the Highway Patrol in Pinellas County. He wasn’t speeding. His tail light wasn’t out. He presumably wasn’t DWB (Driving While Black).

Tarver was taken into custody on a warrant issued by authorities in Nevada, another fighter-friendly state. The warrant alleges he jumped bail and is currently being held without bond.

The Nevada charges stem from check kiting, or writing bad checks.

Before we drag out the tar and feathers, before we find a poplar tree to hang him high, let’s take a collective deep breath and acknowledge that none of us are saints. This is boxing, after all, not a Benedictine monastery.

None of us is perfect. We’ve all screwed up to varying degrees. We’ve all made mistakes. Show me a man who never made a mistake and I’ll show you man still stuck in his mother’s uterus.

Schadenfreude is all well and good, especially in Germany in 1938, but seems out of place in the good old US of A.

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  1. Eric 03:37pm, 03/04/2014

    Hmmmm, thanks for the information Steve. I must admit I’d never heard of this poem and/or song or the communist Abel Meeropol. At least I was right about the Marxist part. teehee. Wonder if the late Mr. Meeropol would feel the pain of all those victims of “The Knockout Game” or the Christian-Newsom murders? Mr. Meeropol, seems to be like all the other so-called anti-racist crusaders out there, they are never around when Whites are the victims of racism. A TRUE “anti-racist” would fight all sorts of “racism,” but people like the late Mr. Meeropol don’t make too much noise about nonwhite racism EVER.  I’ve no idea of the writer’s intentions but after learning of the poem and song, it is indeed highly peculiar. Mr. Meeropol was probably just another usual supect of race baiters from that time period. Never heard of the guy, so once again thank you for the info.

  2. raxman 02:07pm, 03/04/2014

    pete the sneak - well then I bet its a global thing. yeah the name cowards punch seems apt doesn’t it. in fact it would be good if that term went global as well

  3. Ester 10:17am, 03/04/2014

    Yeah, but how many times can he screw up his career?  What is going on with this constant self-defeating behavior?  I’m not judging him, my heart actually hurts for him.  He seems to overflow with confidence, but actually I think he’s quite fearful and insecure, and that’s why he continuously, albeit subconsciously shoots himself in the foot.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:14am, 03/04/2014

    Chris Matthews!.....we know it’s really you with your progressive, knee jerk racist accusations!  Off to earn a few thousand dollars at MSNBC….good on you….oh by the way, we know you didn’t read the article….couldn’t get past the title and Tarver’s mug shot could you?

  5. Steve 07:33am, 03/04/2014

    I didn’t make it about racism, the author did when brought up hanging Tarver. Specifically, by referencing Strange Fruit, a poem written by Abel Meeropol and sang by Billie Holiday, which is about lynching blacks and racism. So, it was no “simple figure of speech” and I called him on it.

    Your tactic of trying to divert from the subject matter by tossing out random facts and statistics about interracial rape is not a substitute for intellectual discourse or argument. It’s just a tactic to disguise a lack of grasping the subject matter.

    And your “simple figure of speech” about having to “slave for a dollar” didn’t go unnoticed. Ordinarily, it would be just a figure of speech, but given the conversation, I know it was an attempt to get under my skin. It doesn’t bother me, I just want you to know, that I recognize it for what it is.

    Now that I have shown the spotlight on this article and it’s defender, my work is done. Time to go earn a few thousand dollars.

  6. Pete The Sneak 06:03am, 03/04/2014

    raxman, the same is happening here in the States… Here they’ve termed it ‘KNOCKOUT,’ but I seem to prefer the Aussie version of it ‘Cowards Punch,’, cause that’s what it is…  Right here in NYC, these punk ass Mofo’s are mostly preying on seniors in particular to play this sick effing game…The lowest of the low, man…I tip my hat to Danny Greene for taking a public stand on this shite…Peace.

  7. Eric 02:59am, 03/04/2014

    “Interracial rape has nothing to do with the topic at hand,” it didn’t until you decided to make a race issue out of simple figure of speech. In 2005 according to the United States Department of Justice and their statistics on interracial rape and/or sexual assault, there were 37,460 Black on White rapes and/or sexual assaults in the United States. In that same year there were less than 10 White on Black rapes and/or sexual assaults. The figure is given as less than 10 because anything less than 10 doesn’t show up on the data base. There very well could have been not one single case of White on Black rape that year, while at least 100 Black on White rapes and/or sexual assaults occured daily. In one year, there were 10 times more INNOCENT white victims Black on White rapes than there were Blacks that were hung from the years from 1882 to 1968. Thanks for the discussion but I got to go slave for a dollar now.

  8. Steve 07:04pm, 03/03/2014

    Your argument defies logic. Interracial rape has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    I highly doubt the “motivations” for lynching whites was the same “motivations” for lynching blacks. 

    Your perception is disturbingly skewed. Lynching by definition is carried out by a mob and is unlawful. Therefore, those who are lynched, black or white, haven’t been found “guilty” of anything. Accused and convicted without due process or justice is more like it. Which is what makes it so vile.

  9. Eric 06:51pm, 03/03/2014

    Interracial rape stats should be brought up everytime someone cites past injustices of “lynching.” We seem to live in some sort of Marxist manufactured fuedalism, where there are lords and serfs. The “lords” aren’t held accountable for wrongful behavior and the “serfs” are made to live by a different standard altogether. No one or no race has the market on evil or bad behavior, I just like to hold everyone equally accountable. Also of those lynched whether white or black, how many were found guilty of crimes like rape, murder, etc. Equality for all and special privileges for none.

  10. Steve 06:37pm, 03/03/2014

    Considering the history of lynching black men in this country, the subject of hanging a black man in not one to be taken lightly. Particularly for an infraction of kiting a check(s).

    I don’t understand how the author could even fathom to think it’s a subject to be joked about. Castigation is par for the course considering his “celebrity” stature. To suggest anyone, other than those who Tarver may owe money, would want to hang him is ridiculous and reckless journalism. 

    What does interracial rape have to do with any of this?

  11. Eric 06:17pm, 03/03/2014

    I think the author used just a random figure of speech. Whether it was a black man, a white man, or a yellow man, what difference does it make? No different than saying or writing something like, “before we stone him to death.” According to the Tuskeegee Institute there were 3,446 Blacks lynched between 1882 and 1968, and in that same time period there were 1,297 Whites lynched. If you really want to see something shocking then look at the interracial rape statistics in the United States from 1960 to present.

  12. raxman 06:13pm, 03/03/2014

    ted the bull - Green isn’t necessarily gone. I heard him speak the other day and he said ‘if’ he never fights again. Green is fronting a public campaign against what is known as the “coward punch” - I’m sure if you google it you’ll find the tv spots online. over the last few years in oz there has been numerous instances of young guys sucker punching other young guys for little or no reason and with no warning - this has resulted in loads of comas, brain damage, and deaths - of course its not the punch but the head hitting the ground that causes the problem. for a while I thought it couldn’t be a new phenomena but instead was just the headline of the moment for the media. but now I’m pretty sure its because so many people on this crystal meth. anyway Danny Green not gone. and as high profile here as ever

  13. Steve 03:43pm, 03/03/2014

    Ummmm, did the author just allude to hanging a black man from a tree?

  14. Eric 01:20pm, 03/03/2014

    Tarver dinnit do nuffin’.

  15. NYIrish 12:55pm, 03/03/2014

    Nobody looks good in a mugshot drunk or sober, guilty or not. He does have some ‘splainin’ to do though.

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:17am, 03/03/2014

    Ted Sares-God bless your heart…which reminds me…..there is a cinnamon roll here and I’m going to eat it!

  17. Ted 09:14am, 03/03/2014

    Johnson has hit hard times, Tarver has hit hard times, Lebedev is no longer a major factor, Green is gone. But Roy is still around and still making money.

    There is an article here and I am going to write it.

  18. Joe 07:48am, 03/03/2014

    Hopefully the Magic Man can work this one out.

  19. Jim Crue 07:18am, 03/03/2014

    Awful about Tarver. One of the happiest days of my long career of watching boxing was when Tarver KO’d china chin overrated Roy Jones.

    I hope he can turn his life around.

  20. Bob 02:58am, 03/03/2014

    Tarver’s talent was limitless, both in the ring and behind the mike.  From his earliest days, in the 1996 Olympics, he showed himself to be his own worst enemy. I’m not casting stones, and I wish him well, but hope he can rebound and get his life together.

  21. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:13pm, 03/02/2014

    Robert Ecksel-Greatest line ever spoken at center ring after the instructions were given: “Any excuses tonight, Roy?”.....in that moment under those conditions Tarver showed his true colors and if I were the judge in his case, that alone would influence me to suspend the sentence and grant probation….but that’s just me.

  22. Eric 06:05pm, 03/02/2014

    Schadenfreude = American media of today. Judging by Tarver’s mugshot he was pulled over for DWI instead of DWB. The guy looks totally wasted.

  23. Pete The Sneak 04:21pm, 03/02/2014

    Never been a big fan of Tarver’s, however that comes only from a boxing perspective as I’ve never met the man personally. He always came off as an intelligent and well spoken individual in his boxing telecasts, so yeah it’s definitely a bit surprising to read about his ‘alleged check kiting’ charges. Has the man truly fallen that far? Not judging, just saying. This is a man who made some damn good money over the years, so it certainly is surprising to see that this arrest pertains to this type offense…But hey, Shite happens. Good luck Antonio…Peace.

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