Maybe the woman just didn’t like the Washington Wizards, but Etan Thomas took to Facebook and shames a woman on a crowded train who told him the seat next to her was taken, according to an article by The Washington Post.
Thomas said he took the next available seat but noticed the woman allowed a white man to sit there just a couple of minutes later. Thomas said he heard the man ask her if the seat was taken and she told him it wasn’t and moved her things to allow him to sit down. Thomas felt he had to confront the woman and call her out on the obvious slight.
“Ummmmm did you just not want ME to sit next to you? Were you scared? Not comfortable with a Black Man sitting next to you?”
Thomas posted the incident on his Facebook page and said that when he confronted her she said “Don’t pull the race card stuff with me, I dated a Black guy in college.” Thomas noted the guy (who was a nice guy according to Thomas) offered to get up and Thomas then said “No need, I’mma [sic] just take this pic and make a Facebook post about it.”
Thomas said the woman got upset that he took her picture without her consent and said she was going to talk to the conductor about it. The conductor comes to talk to Thomas and proceeds to talk about how much he loved what Thomas was doing in the community and that he was a fan of the Wizards and that the Knicks “sure could use you.” Thomas asked the woman if she wanted to ask the conductor anything and said she just rolled her eyes. Then Thomas posted the picture on his Facebook page in order to shame her. Again, maybe the woman just didn’t like basketball players to sit beside her on the train…or maybe it was something more.
The Facebook post has gone viral with over 33,000 shares and over 4,000 comments, most of which were condemning the woman for her behavior. The WP article said that Thomas is not shy when it comes to sharing his opinion, stating that he has been outspoken on such issues as the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.
As a father of three children, Thomas has spoken about being a responsible father and even wrote a book called Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge. The book contains essays from other high-profile dads such as athletes, actors, politicians and poets. Thomas says the book, which came out in 2012, has started a “fatherhood movement.” Thomas participates in panel discussions and town-hall meetings at schools, churches and Rikers Island, New York’s main jail center.
More than an Athlete: Poems by Etan Thomas - by Etan Thomas - Haymarket Books. http://t.co/OLc1KzaCzi— New Poetry Books (@poetry_book) February 27, 2013
An essay Thomas wrote that was posted in the WP in 2005 outlines the thoughts of Thomas on being a black man and most certainly influenced his reason to shame the woman on the train when she didn’t allow him to sit next to her. Entitled “Courting More Than Just Basketball,” Thomas talks about how he is more than just a basketball player and that people don’t realize he also writes poetry. Thomas has written a poetry book, “More Than an Athlete,” which helped him express his thoughts on how he is perceived as a black man. He calls out people in that article too.
“People are always blown away by the idea that I write poetry, and I ask them why? Because I’m a 6-10, 260-pound black man, I can’t have an interest beyond the field of athletics? Or, after someone hears me recite one of my poems or hears a speech, I am graced with the words, ‘You speak so well,’ as if I’m supposed to take that as a compliment. Now, if they tell me they enjoyed my poem or they agree with my point of view, that’s a compliment.”
Do you think Thomas was right to call out and shame the woman on the train? Please feel free to post your thoughts below.
[Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images]