Sunday, March 29, 2009

The NCAA responds to Dr. Boyce Watkins on Athlete Compensation

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The NCAA Explains its Behavior 

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

In its effort to impact public perception and in response to those across the nation who’ve critiqued the NCAA’s revenue generation at the expense of college athletes and their families, the league has put something on its website entitled: Behind the Blue Disk: Why Don't You Pay Student-Athletes?

I have provided the statement made by the NCAA, with a “between the lines” short response, explaining why athletes in revenue generating sports deserve to have the same rights the rest of us enjoy as Americans. The arguments used by the NCAA to justify its behavior are eerily similar to those used during slavery, in which the high profitability of the cotton trade led those in power to presume that it was also O.K. to strip other human beings of their labor rights.   Many years ago, some said that slaves were better off under the control of their masters, and that they were actually protecting African Americans by earning excessive profit from their hard work.  Like slavery’s Underground Railroad (which was illegal at the time), coaches and others are sometimes caught giving payments to players beneath the table so these athletes can help their families.  The arguments made by the NCAA can get a bit silly at times, since they are stuck with the difficult task of defending that which cannot be defended.  Even Walter Byers, former Executive Director of the NCAA said “the federal government should require deregulation of a monopoly business operated by not-for-profit institutions contracting together to achieve maximum financial returns.”  Translation:  the NCAA is earning a great deal of money by rigging the economic game in their favor and Congress has been allowing them to do it.  Byers, and many others are saying that the families of athletes deserve to make a living from sports, just like the coaches.

The NCAA’s statement (and my response) is below.  Enjoy!

Dr. Boyce Watkins

This is America! Student-athletes should get paid!
Critics often cite capitalism as a reason for paying student-athletes. But not everything that looks like capitalism is capitalism.
Higher education and intercollegiate athletics generate significant revenues, but the revenues don’t go to making a profit for owners or shareholders - or campuses or college sports, for that matter. The revenues go to providing increased opportunities for all student-athletes.

Rebuttal: As I mentioned earlier, slaveholders justified taking away labor rights of slaves because they argued that they were using the revenues of slavery to feed the slaves and clothe them.  They neglected to mention that they were making many individuals wealthy in the process.  Today, the NCAA is a non-profit organization, granted.  But coaches, commentators, corporations and administrators earn millions from this non-profit organization every year.  Finally, the NCAA earns more revenue during March Madness than all the other professional sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.  I am a Finance Professor, and I know capitalism when I see it.

Nonetheless, student-athletes are doing the work. They should get paid!
This argument falls apart right from the start because student-athletes are students first who have the opportunity to compete athletically. They are not university employees. As student-athletes, they are among the fortunate few that are able to continue their development in both the competitive arena and the classroom.
Rebuttal: I have seen this system up close for the past 15 years as a professor at 4 universities with major athletics programs.  Student athletes are NOT students first, especially those in basketball and football.  Their scholarships are taken away if they do not perform on the field, they are put in dorms away from the other students, they are expected to miss class to play in games, and their time is so taxed that they barely have a chance to do anything else.  The NCAA hardly runs a “weekend warrior” operation, since athletes bring in more money than nearly any other employee campus.

I’m not buying it. Big-time athletic programs are awash in money.
Wrong! More than 90 percent of NCAA schools consistently lose money on their athletics programs. Most are forced to rely on alternative funding to even field teams. Paying players would only make the problem worse.

Rebuttal: Any school that is not making money from college sports should not be paying its head coach more than $100,000 per year.  Instead, many schools sign deals for as much as $6.5 million per year for football and basketball coaches.  It is a bit nonsensical to attempt to argue that you are wallowing in poverty when your organization is creating millionaire television commentators, coaches, and athletic directors every year.  Additionally, schools don’t have to pay athletes at all.  They should only allow athletes to have the same labor rights as coaches and other Americans.  The athlete can then earn money from his/her own image from sources off campus.  You see?  With just a little bit of intelligence, we can assuage the NCAA’s concerns, as they argue that they are nothing more than harmless paupers barely squeezing by.

Why not eliminate the non-revenue sports and pay the football and men’s basketball players?

Nice try but there is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow either. In Division I, only 30 percent of football and 26 percent of men’s basketball programs make money. For the pure capitalist, that means more than two out of three football teams and three out of four basketball teams would be in jeopardy because they are losing money. But let’s get beyond the economics. The NCAA is about increasing participation opportunities for all student-athletes, not diminishing them. The benefits of participating in college sports are too valuable to limit to a chosen few in two sports.

Rebuttal: Even a company that is not making a profit should have to fairly compensate its employees.  Additionally, many of the universities who claim to be broke are signing multimillion dollar deals with their coaches (the University of Kentucky just gave its basketball coach $6 million dollars to quit).  If you were to simply redistribute the revenue that the coach earns, your problem would be solved.  Finally, participation for all athletes in non-revenue sports is certainly important, and it is ridiculous to believe that other sports would not exist without the blatant violation of student athlete labor rights.  High schools operate sports programs on far less than the billions earned by the NCAA.    

OK. But aren’t student-athletes being exploited?
Absolutely not. Our ground-breaking studies show most current and former student-athletes appreciate the educational and athletics opportunities that college presents. In general, student-athletes graduate at a higher rate than the general student body. They do so while simultaneously playing the sport they love and preparing for their future as a pro in something other than sports. And let us not forget the average full-ride scholarship at a public school is worth more than $100,000, no small sum by any means. In total, Division I and II institutions cumulatively award $1.5 billion in athletics scholarships each year. Division III does not award athletics aid.

Rebuttal: I am not sure what the NCAA is referring to with their “groundbreaking study” (I hope it’s not as bad as the CBS infomercial they featured me on last year, which included several millionaire coaches and commentators - Coach K at Duke, Clark Kellogg, Billy Packer - explaining why athletes’ families should be left out of the revenue-generating pool).   I also recommend that they do a survey of athletes in revenue-generating sports to determine if they agree with the NCAA’s optimistic assessments of the student athlete experience.  The NCAA seems to work very hard to shape the playing field in their favor, as any unbiased survey would show that athletes in revenue generating sports (and their families) would much rather have their labor rights restored.  In fact, the NCAA almost never engages in public debates to defend their current system (when I spoke on this issue on CNN, the NCAA refused to put someone on the show to debate me.  I speculate that they are nervous about dealing with a Finance Professor and Educator who knows the system and has the ear of African American males).
Does Title IX play a role in this issue?
We’re pretty sure it would. This historic 1972 federal civil rights law has been interpreted to say female student-athletes are to be treated the same as male student-athletes. Although it has never been tested in court, we suspect this same interpretation would apply if colleges started paying either. The penalty for not complying is the loss of federal educational funds, something no college can survive without these days.

Rebuttal: The NCAA does not have to pay anyone.  The argument is that they and Congress should stop restricting the labor rights of college athletes.  They can do the same for female athletes as well.  Hiding behind Title IX simply doesn’t work, since there would be no violation necessary.

Documented benefits of being a student-athlete:

  • They enjoy high levels of engagement in academics, athletics, and community

Rebuttal: I’ve dealt with student athletes for the past 15 years.  Many of them are tired from practicing constantly, USA Today found that they are steered toward particular academic majors, and they are constantly in fear of disobeying their coaches, even if it is to attend class.  Many athletes do not have the sheer joy that the NCAA attempts to present to the American public.  This reminds me of pictures of happy slaves my history teacher used to show in class.

  • They have very positive feelings about their overall athletics/academic experience

Rebuttal: Again, I recommend having an independent body do a survey of former student athletes in revenue-generating sports to determine if their experience was as enjoyable as the NCAA proclaims it to be.  Just ask the family of Curtis Williams, a football player at The University of Washington, who was paralyzed in a game and died a few months later.  The NCAA initially refused to pay for his home care and then later refused to pay his death benefit, even though he was paralyzed on the football field. I would not consider this to be a positive athletic experience.

  • They attribute learning invaluable life skills to being a student-athlete
  • They are more likely to earn similar or higher wages after college than non-student-athletes

Rebuttal: I do not disagree with either of these assessments, since I enjoyed being an athlete when I was young.  However, the idea that someone benefits from something doesn’t imply that you have the right to steal their labor rights.  Those forced into slavery gained tremendous physical strength from picking cotton all day, but that doesn’t justify the master’s criminal behavior.  The bottom line is this:  The NCAA has colluded with Congress to strip fundamental rights from a select group of individuals through a nexus of rules and cartels with serious threat of punishment to those in violation of cartel policies.  This sort of behavior would be illegal in nearly any other industry in America, but it is acceptable to the rest of us because most of the players are Black.

So, as the NCAA argues that such abhorrent behavior is actually helping college athletes, we must remember that a thief who vacuums your carpet is still the guy who broke into your house.  There is no getting around accountability.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?”  For more information, please visit

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama Fights with the Media

U.S. President Barack Obama listens during a prime time news ...

After an uncharacteristic gaffe on 'The Tonight Show' and an unfortunate case of the giggles on '60 Minutes,' President Obama had a lot riding on his Tuesday night press conference. The president largely stayed on message, using the hour to focus on the economy, the budget, and his anger (even if was delayed) at those darn AIG bonuses.

The buzziest moment came about 35 minutes into the press conference when Ed Henry of CNN asked the President why he didn't spew outrage as soon as he learned about the AIG bonuses. Why, Mr. Henry asked, did the president wait several days before speaking out? The president, with an icy stare, responded that he "likes to know what he's talking about" before he speaks. It was a pretty testy exchange that brought about nervous laughter from the other reporters andsnarky responses from Twitterers. Boom! Next question.

Another moment that seemed to strike a chord came when Chuck Todd of NBC asked the president what sort of sacrifices he would like to see from the American people during this economic crisis. The president responded that he expects Americans to do what they've always done "which is working hard, looking after their families, making sure that, despite the economic hard times, that they're still contributing to their community..."

Chip Reid asked a tough question about Obama's controversial budget. Reid asked if the budget, which will increase the debt to "$7 trillion over the next 10 years," is a case of passing problems onto the next generation. Obama responded that investments need to be made to "meet our growth targets that put us on a pathway to growth.

Click to read.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lady Drama: Chris and Rihanna Drama Part 50, of course

Although Chris and Rihanna have broken up the rumors keep coming & they seem to be getting worse. It is now being said that the two made a sex tape and to make matters worse the tape is getting ready to leak. According to a close source,
“They’ve had tons of crazy nights in bed, and Chris has recorded many of them…They both have very kinky sides.” It’s also claimed that Rihanna enjoys role-playing and dressing up as a dominatrix and that she is allegedly worried Chris could put the footage out there for the world to see. The source went on to say: “Rihanna has no issues with her sexuality. But she’d be mortified if her friends and family found this out! “This whole beating incident is terribly humiliating for her. She’s already traumatized and will do anything to make it all go away as quickly as possible.“The last thing in the world Rihanna wants is to see herself in the sex videos all over the Internet! She’s an intensely private person.”

I really hope this isn't true b/c personally I don't want to see Chris taking anyone down. Plus, why do these couples keep making these sex tapes like they aren't going to be released? Come one now, they should have learned from Kim K., Paris Hilton, Pam Anderson, and the list goes on.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Setting and Reaching Your Personal Goals

by Lawrence Watkins

Kevlar is a material that is five times stronger, but is lighter and more flexible than steel on an equal weight basis. It is used in many products ranging from bulletproof vests and cables to sports and audio equipment. It has been around for over 40 years and more uses are being discovered for this “wonder” material every day. When I think about goal setting, Kevlar provides a great analogy on how individuals should structure their inherent wants and desires for maximum clarity and performance. When creating the mastermind plan for your life, you should have strong goals that challenge you, yet have enough flexibility to change your path if a great new opportunity comes your way.

As Lewis Carroll eloquently said in Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” said Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where…” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

It is easy for a person to become diverted from fulfilling his/her passions and true calling. It becomes even easier if you do not have an end goal in mind, similar to the way Alice was feeling in Wonderland. I do not want you to be in Wonderland and you should not want to be! The most important thing is not for your goals and vision to be perfect. The most important thing is to aim for at least the general vicinity on where you want to be.

In the classic self-help book Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz talks about humans’ innate self-correcting mechanism. As humans, we have a trait that automatically guides us to self-improvement. Think about the basketball player who endlessly improves his/her jump shot or the foreigner who learns a second language well into adulthood. Each person has an end goal and they learn from their deliberate practices by correcting their mistakes when they veer from their original course. We can harness this self-correcting power to accelerate the goal achievement process. However, it all starts with knowing a general direction on where you want to go. You can relate this concept to riding a bike. Have you ever ridden a bike standing still? I haven’t. The bike only stays balanced as you are pedaling and pushing forward.

Now that we have talked about why creating a vision is important let’s get into the fundamentals of the life vision development process.

Developing your Kevlar Vision

There is a lot of debate on whether your overarching vision should be all encompassing or narrow in scope. Proponents of having a narrow vision say that this is to keep you focused on the end goal and enable you to not become distracted by items that do not line up with your plan. A simple example of this goal forming process would be to become a CEO of a Fortune 100 company whose work focuses on telecommunications. This vision is very focused and allows the goal-setter a specific task in which to focus.

Another strategy is to have your vision statement flexible and all encompassing. An example of this is Google. Their mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” No part of this mission has to do with creating a great search engine or text advertisements. This structure gives Google the freedom to change with the times and not have a myopic view of what it originally set out to accomplish.

I am a strong proponent of the Google strategy over the first example which gives a very focused vision. As I previously mentioned in a prior article, my mission is “to become a tycoon politically, socially, and economically so that I can have a positive impact on my community.” I originally developed this statement my junior year of college and I strategically tweak it every year. I use this statement as a guide to make both large and small decisions in my life. When I decided to forgo corporate America to start my own business, I used my mission statement as guidance. When it came time to decide on a business school, I continued to use this statement as a guide.

Use Backward Planning To Set Your Vision

Imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important events in your life. It will be held in a room big enough to hold your friends, family, and others who are important to you. The room is conservatively decorated and at the front is a large table with candles all around. In the middle of the table is a large box. What is in this box? YOU! It was a celebration of your life and there was not a dry eye in the place. Coming from the back of the room is an old friend with a tape recorder playing your voice. You are explaining to the people close to you about your life. How would this story go? What did you want out of life? What did you value most? Who did you wish to be? Answering these questions is the first step of developing your Kevlar vision.

Backward planning is a process of starting with your end goal(s) and working backwards to create an action plan to achieve the aforementioned goal. You cannot plan any further out than your funeral! Once you truthfully answer the previously questions, you can then work backward and think about what you need to do to turn your vision into a reality. Remember, the intermediate goals do not have to be concrete, just make them like Kevlar and rely on your self-correcting mechanisms to guide your course. Life is nothing but a series of decades, years, months, weeks and days. People always look far to the future and say that they want to live an extraordinary life. But how are you going to live an extraordinary life if you wake up thinking you want to have an ordinary day? Backward planning is an important step to an extraordinary life.

Guidelines for creating powerful goals

Chicken Soup for the Soul author, Jack Canfield, defines a goal as “the ongoing pursuit of a worthy objective until accomplished.” I want to walk you through some of the attributes you may want to look for when deciding on your goals.

Your Most Important Goals Must be Yours

This sounds obvious, but many people have their life purpose created by someone else. These people may be your parents, a spouse, friends, etc. I have a friend who is a doctor at a prestigious hospital. He is making great money while helping sick patients become well. The only problem is that he is miserable. When asked why he went into medicine he states, “My grandfather was a doctor, my father is a doctor, so my parents told me I was going to be a doctor too.” You only have the chance to live life once. Do you really want to spend your life living someone else’s dreams? When you let someone else, or society, determine your definition of success, you are sabotaging your future. I do not condone lying, however, the last person you should ever lie to is yourself, especially when it comes to planning your life.

A technique that I use to make sure that my most important goals are my own is continuously asking myself one question. What do I really want out of life? The introspective process of regularly asking this question helps you to focus and organize your goals and determine what is really most important to you.

Your goals must be meaningful

The pursuit of meaningful goals will help you achieve greatness much quicker than the pursuit of non-meaningful goals. This is because meaningful goals are exciting and a person does not mind putting in the extra effort to accomplish them. This is analogous to school. Have you ever had a class that was too easy? The class was so easy that you did not offer the proper effort and instead of excelling you underperformed? Suddenly, the class that was a definite “A”, turned into a “B” or worse? I have done this numerous times. In fact, this was the story of my middle school and high school years. The classes did not challenge me enough and I did not perform anywhere near my highest potential or capability. Granted, in grade school you do not have as much control over your life compared to your adult years, however, individuals show symptoms of this problem well into their adult life.

Subsequently, total commitment to your goals is a critical ingredient if you want to be the best person you can be. This is true for both professional and personal goals. I recently finished the book Call Me Ted, which is an autobiography of the billionaire, Ted Turner. Turner’s father was a successful and wealthy billboard entrepreneur back in the 1960’s. Although successful in his career, the elder Turner was depressed and ended up committing suicide in his forties. In the book, Turner hypothesized why his father committed suicide. He is confident that the reason was that his father did not set his goals high enough, resulting in a lack of purpose for his life. Our situations may not be that dramatic, but as philosopher Jim Rohn once said,

“There are two major pains in life. One is the pain of discipline, the other is the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces, but regret weighs tons when you allow your life to drift unfulfilled.”

Your goals must be measurable

Although your vision statement needs to be flexible and answer questions about your life’s intents and purposes, the intermediate goals and objectives need to be firm. Management guru Peter Drucker says that “What gets measured gets managed.” This is true in business and in life. Remember, a goal without a number is just a slogan. It is easier for your brain to operate day-to-day on concrete items as opposed to the abstract. Both are important, but concrete is more important to execution.


I cannot stress enough the importance of developing a strong, but flexible vision for one’s life. Do not underestimate the power of the self-correcting mechanism present within each of our lives. I use this concept when initially training people who work within my company. You will be surprised by what you can accomplish by aiming even for the general vicinity of your ultimate goal. If you do not remember anything else I have written, please remember one thing . . . If you aim for the stars, you will at least hit the moon! Always aim for something!

Lawrence Watkins is the CEO of the Great Black Speakers Bureau.  For more information, please visit

Monday, March 16, 2009

Delores Jones on Mental Health: Get out of your own way


by Delores Jones

How many of us just hates when someone stands in front of us blocking our view, especially when we are sitting down in a seat like at a concert?  Now, you really can’t see or enjoy your favorite music artist that you paid, let’s say $90, to watch perform your favorite hit.      Tell the truth.  How many of you would touch the person blocking your view and ask them to move out of your way?  Others might just sit there and complain while missing out on what is happening because for whatever reason, he or she decides to do nothing.

     Earlier today I had a meeting with a client.  We met to help her identify what she believed she wanted and needed to do to better herself and her situation.  I simply asked one question, “what do you want to do?”  She said, “anything, I just need a job.”   Her response was desperate and too vague.  After a little coaching and conversation she said, “I really want to go to school.”

     With this in mind,  I told her that at the college level she could apply for a ‘work-study position” where the school she would  attend pays her a small stipend and allows flexible working hours for her to successfully complete her classes.  She looked surprised and slightly relieved until SHE starting talking about all of the past bad things that she had experienced while in school.  Fifteen years ago, she was told by a teacher that she had a learning disability and needed more time to read and process her work.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it.  It would only take her a little longer to finish.


Click to read.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Black News: Michael Jackson Tickets Sell Fast

Tickets for Michael Jackson's 50 "final curtain call" concerts in London sold out in little over four hours Friday.

Michael Jackson has sold out 50 concerts at London's O2 Arena.

Michael Jackson has sold out 50 concerts at London's O2 Arena.

The tickets went on sale at 7 a.m., with fans queuing since Wednesday. They were limited to four tickets per household at a cost of up to $105 for general admission. VIP tickets cost up to $1,100. Around 750,000 were sold.

Tickets have already appeared online for resale, with one person seeking $35,000 for VIP tickets to the opening show on July 8.

Jackson originally announced he would do 10 shows at London's 20,000-capacity 02 Arena, but huge demand has seen a further 40 dates added. The king of pop's run is now scheduled to finish next February.

O2 owners, AEG Live, said due to the "incredible level of interest" -- pre-sale tickets to 10 concerts offered on Thursday sold out within minutes -- Jackson had agreed to add the extra dates.

Click to read.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

African American Funny Ish: Life After the White House?

Teens Could go to Prison for “Sexting”

20% of teens are now engaged in “sexting”, sending nude text messages to their friends.  The authorities are classifying this as a felony. 

Click the image to watch the video. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Barack Obama’s Economic Pandora’s Box

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

Let’s be clear: This recession has become President Barack Obama’s personal War on Terror. Like the War on Terror, the enemy is evasive, the challenge is global, international cooperation is necessary, and the battle is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Wars are good for political business: when people get scared, politicians get a blank check to fulfill their legislative agenda. After 9/11, President Bush used fear to get the entire nation to sign onto the Patriot Act, and years later, we are wondering if someone is going to tap our cell phones and illegally imprison us for not eating our Freedom Fries. Bad legislation is like an STD: you can pick it up with a snap decision, but you pay the price for the next 20 years.

Click to read more.


Syracuse Professor Discusses Chris Brown on CNN

Click the image to watch the video.  In this clip, Dr. Boyce Watkins appears on CNN to say that “Chris Brown is not a monster”. 


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Technology: Did You Know You can get a $5,000 AT&T Bill?

A woman who received a $5,077 bill from AT&T for data charges on her Netbook is suing the wireless carrier and RadioShack for fraud, reports Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica.

The lawsuit alleges that the two companies conspired to promote a netbook plus data deal that deliberately misled customers and tricked them into paying thousands of dollars per month for service.

Here’s Parks’ story:

Parks purchased a netbook from RadioShack in December of 2008 after the electronics retailer began advertising a heavily subsidized netbook deal: for $99.99 and a two-year AT&T contract, customers could buy a netbook with AT&T’s DataConnect plan, allowing them to get online from anywhere. The DataConnect service costs roughly $60 per month before the usual taxes and fees.

Click to read.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Black College News: What Chris Brown and Rihanna Need to Think About


By Dr. Boyce Watkins

Forgive me for diving into the crazy world of pop culture, but the fact that Chris Brown and Rihanna are a couple again is something on which I had to comment. I am not speaking on the issue because I love Chris Brown or Rihanna’s music (they are ok). I am commenting because young people need to have a serious conversation about relationships and domestic violence.

Here’s the deal: I don’t know exactly what Chris Brown did and did not do. From the picture I saw and police reports, it appears that he may have done some serious damage to Rihanna’s face. Again, I am not convicting Chris Brown and I am not pretending to know if he is a bad human being. In fact, Chris Brown could very easily be a good man who did a very bad thing. But if he did do this damage to Rihanna, then he should pay a price for his actions.

But it appears that Chris won’t be paying a price, since Rihanna does not seem to be interested in pressing charges. Rihanna’s actions are nothing new: Every day, across America, women are beaten to a pulp by their boyfriends (roughly 13,000 incidents per day are reported to police), and then choose to excuse their inexcusable behavior. The prosecutor prepares a solid case that will send the guy packing for years, and the case falls through because the woman chooses not to press charges. So, as extraordinary as Rihanna might be as a performer, her behavior is actually quite ordinary.

Chris Brown, if he was the cause of the facial damage shown on pictures released to the media, needs serious counseling. He needs to learn that growing up watching your father beat your mother (as Chris admitted on the Tyra Banks show) may establish a destructive social norm, thus making you believe that violence is appropriate in male/female relationships. He also needs to learn about the serious consequences for brothers who choose to beat up on their partners. Even if Rihanna is crazy, provocative or evil, you have no business laying your hands on a woman. Not only is violence wrong, but it will land you in a criminal justice system that destroys the lives of young black men every day. I understand young people making mistakes (I’ve made far too many to count), but you must learn from those mistakes, and we are not doing young people any favors by pretending that this didn’t happen.

Rihanna needs her own counselor. She needs one that will give her and other young women the self-esteem to realize that there are few genuine excuses for a man to put his hands on you. She needs to have someone who truly understands where all this is going, to make her realize that no matter how cute he is, how popular, how rich, or how charming, a man like this can eventually kill you. You don’t know domestic violence until you’ve seen DEATH. It starts innocently enough, and eventually escalates to the point that someone is in the morgue. Any self-respecting adult should, in my humble opinion, refuse to sit idly to the side and allow your teenager to ponder reasons that Chris Brown should have hit Rihanna. No, he should not have done this, and I encourage Chris to make sure he sends the same message.

Old people can be obnoxious. We pee on the parades of young love by writing articles like the one I am writing right now. I hate doing this, but I have my reasons. My friend, a professor in Florida, died at the hands of her husband, who then killed himself and left her two young children without parents. This happens every day, and most of these cases start out like the situation between Chris Brown and Rihanna. In fact, your daughter, friend, sister, mother or cousin may have that lovable boyfriend who only shows peeks and hints of violent behavior, but just enough that your gut is telling you that something isn’t quite right. Listen to your instincts, for they’re trying to tell you something. Love should not end with anybody getting punched. Domestic violence is not a silent killer… usually warns you all along the way. Whether you choose to listen is up to you.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” For more information, please visit