Street Knowledge News
Mike Tyson:
Will He Get Reinstated?

July 6 1998

This week marked the one year anniversary of the suspension of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. Tyson was suspended last year after biting off a chunk of champion Evander Holyfield's ear. During his one-year suspension, Tyson has tried to keep himself busy from rapping behind a microphone to entering the wrestling ring. But now, Tyson's suspension is up and he can now reapply to get his boxing license back.

"He is still the champ in a lot of people's mind," said Street Knowledge host Davey D. "Perhaps has personified the heroisms that people look at in boxing."

Although Iron Mike can still draw a large crowd everywhere he goes, not everybody is happy about his possible return to the boxing ring. The National Organization for Women (or N.O.W.) are oposing Tyson's return and are attempting to keep him out of boxing forever. Among the speakers on the show were N.O.W. representative Ann Galanca, Channel-7 sports anchor Martin Wyatt and Frank Red, who is a teacher, performing artist and a sports on-air personality in the Sacramento area.

Galanca says the media has played a significant role in how society looks at celebrities. "For one thing, society judges people by how much money they make," said Galanca, who reminded listeners about Tyson's time spent in jail after being convicted of rape. "I think it's unfortunate that young people look so highly on these athletes. You have (an umpire) being spit at and you have a coach being choked." What we're doing is conducting a national letter-writing campaign," she added. "We feel strongly that he shouldn't be in the ring. I'm afraid that something more horrific will happen."

Davey responded with "What do you say to fellows who say 'Mike did his time. Why put a scarlett letter on him'?" "He's not the first and certainly not the last to have his career altered because of a conviction,"

Galanca who mentioned other controversial figures such as Lawrence Phillips of the Miami Dolphins. Wyatt supports Tyson and says he should have another chance to fight. "There aren't many boxers that can get a license anyway." He added part of the issue was based on race. "I think there's a difference and unequal justice," Wyatt said. "Let's look at (Atlanta Braves manager) Bobby Cox. Possibly the best manager in baseball. But here's a guy who was convicted for beating his wife. I don't see the same scrutiny. We want to be careful," he added. "I think this man should be given the opportunity to work. (Former NBA All-Star) Tom Chambers choked his coach too, but you didn't hear much of that out in public. Ann is not being consistent in following the athletes."

Red agreed with Wyatt's comments. "You got two different issues: Mike Tyson the boxer and Mike Tyson the citizen," Red said. "He should have the opportunity to continue his profession." Red added Tyson will most likely return because that's what the people want. "Ratings," Red said. "You say Mike Tyson and everyone gets excited. No matter what he does."

Caller Latrice from Concord argues that the focus on Tyson's possible return is often misled. "I totally agree that Mike Tyson is a strong issue," Latrice said. "But he's getting a license to box, not to rape women."

Wyatt says Tyson should be given one more chance at the ring. "If Mike Tyson comes back rehabilitated, he really would be a role model," said Wyatt, who said not all athletes are negative figures in society. "For every bad apple, I can name about 10 good ones."

Red added not all athletes come back unreformed. "Martin makes an excellent point in rehab," Red said. "Look at Darryl Strawberry. He's got his personal life together and is playing great baseball for the Yankees. If George Steinbrenner didn;t have a soft spot, there's no telling what Strawberry would be doing."

The Mike Tyson issues is often talked about more and more. As Red mentioned, there are two sides of the former Heavyweight Champion, the boxer and the person. The boxer was suspended for a year after nearly biting an ear off while the person once served jail time due to a rape charge. I'm sure Tyson has had time during his one-year suspension to think about all that has happened.

Golden State Warriors guard Latrell Sprewell served less than a year of suspension. And one can argue that his intentions were to kill coach P.J. Carlisimo (especially when Spree's words were "I'm going to kill you). Wyatt is right when he said the following of these athletes are inconsistent. Therefore Tyson should have another chance. For we don't know what goes inside his mind. Who are we to determine that he will stay the same for the rest of his life. And what does his personal life have anything to do with what his profession is? President Clinton faces the same issues. Despite what he may or may not have done behind closed doors, it should not have anything to do with the way he is running the country. So he had an affair. Does this mean taxes are going up?

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written by
Chris Navalta of
The Vallejo Times Herald

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