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Big Pimpin'

By Kathy Y. Wilson · July 14th, 2004 · Your Negro Tour Guide
If lawsuits were playbooks, the residents of Hamilton County got played by the Cincinnati Bengals. Nah. We got pimped.

Every time I drive past Paul Brown Stadium, I can hear Bengals President Mike Brown saying: "Git in the car, Annie Mae!" And it might appear Hamilton County Commissioners just got the upper hand when U.S. District Judge Arthur Spiegel granted them rights to take over a taxpayer lawsuit against the team.

But who will ultimately pay for all the lawyers and all the court time? And if county commissioners "win" -- whatever that means and whenever that'll be -- who will see any of that money? There's $200 million at stake.

Taxpayers in 1996 passed a half-cent, no-sense sales tax to help build Paul Brown Stadium and the Reds' new place. But will we get any of that back on all the cigarettes, gum, bottled water, clothing, gasoline, food, shoes, CDs, concert and plane tickets, cars, houses and all the other crap crowding daily life we've purchased since? What do you think?

In strategy so deft it should've been used on the playing field, the Bengals and then-Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus got us -- well, you -- to pay for their $458-million house, and it might have been on some play action fake shit. Is now a good time to say, "I told you so?"

Stan Chesley, virtual inventor of the postmodern class action lawsuit and the commissioners' attorney, is salivating at the notion of deposing Bedinghaus and Brown, who's become a pimp by making ho's of us.

Look at how he's played us, as we used to say in the neighborhood, to the left.

Why, we even go to the mansion to get our asses whipped.

Exactly how many people do you know who can finagle others to pay for his house but then isn't himself accountable for what goes on in that house? Meaning, of course, that Brown never offered any explanation for why he let the Bengals languish in a pre-Marvin Lewis losing rut or why he hired former losing players as losing coaches.

That's because he didn't have to, and that's because white men rarely feel it necessary to articulate to the rest of us why they do what they do. Flip that shit, though, and a brother (or woman) in charge spends the majority of their workday explaining why they ordered jumbo paper clips instead of smaller ones.

So fuck Huggie Bear, Ike Turner, the Mack and all those other black pimps of yore festooned in outlandish, Lite Brite suits who are real, Hollywood or some in-between combination pack thereof. I see white pimps.

White men can jump. To one another's aid.

Bedinghaus did his damnedest to talk voters into approving the tax hike. Once you did, he babysat the initiative by massaging negotiations between the Bengals and commissioners. And the Bengals handsomely rewarded him by appointing him director of development for Paul Brown Stadium.

That translates to: Go get more money and bring it back to the manse.

All along the Bengals have tried blocking commissioners from getting in on the lawsuit and Chesley from being the county's counsel. But game recognizes game and Chesley, himself a courtroom pimp, is going to do a reverse Bedinghaus and talk out of people all the shit Bedinghaus talked people into. Get it?

This whole thing's gonna shape up to be a messy chess game before it's all over. Taxpayers will be screwed again and, however it comes down, an old and already insanely rich white man's gonna walk away with still more power, money and control.

Meanwhile, I bet no one equates white men fighting over millions of dollars with being hurtful to the city's image, which is the first claim leveled by the same, now-silent chorus when it criminalizes the poor, the homeless and entire races of people.

What we have here is a devaluation of criminal behavior. Somehow, because it's white collar/white color, it's complicated but not as illegal or immoral as street level drug dealing or pimping women. Back-door deals can't possibly crackle with the same urgency as nighttime gunplay.

Think again.

Brown and Bedinghaus are smackin' ho's, grabbing money and retiring to a big-ass house. That's big pimpin,' baby.

Same tactics. Different suits.

Kathy's collection of columns, Your Negro Tour Guide: Truths in Black and White, is available in bookstores now.


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