TOAs a certified social media expert, I speak from experience when I tell you, reader, that the best followers on the entire internet are former athletes on Instagram. Men in their forties, who have conquered the most demanding profession in the world, living strange lives in their twilight, simply wandering a world they never planned when they were young. Want to see Joe Johnson, a seven-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer, posting shots at Hemsworth’s level? Pau Gasol eating an egg? Follow the exploits of Reggie Miller on a mountain bike? Well, reader, everything is out there and more: a brave new world of older men, having lived what they were led to believe was their main purpose, simply vibrant, looking for good times and congratulating their children for minor achievements. The lives we would all live if our wildest dreams came true.
On Friday night, Celtics Hall of Fame forward Paul Pierce set the gold standard for all retired athlete Instagram content when, disconcertingly, it went live, glassy-eyed and transparently drunk. , playing poker with his guys while a group of strippers mill about. he twerked for the camera, and seemed to be having a good time, as a random midseason NBA game played on television in the background.
Feel free to consume this sacred document here, but if you can’t find the time tonight, let me take a second to describe a few highlights. Pierce opens the stream saying “let me get a neck rub.” Invite a stripper in the comments, saying she might be making some money. He appears to be drinking alcohol from a small medicine cup. For two minutes or so, he takes time to yell at the Jewish people on Shabbat, says “Shabbat is poppin” and says he would love to “Be on Shabbat.” When someone mentions COVID-19, they say they’ve already been vaccinated and then recommend that everyone get the vaccine, which is, frankly, a responsible message. Then he pulls out an amazing line that says, “Stop hating … everyone hates …”
We have been to Turkey before. After more than a year in COVID hell, it’s edifying to know that there are moments that make life worth living folks.
In a rational world, nothing happens after this, except perhaps a significant increase in randos yelling “TURKEYS” at Paul Pierce as he walks down the street. But unfortunately, Paul shared his poker and stripper-related exploits as an employee of ESPN, where he was an analyst on the network’s NBA coverage studio until yesterday, when he was unceremoniously fired from the world leader for being too cool.
Now, was Paul Pierce a beloved presence on the televisions of this great nation? No, not really. He once said he had a better career than Dwyane Wade, which was quite funny, and watching him do things wrong was a delightful pleasure, simply because he was such an irritating presence on the NBA court during his career. He also may or may not have confessed to shitting his pants mid-game and being taken away in a wheelchair to hide his embarrassment from the national television audience. And anyway, all of the on-air talent on ESPN are paddling against the tide of micromanaged post-game shows produced within an inch of their lives.
“But just because he’s not Vin Scully doesn’t mean he should be fired just for going live three sheets to the wind, looking rear.“
But just because he’s not Vin Scully doesn’t mean he should be fired just for streaming three sheets to the wind, looking rear. Who is ESPN protecting here, exactly? Everyone involved was doing A-OK, they even took the time to promote their own Instagram presences to everyone who was watching. Maybe Paul wasn’t terribly compliant with COVID but, I mean, he promoted the vaccine! And look, it’s not like he’s the only NBA figure who took time out of his quarantine to enjoy the company of exotic dancers. James Harden and Lou Williams have just received small suspensions and quarantine assignments, which seems like enough to me, at least. Did ESPN care that all the kids who look up to Paul Pierce seek to emulate his behavior? I certainly hope not because, as Draymond Green once pointed out, there are probably no kids who look up to Paul Pierce.
It’s not like Republican politicians are lining up to convict Paul Pierce of his butt-related Instagram antics (too busy trying to handle his accused child sex trafficker). No one is threatening to boycott, protesting in front of your stripper house / shed. Paul Pierce hasn’t lost any credibility as a basketball analyst; if anything, this enhances his reputation, as there is something truly puzzling about an NBA player that It is not a party animal. It’s just some funny shit that happened. You put it off for a week or ignore it, and it fades into the background – some funny internet nonsense they mention and share with future internet fools.
Charles Barkley, TNT’s colossally entertaining post-game monolithic presence on TNT, received a DUI in 2009, told the arresting officer that “… he was going to turn the corner and get a blowjob,” And he got to keep his job after a little time off, because no one was obsessed with saving face or whatever ESPN felt they had to do to save his reputation from one of their employees talking drunk about how he’s been with the Turkeys.
Pierce did nothing an eighth as evil and yet here he is, in the cold, why ESPN couldn’t bear that someone could enjoy the strippers company? What exactly did his swift departure need, when ESPN personalities credibly accused of sexual harassment can continue to work on the network? Was it just that they couldn’t sweep Instagram Live images of him doing nothing wrong under the rug?
I’m serious: What is the problem here exactly? Did they just think it was in bad taste? This is not baseball or the NFL or Republican politics. No one in or around the NBA has historically felt compelled to give a tearful press conference apologizing to the public because they sometimes like to relax with strippers. He’s damn pro basketball, and he’s usually on top of this puritanical crap. Why ESPN didn’t get the memo, I can’t even imagine. Leave Paul Party, you cowards.