There’s no such thing as a quiet off-season for the Knicks’ Stephon Marbury. A day after recanting his remarks concerning Michael Vick and dogfighting, Steph’s gift horse is being stared directly in the mouth, as Newsday’s Justin Rocket Silverman explains.
Stephon Marbury wasn’t trying to be controversial when he donated 3,000 pairs of his branded Starbury One shoes to city high school basketball players last year.
Yet by giving the shoes only to boys’ varsity teams, the Coney Island native drew attention to what some say is a glaring inequality between boys and girls athletics in New York City public schools.
Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum said that because the Department of Education did not obtain 3,000 pairs of basketball shoes for the girls, it is in violation of federal rules that require equal sports resources for both sexes.
“The Department of Education is shortchanging female athletes, pure and simple,” Gotbaum said Tuesday.
“They haven’t provided a plan to increase sports opportunities for women. They haven’t created a fair scheduling system … second-class status for female athletes is unacceptable.”
Purchasing 3,000 pairs of Starbury shoes would cost the department about $45,000. The department Tuesday pointed to a recent donation by Nike of sneakers for 20 girls basketball teams, and said in a statement that it has “worked hard towards securing sneakers and other equipment for girls programs.”
Some observers said Gotbaum’s position is off the mark.
“Have we come to expect so much that we don’t embrace acts of kindness?” asked Brandon Tierney, a sports talk show host on 1050 ESPN Radio.
“Give me a break. I mean, take the 3,000 sneakers and be grateful that you got them.”
As always, a sophisticated take from Tierney, who seemingly put just as much thought into the above statement as he did into his show’s new theme tune.