Before Ye went on “Good Morning America” and admitted Sway had the answers in 2013, the biggest news in American pop culture on Sept. 22 was Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka facing a team suspension for reportedly having an inappropriate relationship with a staff employee.
The news of Udoka, who has been in a public relationship with legendary actress Nia Long, immediately became the most viral topic on social media and ESPN’s top story. The comments from viewers and fans spanned from speculating who could have been the staff member he had the relationship with to memes about consoling Long to a general discussion about infidelity. Some users even took the news as a chance to bring up Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, whose Twitter account was spotted liking multiple pornographic posts before being unliked.
While jokes and memes are a staple of Internet culture, there is one story that hasn’t received as much consistent national attention. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has been at the center of a two-year federal investigation in which the state of Mississippi allegedly used over a million dollars in welfare funds to pay him for speaking engagements and radio appearances. Favre allegedly didn’t even show up for the engagements. While he’s denied any knowledge of wrongdoing and has paid the state back $1.1 million, he has yet to pay back the $228,000 in interest, according to reports. When Mississippi was given $70 million of federal funds to assist those in need, $5 million was given to Southern Miss to build a new volleyball facility. Favre’s daughter, Breleigh, played for the school’s Golden Eagles’ court and beach volleyball squads from 2017-22.
Mississippi is America’s poorest state. According to the 2018 U.S. Census, Mississippi had the nation’s highest percentage of Black residents at 38.82 percent. The state’s capital of Jackson is 82.5 percent Black as of 2021, reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Jackson is currently recovering from its second water crisis in two years, where residents didn’t have access to usable or drinkable for weeks after experiencing severe weather. The city lacks the funding or infrastructure to protect its residents in such situations. While the Jackson State football team is doing its part by distributing water to fans at the next home game, the Tigers are only a football team. And although the team’s head coach is millionaire Deion Sanders, there is only so much he can do as a football coach in the middle of football season.
The roads of Mississippi contain potholes and uneven random hills that put the toughest vehicles through its rigors. The Mississippi Municipal Service Company said potholes are responsible for one of the most common liability claims that the state’s drivers make.
According to Feeding America, one in every six Mississippians is facing hunger, one in every fifth child faces hunger and it would require over $231 million to address the food insecurity issue.
Long story less long, if any state in America could use every penny of the federal assistance given to it and not to a rich celebrity native, it’s Mississippi. Favre allegedly leveraged his White privilege and status to benefit himself at the hands of thousands of Black, Brown and White residents in need should be America’s, and certainly the largest story in sports, right now. It should be at the top of every newscast until it’s settled, instead of the celebrity gossip of a Black man’s love life.