By Damon Young Co-founder and editor-in-chief, VSB Magazine
Around this time last week, news first began to circulate that Mo’ne Davis helped unveil a new sneaker line — with 15 percent of the proceeds going towards impoverished girls.
A day or so later, more great news about the 13-year-old appeared:
The Mo’ne Davis story is coming to Disney Channel. The 13-year-old who made history last summer as the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series is the subject of a biopic that the cabler is developing with producer Debra Martin Chase.
By the end of the week, I was prepared to read any Mo’ne-related headline.
Mo’ne Davis to Israel to help broker treaty with Benjamin Netanyahu
Mo’ne Davis challenges James Harden to one-on-one; wins, convinces Harden to trim beard
Mo’ne Davis and Cornell West debate hashtag activism and the utility of grits
Mo’ne Davis solves centuries-old chicken/egg riddle (The answer? Davis: “God, actually”)
Big Sean threatened by masked gunman not to make any more music. Mo’ne Davis is the prime suspect. Police don’t bother investigating. Because it’s Big Sean
Instead, I read about Joey Casselberry, a baseball player at Bloomsburg University who got on Twitter, called Davis a slut, and ultimately got kicked off of his team when news of what he did hit the news. Yesterday, I read that Davis forgave Casselberry and reached out to Bloomsburg to get him reinstated. Because of course Mo’ne Davis would do that. She is better in what she does (living her life) than you are at what you do (living your life).
And then I read piece after piece — person after person — praising Davis for having it in her to forgive Casselberry. And this made me sick.
Not because of what Davis did. She has handled herself about as perfectly as anyone — 13 or 43 — with this type of overnight fame and media scrutiny could. But while she has acted rightly, there’s nothing right about a 13-year-old being placed in a position where this type of forgiveness is even necessary. She’s supposed to be practicing in-and-out crossovers, testing new designs on her sneakers, and getting asked to semi-formals, not being Ralph fucking Bunche so some full-grown idiot won’t continue to have his fucking feelings hurt. There’s nothing to be happy about — no feel-good takeaways — when a middle school girl gets insulted by a man and has to speak up forhim so he can continue a baseball career no one gives a fuck about. She is not supposed to be anyone’s savior or protector. We need to be saving and protecting her.
Also, you cant discount the racial context here. As Jamilah Lemieux tweeted this week (paraphrasing) “…the narrative in this country is that Black people are to turn the other cheek, always, with no expectation of White folks changing.” Distilled, this is a White man using a public space to volunteer a sexual insult about a Black girl. Fuck that guy.
No, seriously. Fuck. That. Guy.
I really hope none of this deters Davis from continuing to do what she’s doing. I want to continue to read ludicrous headlines about her. I want her to star in a 2017 mash-up of Taken and You Got Served called You Got Took. I want her to dunk on Kevin Hart. But, more than any of that, I want her to be a middle school kid. And then a high school kid. And not have to be the “bigger person” when the other person is an adult.