Thursday, June 9, 2011


Yes, it is time for another one of my soapbox posts.

A.J. Burnett doesn't have respect.  LeBron James didn't have respect.  They both used the word retarded in a casual, demeaning way.

If you have followed my blog for some time you'll know that my daughter, Caroline, has Down syndrome.  I am her advocate.  When anyone uses the R-word in the manner that A.J. and LeBron did it hurts.  I'm speaking up.

After watching the video of LeBron's press conference I sent an email to the NBA...

In a recent post game interview, LeBron James is heard using the word "Retarded".

For people with intellectual disabilities (such as my daughter Caroline) and those that love them, hearing the R-word is hurtful.

I would encourage Mr. James to find a different outlet for his frustration. I would also ask that he visit and make a pledge to stop using it altogether.

Thank you for a good product. Help make it better.

Mark Aubrey

And a few days later I received a reply...

Dear Mark:

Thank you for contacting the National Basketball Association with your concerns regarding LeBron James’s use of the word “retarded” at the press conference following Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Following this incident, we communicated both our disappointment and yours to LeBron.

At the press conference following Game 4 of the Heat’s series with the Boston Celtics, LeBron apologized for his remarks.

Through our longstanding partnership with the Special Olympics, the NBA has embraced the organization’s Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, which is dedicated to eliminating the use of the words “retard” and “retarded.” Several NBA players, including Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul have signed on to this campaign, and it is an important component of our NBA Cares initiative, which builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world.

NBA Fan Relations

I was encouraged by their response.

Below is a Public Service Announcement about ending the use of the R-word.  Please be advised that it contains contains language that others might find offensive or hurtful to make a point.

I'm stepping off of my soapbox for now.  Thanks for listening.


  1. The world needs soapboxes.

    And people to stand on them to get the attention of others.

    The easiest thing to do would be to say nothing.


  2. Hey Mark, keep stepping on the soapbox as often as you like. I respect you for so consistently and vocally standing up and doing the right thing.

  3. I've got several special needs cousins on both sides of my family so I know where you are coming from. Soap box all your want!

  4. My little brother has Down Syndrome and I cringe every time I hear the word used inappropriately. Thanks for stepping up.