October 24, 2021

Let's talk sportsball for a minute.

Some of you know I'm a Brooklyn-born Baltimore girl, and I go hard for the Ravens even if I don't know all their names and what "offsides" means, but when they decided to pay tribute to Michael K. Williams during their home opener, it electrified my chosen hometown.

Williams played "Omar Little" in "The Wire," and his trademark whistling (always "The Farmer's In The Dell") not only warned he was coming, but signaled you'd better get outta the way unless you knew you were good with him.

He was a beloved actor, and the series is beloved in Baltimore - a source of pride for many because it showcased so much of the nuance and heart behind the struggles here. The people who worry it only portrays us as "thugs" and "drug-ridden" aren't looking hard enough, or they've already decided what they want to see. And now those same folks are "concerned" that the decision to continue to use Omar's Whistle to introduce and hype the Ravens before they come on the field sends "tHe wRoNg mEsSaGe" — I couldn't disagree more.

"The Wire," like Omar, like Michael K. Williams, like football, is more of a mirror than we think. How we react to it reflects a lot about us. If all we see is crime, a thug, a tortured drug addict, violent brutality respectively, we're missing out on the artistic and sociological complexity, the multi-faceted layers, the generous, respected artistry, the intellectual and athletic flexibility of "The Wire," Omar, Michael K. Williams, and football respectively.

Give me Omar's Whistle introducing the Ravens over Travis Tritt introducing the Atlanta Braves every damn time.

Open thread below.

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