Basketball Wives: A Trip to Crazy Town and the Hypocrisy of Shaunie O’Neal’s Apology

Basketball WivesShaunie O’Neal, the high priestess of the Basketball Wives Ya-Ya Sisterhood, recently offered up yet another apology for the show’s descent into madness this season. As someone who once claimed that Basketball Wives was a positive show, this apology seems like a desperate attempt to quell the growing criticism and pacify the angry tweets directed at the wives. The bullying that has taken place over the last two seasons and the complicity of all non-involved parties have made this an especially tumultuous time for Basketball Wives, which could either make or break the show going forward.

Hope for Redemption?

Before the latest episode, I still had a glimmer of hope that the show would find its way back to sanity. It’s never been the epitome of high-quality entertainment or particularly thought-provoking, but it used to keep itself in check and never got too out of hand. Sure, there were the usual thrown objects and screaming matches, but it never became something to worry about. However, Tami’s behavior in the recent episode crossed a line so far that I cannot find an analogy appropriate enough to describe it. It was the kind of vile, condescending, mean-spirited behavior that you thought everyone left behind in junior high. Drunk or not, Tami was not a good person and had no excuse for any of her actions. Not for arguing with Kesha, not for threatening her, not for taking her purse – none of it. The hypocritical taunting, the God complex, and the victim-blaming were all incredibly distasteful and unnerving to watch. I believe that reality TV can edit a person’s perception to be different than they actually are, but you have to give them the material to do so. That wasn’t a CGI Tami Roman wreaking havoc all over Tahiti. That was the real Tami Roman, embarrassing herself, her children, and every black woman in America with her behavior.

Don’t Let the Other Girls Off the Hook

However, don’t think that the other girls are off the hook. If anything, they made it much worse by either qualifying any criticism they had of Tami or just sitting back and watching it all go down. This is why I think Shaunie’s apology is not to be taken seriously, as she got into the drama just as much as anyone else. Granted, she (feebly) “stood up” to Tami in the latest episode, but let’s look at what else she did. She cackled in her confessional about Tami taking the purse, willingly participated in the childish prank on Kenya involving fish, and never uttered a word while Tami dressed down Kesha before giving the purse up. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, and Shaunie implicitly co-signs every move, insult, and aggressive bit of posturing that comes from Tami. If my boss tells me (verbally or non-verbally) that I’m doing something right, I’m going to keep doing it, and that’s exactly what Tami’s doing. Shaunie mentioned that she couldn’t tell Tami not to take a drink because she’s a grown woman. Granted, Tami is grown and should (key word) know not to drink if it sets her off or if she’s around someone she doesn’t like. But she doesn’t know how to do that, be it through a desire for camera time and/or a legitimate problem with alcohol, and it’s the job of the other girls to help her learn when it’s time to say no. It’s called being a friend and looking out for your girl’s best interests, and the ladies of Basketball Wives might need to try doing that more often.

Anger and Hypocrisy

It angers me that the ladies don’t do anything to stop Kesha (or Kenya) from getting ganged up on and then they talk about how badly they feel. Evelyn crying while pretty much agreeing with Tami and talking about how her actions were justified? Shaunie giggling about the latest bit of Tami bullying and then ending her sentence talking about how sad it is? Drunk Suzie indirectly starting this and then trying to pretend to be neutral? Ludicrous. All of it, absolutely ludicrous. All of these women talk about how real they are and how this girl over here is fake, but none of them are real. Because being real is being human, and being human is about being compassionate and kind to your fellow man. Not trying to convince a girl who has been terrorized, bullied, and humiliated to stay, not for altruistic or empathetic reasons. No, not our wives. It was obviously a ploy to keep play-thing Kesha on the island for Tami’s enjoyment, an awful display of behavior veiled as some form of “humanity.” If they were human and had emotions and felt things, they would have done something more than weakly try to get her to stay on the island. They would have stood up for her, checked Tami, encouraged her to go home – something, anything would have been more productive than the timid concern for Kesha and ego stroking for Tami (how many times did they tell her that Kesha was scared of her?) that they gave.

Shaunie’s Apology: Lip Service and Delusion

Shaunie’s apology is everything wrong with Basketball Wives. It’s nothing more than lip service at this point, considering the fact that the same thing was mentioned last year, and arrogant lip service at that, with a little bit of delusion thrown in for good balance. As shown in the latest episode, nobody feels bad for their actions, nobody takes responsibility, and nobody helped Kesha (and Kenya) from being attacked by a group of shifty, bored socialites with a serious case of arrested development. Basketball Wives has gone from a fun guilty pleasure to a meaner, nastier version of high school, and it’ll keep getting worse until the ratings go down or the show is put to an end. At this point, I’d be more than okay with seeing the last of “the circle” and everything they stand for.

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