Yesterday barely anyone knew Paul Shirley, an NBA journeyman whose three-year career included a brief stop with the Atlanta Hawks. Then he decided to publish an online screed about the disaster in Haiti.
"First of all, kudos on developing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere," he wrote in an imaginary letter to Haitians signed "The Rest of the World." "Your commitment to human rights, infrastructure and birth control should be applauded."
"As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it's possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor?" wrote Shirley, who said he wouldn't be donating to Haitian relief efforts. "Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?"
Even Shirley, 32, seemed unsure whether his remarks were appropriate, blogging "I do not know if what I’m about to write makes me a monster."
Hard to say, but it did cost him a job. ESPN.com quickly released a statement Wednesday morning disassociating itself from the freelancer's comments: "He will no longer contribute to ESPN," it said.
Shirley, now playing professionally in Spain, made his NBA debut with the Hawks during the 2002-03 season, appearing in two games. The Iowa State grad scored zero points and grabbed one rebound.