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Fearless: Controversies surrounding NBA legends Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd prove America must re-embrace forgiveness

Op-ed
Jason Kidd, left, and Chauncey Billups, right, in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Secular societies do not forgive. They lie in wait seeking the right time to exact vengeance.

Ask Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd. The two legendary NBA point guards recently landed head coaching jobs in Portland and Dallas, respectively. Their past sins haunted the announcements of their new jobs.

Our new woke, godless society now calls for past sins to be re-litigated, re-examined, and re-repented.

In 1997, when Billups was 21, a woman accused him and two other NBA players of sexually assaulting her. Billups settled the case in civil court. Criminal charges were never pressed.

In 2001, Kidd pled guilty to domestic abuse against his then-wife, Joumana. He was hit with a $200 fine and ordered to take anger management classes. His criminal record was later expunged. Over the last decade, Kidd has been the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.

America has undergone a dramatic cultural shift in the past two decades, particularly in the last five years when Trump Derangement Syndrome provoked his resisters to impose a hard-line secular ethos.

Forgiveness is the primary tenet of Christianity. As we abandon the Judeo-Christian values that defined the first 240 years of this country, we're abandoning our resolve to forgive. Because we all sin, forgiveness fuels progress and reconciliation.

Today, if someone says anything that offends a group considered marginalized, it justifies permanent cancellation. Today there is no statute of limitation on sin. Double jeopardy, triple jeopardy, quadruple jeopardy are all allowed if the perpetrator represents the "wrong" point of view.

Today, in our cynical woke culture, your worst actions define you permanently.

That's why at Billups' opening news conference, reporters wanted to grill Billups and the organization about 24-year-old resolved allegations. Billups contends all of his actions with his accuser were consensual. The Trail Blazers said on Tuesday that they re-investigated the 24-year-old he-said/she-said sexual assault allegation. The Trail Blazers said they believe Billups' narrative.

Billups opened his press conference addressing the controversy:

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about how every decision that we make could have a profound impact on a person's life. I learned at a very young age as a player, not only a player but a young man, a young adult, that every decision has consequences. And that's led to some really, really healthy but tough conversations that I've had to have with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time in 1997, and my daughters about what actually happened and about what they may have to read about me in the news and in the media.

But this experience has shaped my life in so many different ways. My decision-making obviously. Who I allow to be in my life, the friendships and relationships I have and how I go about them. It's impacted every decision that I make and it's shaped me in some unbelievable ways.

Let me tell you why I believe Billups. My worst mistakes changed me and reshaped my approach to life. I'll give you two examples.

As a 17-year-old high school senior, I bullied one of my football teammates. In 1984, I was the captain of our nationally ranked, state championship-winning team. I was in charge of the postseason tradition of buying gifts for the entire coaching staff. The tradition was the team captain collected $10 from every player and used the money to buy the gifts.

Well, one of my teammates told me: "The coaches didn't do s**t for me. I'm not giving them a f***ing thing."

I was furious. I loved our coaches. We had a magical football season. It was our school's first football state championship. We all received state championship rings. The teammate who refused to donate to the coaching fund never played, but received a state championship ring like everyone else.

I bullied the kid for the rest of the school year. One Friday night, he walked into a pizza parlor where a bunch of kids were socializing after a basketball game, and I spit in the kid's face.

It took me a year to figure out how reprehensible my behavior was. Each year since, my regret, remorse, and resolve to atone grew stronger. But it wasn't until 1990, my final year of college, that I fully understood the error of my ways.

I was a bouncer at the most popular bar on campus, Papa Lou's Chug. I was the stereotypical dumb ex-football player. I used to drink on the job. A girl I liked came to the club. She promised to go home with me at the end of the night. I got liquored up. She spent most of the night dancing with an old high school classmate, a dude about 5-foot-8, 160 pounds.

I accused him of doing something wrong, beat him up, and threw him out of the club. The girl ended up going home with one of my teammates. She called me the next morning livid and explained to me what happened. I didn't remember.

I called the kid and apologized profusely. I offered or gave him money for his bloody shirt. Most importantly, I vowed to never fight again, to never bully anyone again. I've kept those promises.

The mistakes I made molded my journalistic worldview. They taught me a lesson about the abuse of power. As it related to physical strength and size, I was an elite and used my advantages to exploit people "beneath" me.

It's part of the reason I despise elites.

I'm so thankful that my mistakes didn't land me in real trouble. I'm thankful I was given a chance to evolve and become a better person.

I suspect the same thing has happened to Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd. I hope it has. I know that their 20-year-old mistakes shouldn't cost them the opportunities they've earned today.

A society that refuses to forgive is a society that will destroy itself.
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