Today’s Moron: Dave BingMarch 11, 2009
I know you’ve heard of Kwame Kilpatrick. The former mayor of Detroit quit last year after he was caught in a web of lies stemming from an affair he had, and some cellphone calls or text messages or something. It was all very sordid. And he kept sinking himself by continuing to lie as his old lies were exposed.
Now there’s going to be a special vote, on May 5, to replace him. One of the candidates is Dave Bing, a former NBA great who has become a pretty prominent Detroit businessman. Bing played for the mighty Pistons from 66 to 75, then went on to Washington and finally the Celtics before retiring. Now he runs a pretty major steel company that supplies the auto industry, among other things.
His mayoral campaign has taken a fair bit of a hit, though, as Bing has been caught bullshitting about his education. Here’s the issue: he was recorded giving a speech in which he said he had an MBA from General Motors Institute (now known as Kettering University, because really, do you want to go to a college named after a car company?) As it turns out, though, he doesn’t. In fact, he didn’t even graduate from Syracuse University in 1966 as his bio claims; he completed his degree in 1995. Minor, but telling.
Ah, but Dave can’t stop lying. He has a classic excuse for why he claimed to have a master’s degree when he in fact did not. Check this out:
“I felt I had an MBA for the work I had done in the industry I was in,” Bing told the Detroit Free Press. “When I made references to an MBA, it wasn’t that I went there and got it, but through what I had done”
I’m not sure how that works. He felt he … deserved … what? Maybe he should tell people he has a PhD in rebounds or dribbling or something. The same principle applies.
Okay, here’s an addendum to my advice on how to avoid being Today’s Moron: Don’t lie. Don’t lie in public. Don’t lie on the record. Don’t lie if you’re running for mayor to replace a guy who resigned in disgrace, for, uh, lying. Because here’s the thing: everything can be checked. And everything can be checked right away. And everything can be checked by anyone. If the reporter drops the ball, a reader will Google you and learn the truth.
There are no secrets. Not anymore. Not in politics, and definitely not in Detroit politics.
I hope Detroit doesn’t end up with this guy in the big chair. I know politics requires some ethical and moral flexibility, but this kind of blatant bullshittery is a sign of bigger problems.
He was a pretty good ball player, though. And I’m surprised he didn’t take the easy out: “MBA? I never said anything about an MBA. I said I played in the NBA!” Might even have worked.