Written By Bakari Simpson: When sitting in a comfortable theater seat with popcorn in hand, the movies make life delightfully simple. The entire cinematic universe of the silver screen is routinely reduced to good versus bad. The hero’s wear bright colors, save the day and get the girl. Villains wear black, obsessively plot world domination and are unreasonably horny & evil because they never get the girl. When the spectator alights from the theater, there is rarely any emotional confusion. The ‘just’ were validated and the ‘vile’ were punished. It is all very simple. Shannon Briggs nicknamed “The Cannon” is not a simple man.
In a recent radio interview, Briggs was very candid when discussing a number of sensitive subjects. The dialogue took place on The Rita Cosby Show. One of the premiere topics covered was that of Shannon’s recent suspension for PED’s. When confronted with a direct question Briggs owned up to consciously using a performance-enhancing drug.
“I will admit to that. Yes, I did. I take full responsibility for what I did and I’m looking forward to addressing it not only in this conversation, but anytime it’s asked. I did take a performance-enhancement thing.
“And again, I apologize for those who feel that I hurt them. And I do – I do feel it because a lot of my fans, my friends and followers were looking forward to me fighting and becoming heavyweight champion for the third time, the first champion to do it in three different decades. So again, I feel sorrow for that. And again, I’m trying to make it better by staying focused, coming back and letting people know that I was down, but I’m not out.” ~Shannon Briggs
On the one hand, the Brooklyn native maintained that the usage was directly linked to his asthma. The bulky boxer has been plague with the ailment since his youth. However, on the other hand, Briggs in no way shied away from the fact that he was wrong to do so.
There is a two-fold tragedy in Shannon’s botched test. Firstly, his age of 46 makes him a very unlikely candidate to claim a major heavyweight title. Well, his age was supposed to have prevented that awesome feat. Nevertheless, the unveiling of Briggs failed test came on the eve of a title fight with Fres Oquendo. The sullied results rendered Briggs ineligible to fight for the belt. The second rationale rests upon the social media movement that Briggs created.
At this late point in his professional career, Shannon had become something of an inspirational character.
The Cannon has had an up and down career, but has claimed the heavyweight title twice. Throughout it all Shannon remained a hard-hitting guy with an excess amount of character. During this last stint in the professional ranks, Briggs has begun the “Let’s Go Champ!” movement. In addition, it was through this vehicle that he obtains more traction for his career. Yet, more than a tool to garner him more attention the Lets Go Champ! movement is ultra-positive. Shannon was encouraging all sects of people to chase their dreams and not settle for less. Shannon Briggs himself came up with the slogan when he realized his depression was getting the best of him.
The Cannon rededicated himself to the sport, lost nearly 200 pounds and injected himself back into the heavyweight scene. The entire process was masterful, entertaining and definitely inspirational. This is why Briggs underhanded tactics, for so many, comes as such surprising and devastating news. Hopefully, Shannon can salvage something out of this situation and create a positive result.
It would not be the first time that the Brooklyn boxer was force to show and prove.
For those in the know, Briggs has had quite a remarkable existence. The hardships of this cold world aligned themselves with Shannon very early in life. While still in the days of his adolescence, Shannon found himself battered by grim street realities. His father exited from his life by way of the penal system; his mother was rendered null and void by a heroin addiction. Sheltered by no parents a homeless Briggs would fend for himself from the age of 13 to 19.
Thankfully, Shannon Briggs would discover boxing and this provided his chaotic emotions a healthy outlet.
Unfortunately, Shannon Briggs finds himself ensnared in another hectic situation, and once again he means to use boxing as an escape. In an effort to prove his sincerity Shannon conducted, the Rita Cosby interview and openly admitted to his drug use. Of course, there will be countless who scoff at the effort but not all. Actually, this writer can’t think of any other active fighter who openly and conclusively admitted to using PED’s. For whatever reason that was refreshing.
In the end, Shannon Briggs is a complicated case study. The old cheat is unlikely to become champion but remains undeniably charismatic and intriguing. Despite his foul play, it’s hard not to admit I am rooting for Briggs to end on the highest high possible. Unlike formulaic movie scripts Shannon is no easily classified construct. The Cannon has suffered, lost and rebounded from some tremendous tragedies making him admirable and relatable. The Cannon has also lied and tried cheat the system making him somewhat a villain in the sport. Yet, who amongst us can say we have not strayed from some sacred path?
If his apology and remorse are genuine it is difficult not to feel a soft post for Briggs.
Not quite a hero, nor full-fledged a villain, Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs is just not a simple man.
Whatever tomorrow may hold let’s just wish him the best….
Lets Go Champ!
Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson