Thursday, October 18, 2007

Not really sure what I think.

Until I started to analyze it, I thought I liked Jason Whitlock's column this week.

Filed under "Gee, you don't have to look far in the comments before someone calls him 'Uncle Tom'":
African-American football players caught up in the rebellion and buffoonery of hip hop culture have given NFL owners and coaches a justifiable reason to whiten their rosters. That will be the legacy left by Chad, Larry and Tank Johnson, Pacman Jones, Terrell Owens, Michael Vick and all the other football bojanglers.
"Bojanglers" is one of those words I wish I was allowed to use. It's succinctly descriptive. But I don't believe anyone intentionally sets out to "whiten their rosters."

In terms of opportunity for American-born black athletes, they're going to leave the game in far worse shape than they found it.

It's already starting to happen. A little-publicized fact is that the Colts and the Patriots — the league's model franchises — are two of the whitest teams in the NFL. If you count rookie receiver Anthony Gonzalez, the Colts opened the season with an NFL-high 24 white players on their 53-man roster. Toss in linebacker Naivote Taulawakeiaho "Freddie" Keiaho and 47 percent of Tony Dungy's defending Super Bowl-champion roster is non-African-American. Bill Belichick's Patriots are nearly as white, boasting a 23-man non-African-American roster, counting linebacker Tiaina "Junior" Seau and backup quarterback Matt Gutierrez.

Racial classifications are so silly. Gonzalez is Cuban-American; most surveys wouldn't consider him white, depending on what kind of point they wanted to make (he's also the next Marvin Harrison). He didn't mention how he classified Ramon Guzman...and I will buy a beer for anyone who can pronounce Freddy Keiaho's given name.

But it's not really about skin color or family name, other than race is the current, overused, (inaccurate) proxy for "culture":

Hip hop athletes are being rejected because they're not good for business and, most important, because they don't contribute to a consistent winning environment.
You don't say.

We are in the process of mishandling the opportunity and freedom earned for us by Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Doug Williams, Mike Singletary, Gale Sayers, Willie Lanier and countless others. And those of us in the media who have rationalized, minimized and racialized every misstep by Vick, Pacman and T.O. have played an equal role in blowing it.

It's so rare to see anyone in media accept blame for the role the media plays in redefining dysfunctional behavior as "just part of their culture."

By failing to confront and annihilate the abhorrent cultural norms we have allowed to grab our youth, we have in the grand American scheme sentenced many of them to hell on earth (incarceration), and in the sports/entertainment world we've left them to define us as unreliable, selfish and buffoonish.

Straight from Bill Cosby and Juan Williams. It's just shocking to hear it applied to professional football, to black men who have supposedly "made it", and to an occupation that's 70% black.

Hip hop is the dominant culture for black youth. In general, music, especially hip hop music, is rebellious for no good reason other than to make money. Rappers and rockers are not trying to fix problems. They create problems for attention.

That philosophy, attitude and behavior go against everything football coaches stand for.
I'm suddenly reminded of the clip from the Simpsons where Abe makes fun of Joe Namath's fur coat and sideburns. "Now, Johnny Unitas--there's a haircut you could set your watch to!"

If the piece was just an indictment of the hip-hop culture and its detrimental effects on NFL teams (not to mention its detrimental effects on black men who couldn't play at that level), why start off with complaining about rosters with white guys at the start of the essay? And why, for the love of all that does not suck, the unsubstantiated unnecessary suggestion at the end that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are racists???
Whether calculated or not, the Patriots and the Colts have created settings in which Brady and Manning can lead and feel comfortable.
Is that the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down??

I'm also going to deduct style points for using the word "buffoon" three times in one essay.


Unknown said...

Heather-Radish, I'm of like mind, if I may say so.
The phony hub-bub of Donovan McNabb and Rush Limbaugh several years ago, merely proves a point.
Up to and even this season, McNabb have given interviews in which he states that "PEOPLE DON'T WANT HIM/THEM TO ACHIEVE". The point is that "THEY" don't want "BLACK" quarterbacks to achieve.
It's so fucking absurd to make me vomit.
Numerous NFL teams employ "starting" black quarterbacks, at the cost of MILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIONS of dollars. How do these pin head ass-hats get CREDENCE when they say such BULLSHIT.
Campbell at REDSKINS,
Culpepper at Oakland.
Vick at Atlanta,
Leftwich at Jacksonville and Atlanta,
McNair at Baltimore.
Charlie Batch, etc etc etc,
Blacks are one in 6-7 of America's population and 1 in 5-6 of starting Q-B'S.
A better question would be.


HeatherRadish said...

Yeah, that should be the most obvious thing in all sports: No one hires guys they don't believe can win.

I don't care about the lack of white guys in some roster spots (I admit to falling off a bar stool the first time I saw Luke Lawton run up the middle, but there was Hacker-Pschorr involved). I'm just incredulous that it's 2007 and people still insist on seeing the color of a guy's skin instead of his numbers and skills. You can't completely distill a QB's game performance down to numbers (see Tony Romo Week 5), but there are all kinds of statistical ways to evaluate anyone in the NFL, and the only color you need to factor in is his jersey.

(OTOH, I'll wonder why no one's het up about the dearth of NFL players of southeast Asian descent...)

How did Warren Moon manage to play without "role models" or his mamma calling Al $harpton?