Friday, April 29, 2011

French national soccer team goes all reverse affirmative action and shit


Last week, Clemente discussed efforts in the NBA to "take the black out of the game" by cracking down on trash talking.

Well, across the pond in France, the national soccer (or "football" if you prefer) team has taken things to a whole 'nother level. According to a report from the website mediapart.fr, they have set a plan in motion to quite literally "take the black out of the game".  With approval from coach Laurent Blanc--which, appropriately enough, means "white"-- members of the French Football Federation's National Technical Board have signed off on a 30% quota on black and (predominantly Muslim) North African candidates for the national team coming out of the country's youth training academies.

As the report explains:
Members of the French Football Federation's National Technical Board, including the France team coach Laurent Blanc, have secretly approved a quota selection process to reduce the number of young black players, and those of North African origin, emerging from the country's youth training centres as potential candidates for the national team, Mediapart can reveal.

The plan, presented in November 2010, involves limiting the number of youngsters from black and Meghrebi African origin entering the selection process from training centres and academies as early as 12 and 13 years of age.
Gather round kiddies as I tell you a story. A lonnnnnng time ago, the sons and daughters of Jewish people who migrated to America at the turn of the 20th century were graduating from high school and going on to attend some of the most elite universities in the country. But the problem was that the Jews were taking up spots at these schools that used to belong to the old money WASPs. Obviously, this could not be allowed to continue.  So the universities devised quota schemes to limit the number of Jews and other "undesirable" ethnic groups that could be admitted. "Cornell, Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Yale [...] had rigid quotas in place. In 1935 Yale accepted 76 applicants from a pool of 501. About 200 of those applicants were Jewish and only five got in," David Oshinsky writes in his book Polio: An American Story. The restrictions were made quite clear: "Never admit more than five Jews, take only two Italian Catholics, and take no blacks at all." Of course, things could have been worse for Jews around that time.

Mr. White
The French team's decision to enact quotas comes after the players' mutiny at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa which the black and Muslim team members were seen as the primary organizers of. In addition, concerns about the dual citizenship of the youth academy attendees are cited for the decision:
A report commissioned in 2010 by the DTN, which controls French football coaching policy, and which focused on the results at the INF coaching centre at Clairefontaine, concluded that too many players with dual nationality, or who can claim dual nationality, go on to join a foreign national team after being trained in France.
But coach Blanc has reportedly laid the racial aims of the policy bare--framing them in terms of a desire to foster a sense of shared "culture" and "history" on the team:
France national team coach Laurent Blanc said he was "favourable" for a change in the selection criteria for youth talent as of the age of 12 to 13 years in order to favour those who sources said he described as having "our culture, our history".
Them Africans, they just don't get us, our culture, our history. Thus, they agitate.

Blanc is also reported to have framed the decision in the biologistic language of racialism that should be familiar to American sports fans:
Mediapart has learnt that during a DTN meeting last year, Laurent Blanc suggested that a stereotype of player, which he reportedly described as "large, strong, powerful" needed to be changed. According to Mediapart's sources, he told the meeting of DTN board members: "And who are the large, strong, powerful? The blacks. That's the way it is. It is a current fact. God knows that in the training centres and football academies, there are lots."
As we've said before, Jimmy The Greek lives, and now he's speaking French. It's not that we don't like these players because they are black, the logic goes, it's that we don't like what they bring to the pitch as players, which is an unfortunate and immutable outcome of their biological makeup. Quoth Lyon training director, RĂ©mi Garde:
It is not a question of colour, but a question of profile. We have always tried to recruit players who have a certain intelligence for the game. But you can be big, strong and intelligent. We'll listen to the messages from the DTN, but for the moment, we haven't yet discussed anything. 
You might notice that this line of reasoning recalls the ages old argument that whites are better suited for the quarterback position in American football thanks to their "innate intelligence," which is required to succeed there.

French politics are funny, and distinctly European. On the one hand, the country has a strong labor movement and an active left wing political scene that can usually garner a non-negligible percentage of the vote in national elections. On the other hand, out-and-out Fascists like the viciously anti-immigrant Jean-Marie Le Pen can capture nearly 20% of the presidential vote. The national team's decision to institute a quota policy must be seen in the context of broader debates in the country around the question of immigration from France's former colonies in Northern Africa and the country's rising Muslim presence.

For his part, Blanc has "reject[ed] these accusations which run contrary to his whole philosophy." Because, I mean, what the fuck else is he gonna do?
________

Thanks to @scottdkessler for pointing me to this article.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sports That Black People Don’t Like (But I Love)


As the realization sank in that my beloved Penguins’ season had officially come to an end, I had another moment of clarity:

I was the only black person that cared.

Seriously. As I tweeted and updated my Facebook, not a single status from Jaquan DaRealestInDaRoom Dobson (The black version of John Doe) mentioned the amazing hockey games that took place last night. And then I realized that black people really just don’t like hockey. And again, this is simply a generalization, like saying that all Asians are good at math. They’re not. I cheated off the white kid next to me in Calculus.

But I digress.

Generalizations and/or stereotypes are often cultural norms that stretch across the majority of people in a given group. I’m sure that Mike Grier’s parents tolerate their son’s funny proclivity for the “white boy’s game.” But on the whole, people of a darker hue don’t really get down with skates.


This realization got me thinking about a few sports that I really enjoy that (most) black people are missing out on…

Hockey

As I’ve said, there wasn’t much tweeting from Black folks regarding playoff hockey. I’m not exactly sure why black people don’t like hockey. It could be because it’s cold orrrrrrrr it could be like many things not fully embraced by the everyday black person a matter of access. Do you know how much it costs to play hockey? Factoring in attire, pads, skates, sticks, rink time and any other miscellaneous incidentals, you sort of need to be in that “Republican, by default” tax class to afford to play. Unless, of course, you parlay your crafty street hockey skills into a full scholarship at the prestigious Eden Hall.

Lacrosse

One of my biggest regrets from my prep school days is not playing lacrosse. Per usual, this is a game stolen from the very tan Native American folks and reapparopriated by the evil white man. Had I not made that 45 minute trip out to the suburbs for school, I would have never been introduced to one of THE most exciting sports imaginable. It allowed me to give into my natural negroid instinct to run around, but also required the finesse of stick handling (I’m too progressive to call “no homo.”). But don’t think for a second that we haven’t Tiger Woods’d this game either. Shouts to the G.O.A.T. athlete Jim Brown.


Soccer

Now this one always gets debate. “Brown people across the WORLD love soccer.” Nah homie. They like FOOTBALL. Don’t get it twisted, folks. Soccer is a global powerhouse, uniting black, white and everything in-between. But do you know how you really know black people have embraced something deemed “white?” It’s not when 2nd generation, culturally diverse, albeit Americanized Achubu likes the game, it’s when my dude from the block Jaquan embraces the game. While I’ve seen soccer embraced by blacks in America, this is often restricted to those of a non-American black background. And this, I believe, makes a difference. Until I see little black kids playing soccer in Timbs, beaters and fitteds--the way basketball is played in my neck of the woods--I’m still keeping it in the “Things White People Do” category.

Golf

Yeah…I know…Tiger Woods. Listen, it is one thing to WATCH Tiger and root for HIM and it’s another to be a fan of golf itself. And as an avid golfer, trust me, there aren’t many of us out there. There’s a reason that every time I go out on the course someone yells out “TIGER WOODS!”

1. Because all white people, minus Fuqua, think all black people look alike.

2. I look like Tiger Woods.

It’s probably for the better though. If more black people started golfing, we would probably put rims on the carts and shoot music videos on the green because, you know, that’s what black people do apparently.

Heaven forbid they give us an airline.

Baseball

Black people really aren’t THAT interested in baseball. And I don’t know why exactly. My teams always consisted of myself and maybe one other black kid to round out our very, very white squad. I actually think that the only all-black baseball team NOT in the Negro League was coached by Keanu Reeves. Even the “black” looking players in the MLB are usually dark-skinned Dominicans. That’s why I always appreciate seeing super black, dreads down to the socks, Florida-born Andrew McCutchen running out onto the field. Because that guy is BLACK….like cocoa butter and First Sunday black.

But again these things are generalizations. Outside of baseball, I actually enjoy these sports much more than Fuqua. He's too busy watching those big black kids play basketball while I enjoy the black upward mobility of country clubs and white women.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BOMBSHELL: Luke B. Scott convicted of locking girlfriend in dog kennel


This just in from tipster extraordinaire @neilpeterman: Big Black Kids All Star Luke Brandon Scott has been convicted on two counts of assault, terroristic threats, and false imprisonment in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to testimony, Scott brutally beat his girlfriend Caitlin Hodges and proceeded to lock her in his basement dog kennel overnight. As the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports:
During closing arguments Monday morning, Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Janice Barker said Hodges told Scott she no longer wanted to be intimate with him. This made him angry and he refused to let her leave his house in the 1200 block of East Reaney Avenue, Barker said.

Barker then cataloged the abuses she said Scott inflicted upon Hodges: She said he slapped her, threw her to the ground, punched her, bit her, made her mop up spilled beer with her hair, dragged her by the hair, wrapped his arm around her throat, kicked her, hit her with a riding crop, hit her in the mouth with a bottle and knocked out her tooth, held a knife to her face, pointed a pellet gun at her eye and threw his own dog against a refrigerator.

"He tells her, 'I'm going to hang you from the basement and let you bleed slow,' " Barker said. "He tells her to go into the dog kennel because that's where the (female dogs) belong."

Hodges, 21, testified that Scott eventually unlocked the door early Sept. 27 and that she walked to a SuperAmerica station to get help.

"The night became a night of terror for her," Barker said. "The night became a night of fear. The night became a night of degradation."
Crazy. Now, you may be thinking that this is just a coincidence. Luke Brandon Scott is a relatively common name and there's no way that Luke Brandon Scott of the Baltimore Orioles could possibly be our perp. But photographic evidence is inconclusive and doesn't assuage my suspicions in the slightest:

Luke Brandon Scott
Luke Brandon Scott
The only person who can put these suspicions to bed once and for all is Luke Brandon Scott himself, by simply producing his birth certificate. If he truly has nothing to hide, then all he has to do is release his documentation to the public.

Shit, even Barack Obama--who Scott has called on to do the same thing--has been able to do this much:


For every moment you are silent, Luke Brandon Scott, our mistrust grows. Prove us wrong.

Carl Everett Goes to Jail


Busted
Something tells me that if former journeyman outfielder and DH Carl Everett ever met Luke Scott, a beautiful friendship would soon blossom. They just share so many interests--think about it. Both men have staunch right-wing political views. Both show an interest in conspiracy theories. Both are deeply religious. And, apparently, both men are gun nuts.*

While Luke Scott uses his guns for such unobjectionable things as killing animals, target practice, and "protection for when the government comes to get me," though, Carl Everett points his at his wife's head. Via Yahoo.com
LUTZ, Fla. (AP)—Former Major League outfielder Carl Everett was in a Tampa jail Tuesday on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after putting a handgun to his wife’s head, according to police records.

Everett, 39, was arrested Monday night at his home in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. He was also charged with tampering with a witness and was being held in the Hillsborough County Jail.
Now, if Carl Everett held a gun to his wife's head, she CLEARLY had it coming. But as of now, all we can do is speculate about what she did to set him off. I have a few theories.

1. When planning a trip to New York, she expressed interest in visiting the American Museum of Natural History. Everett steadfastly denies that dinosaurs ever roamed the Earth:
"God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve," Everett said last Friday, before the Red Sox lost two of three in Atlanta. "The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex."
Noticing that Mrs. Everett seemed particularly keen on seeing the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, Carl took exception. It is his belief that all of the "fossils" contained therein are in fact "made by man." As the argument grew increasingly heated, Mrs. Everett cited radiocarbon dating techniques which prove conclusively that dinosaurs did indeed live millions of years ago. Out-debated, Carl flew into a rage.

Not real
2. Mr. and Mrs. Everett were enjoying a romantic evening under the stars. While admiring the brightness of the moon, Mrs. Everett remarked off-hand: "Isn't it incredible to think that humans have actually walked on that?" Actually, for Carl it is not impressive at all, because it never happened:
He complemented his alarming rages against manager Jimy Williams by offending fellow teammates and sports writer Dan Shaughnessy with doubts about the existence of dinosaurs and the moon landing.
"Baby, that shit never happened," Carl replied. Mrs. Everett then rattled off a dozen reasons that moon landing conspiracy theories are implausible compared to the simplest explanation that the landing took place. On the car ride home from the park, Mrs. Everett remarked jokingly "How can you deny that the moon landings happened when you are constantly on another planet?" Furious, Carl drew his weapon.

3. Carl returned home from an all-day autograph signing appearance at a local mall to see his wife watching "RuPaul's Drag Race". Everett is, of course, a noted homophobe:
Gays being gay is wrong. Two women can't produce a baby, two men can't produce a baby, so it's not how it's supposed to be. ... I don't believe in gay marriages. I don't believe in being gay.
There was no argument. Everett pulled his gun on sheer impulse. The cruel irony here is that if Carl ends up doing prison time, he will be foreced to come to terms with homosexuality rather quickly.

The coming days promise to be suspenseful as we wait to see which of the above theories proves true.
_____

*Where the relationship could reach a sticking point is the first time Luke Scott calls Everett a "savage" and an "animal" and then attempts to pelt him with banana chips. After all, Everett had a history of accusing his many managers of racism over the years. It seems unlikely that he would stand for this kind of treatment from Scott.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Great White Hope of Football


While reading over Fuqua’s most recent post and eventually finding myself taking a look at the original site itself, I found a glaring omission to the list of important white athletes. After perusing the list and comments, a rather demanding task considering my diminutive negro intellect, I found no mention of (White) America’s new favorite sports hero, Peyton Hillis.

Now I totally understand omitting Aaron Rodgers, I’ve personally seen that supposed “white man” fraternizing with big black negroes on every single play. He is the definition of a race traitor.

But Peyton Hillis?

This guy epitomizes racial supremacy. We’re talking about a hulking white man, who manages to punish his predominately black counterparts on a daily basis. Furthermore, we’re talking about a white man who plays in the backfield, a position stolen by the negro, thanks to obvious biological differences in the beastlike black man.

I mean let’s be honest, Hillis is the best white back since John Riggins (I don’t count Mike Alstott, he blocked for that inferior player Warrick Dunn for too many years.).

Now at this point, some of you out there may be laughing or even shaking your head at the obvious (perceived) sarcasm in my tone. Because only a white supremacist would actually consider the solid and talented, but not legendary, Hillis as one of the greatest white athletes alive.

Right?

I would agree, but then I think about the fact that millions of people are voting for this guy to be on the cover of the next installment in the Madden video game franchise. We’re talking about a guy who wouldn’t even have made the Pro Bowl this year had it not been for injuries. But for whatever reason, he’s considered to be one of the two most deserving players to appear on the coveted (or cursed) Madden cover.


I’ve raised this racial angle with others before and they just dismiss me by saying that Hillis is a fan favorite. And I’m fine with that, but what sets him apart outside of the fact that he is a white tailback, something about as common as a black kicker (RIP Reggie Roby). I respect him as a player, no doubt. But it’s not as if he has some attractive personality or some defining moment within the season. He's just a solid back who had a breakout season.

Oh wait…there was that whole “haters gonna hate” moment, in which Hillis told his tragic tale of being verbally abused and called “white boy” by black players simply because of the color of his skin.

Now if it that isn’t something galvanize folks around, I don’t know what is. Nothing grinds my gears more than hearing that someone is being attacked because of the color of their skin. As a black man, I cannot begin to understand what it is like for a minority like Hillis to be persecuted by his peers. Regardless of my position of privilege as a black man involved in sports, I can say that the treatment of Hillis is both disgusting and un-American and is in no way aligned with standard reactions to minorities attempting to achieve in uncharted territory.

So to all of the white supremacists out there, I suggest you go over to ESPN and make sure that the right (white) man is given the cover of Madden this year. God knows we don’t need that overachieving, redemptive, heartwarming Michael Vick on the cover. Because he’s black. And we all know black quarterbacks are just media perpetuated lies. Word to Rush Limbaugh.

Which athletes do white supremacists like?


It's been a slow last couple of days on the "racist shit in sports" front, so, as they teach you in journalism school, when the story's not coming to you, you have to go to the story (note: I don't know if they actually teach you this in journalism school).

Stormfront.org is a message board (cesspool?) where white supremacists can go to discuss everything from the white race's genetic superiority to the history of the Third Reich to finding an adequately Aryan life partner. So naturally, there is a section of the forum dedicated to discussing sports. Jackpot. Perusing the sports section, I came across a thread entitled "Favorite WHITE athletes"--as if the "white" part really needed to be emphasized on a fucking white supremacist message board.

So which athletes do white supremacists like? Most of the responses will not surprise you at all. In fact, the list of people mentioned in the thread reads like a who's who of successful white sportsmen and women. Athletes with Germanic and Nordic-sounding names do appear to be represented disproportionately, however. This is a list of the more notable names that, based on a completely unscientific eyeballing, appear the most:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Now I'm Not Saying That The NBA Is Racist...


Click image to enlarge
...but this is reaaaaaaaaally funny.

Despite my recent issues with the NBA that I spoke on yesterday, I actually do consider this to be an honest mistake.

Sometimes, we all forget that language, no matter how antiquated it may be, still carries problematic undertones. But it's cool, NBA.com, I ain't mad at cha.

And as a Lakers fan, I am glad to see that Pau was able to get the metaphorical monkey off of his back.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The NBA REALLY Doesn't Like Black People


A few days ago, ESPN Insider posted an interesting article regarding trash talking in the NBA. Using their impressively clever "Player X" section, the author is able to maintain complete anonymity and as the kids say, "go all the way in."

In this piece, myriad topics were covered regarding the sacred art of verbal desecration. One point, however, stood out more than the others.

"Player X" wrote:
The refs are at fault too. A lot of the T's you see called are preemptive; refs hear some noise and blow the whistle before it escalates. If you ask me, they're trying to take the "black" out of the game. Besides Bird, all the great trash-talkers have been black. We were born talking trash. They want to silence us, but that's like telling a bunny to stop jumping. The bunny can't help it.
So what do you think about "Player X's" commentary? Is he right? Is the NBA really trying to "take the black" out of the league?

To be frank, it's difficult to say because, this, like so many racialized moments these days, falls into an awkward gray area.

When the NBA began instituting the new rules regarding technical fouls, the first response my Southern-bred father had was simply, "This is Jim Crow." And to a degree, he had a point.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Luke Scott is a flaming racist, even if his "black friends" don't realize it


Luke Scott doing hoodrat stuff
Orioles left fielder Luke Scott came out of the proverbial "right-wing dumbass" closet this offseason when in an interview with Yahoo.com's David Brown he stated his belief, among other things, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States:
DB: You don't think that Obama wasn't born in the United States, do you?
LS: He was not born here.
DB: [Sighs].
LS: That's my belief. I was born here. If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go — within 10 minutes — to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, "See? Look! Here it is. Here it is." The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn't answer anything. And why? Because he's hiding something.
Rightly, Scott drew a lot of fire for his comments in the interview and has been pegged as a "right-wing nut, a borderline racist and a loudmouth redneck ballplayer" as Amy K. Nelson aptly puts it in her recent column at ESPN.com.

Luke Scott's hagiographer
Unfortunately for Nelson, that is just about the only thing that is apt about the column, which amounts to little more than a 4000 word apologia for baseball's biggest bigot. Nelson lays out her aims in the beginning:
Scott is one of baseball's most complex characters. His questions about President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship put him in headlines during an otherwise-quiet offseason. He speaks bluntly and with heavy opinions. He's fluent in Spanish and loves Latin culture, but in the clubhouse, he'll make potentially inflammatory comments to a Latino player who is his best friend -- throwing plantain chips at him to keep him in line. He wears religion on his sleeve.

Given all that, the simple assumption is that Scott is a right-wing nut, a borderline racist and a loudmouth redneck ballplayer who should keep his mouth shut.

But it's not that simple. Luke Scott will require a deeper line of thinking.
Now, one would think that "it's not that simple. Luke Scott will require a deeper line of thinking" implies that what follows in the column thoroughly rebuts the impression in many people's minds that Scott is a hick-ass, racist-ass, right-winger. With this opening, you'd expect the column to reveal how Scott's comments were just misunderstood. In fact, what we actually get is a picture of a player who is every bit the hick-ass, racist-ass, right-wing crackpot we thought he was--and more. As it turns out, it is that simple and Luke Scott does not "require a deeper line of thinking" at all.

Ultimately, the article reads like a profile of the prototypical tea-bagging, bible-thumping, gun-loving, conspiracy theory peddling "Real Amurrican" that watched Sarah Palin's Alaska show, and liked it. Nelson quotes Scott speaking at length about the Constitution, "our forefathers," and his subconscious admiration of the work of Horatio Alger:
Scott says that his overall message about accountability was missed, and it's all quite simple: He lives his life by certain principles, and chief among those is accountability. He believes in people working hard for their lot in life; he was raised very poor with little means. His family worked hard for its money, living off the land and not accepting any government assistance.

"Our forefathers got it; they got it, man," Scott says. "They took godly principles and they put them into action, and they developed our Constitution -- the land of freedom where each man is accountable and responsible for his actions. By the sweat of his brow and the effort he makes he can mark out his future, regardless of opportunity.

"Like me, I come from -- I didn't have the best baseball equipment, I didn't play in travel ball leagues. I played for Winkler Concrete and Martin Fernery, but I worked hard at what I did, and I gave God all I had."

Scott identifies himself as a constitutionalist politically, noting that he has concerns with both major political parties. And the Tea Party?

"I think what the Tea Party movement is -- I'm all for it; they're out there fighting for our rights, fighting for what our forefathers stood for," he says.
Those forefathers, such fantastic historical role models! Fighting for their God-given rights to own black people so they could throw banana chips at them and call them "savages" and "animals" to their heart's content. Wait. What?

Delicious foodstuff or racially loaded projectile?
Oh, that's right, in this article we also learn that Scott has an interesting way of showing his affection for his teammate and "dear black friend" (every white person needs one) Felix Pie:
"Felix is my friend," he says. "I give him a hard time. The reason why I give him a hard time is because there are certain people you deal with and you go up and talk to them, and it doesn't work. They don't understand.

"I tell him about some of the ways he's acted: 'Look, you're acting like an animal, you're acting like a savage.'"

Scott turns to his locker and pulls out a bag of plantain chips.

"So I throw bananas in his helmet. Here are my banana chips to remind him that whenever he acts like an animal, 'Hey, that's what other people are thinking. They're just not telling you, but that's what they're thinking about. And I'm telling you so that you're aware of that so you can make a cognitive decision to not behave like that.' I would want someone to tell me that instead of letting you making a jerk of yourself."
So, basically, Scott is a bigot to his "friend" to prepare him and toughen him up in the case that he ever encounters a bigot. But, you see, it's all okay because Luke Scott's teammates (including the black ones) don't think this behavior is racist at all. It's just Luke:
Why would Scott choose potentially loaded words like "animal" and "savage" -- and how can they not offend either his friend or anyone in the locker room who overhears? Most teammates asked about it laugh or smile. They cite it as part of the two players' playful relationship, part of life in a big league clubhouse -- there are things that fly in there that wouldn't in the outside world.
It appears that Scott's bigotry is so unrelenting that he has lulled even his black teammates into believing his behavior is normative:
Adam Jones, who is black, says it doesn't bother him because he knows Scott is a good person and the words do not come from a bad place. If it bothered Pie, who is a dark-skinned Dominican, it might be a different situation.

"He's not a redneck racist; his beliefs are his beliefs," Jones says. "Their relationship is uncanny, and Pie ribs him just as much. I don't think Luke means any racist thing by it. Trust me, if I see racism, I'll say some s---. Quickly."
What we are left with at the end of Nelson's piece is a frighteningly uncritical portrait of a man who in 1930s Germany would almost certainly have been an enthusiastic member of the SS. The "deeper line of thought" (and by the way, I hate the way that phrase sounds) into Scott doesn't provide an ultimately redeeming glimpse into the character of someone whose words were misunderstood and who has been unfortunately labeled as a yokel and a bigot. Quite the opposite, we now have hard evidence that he is quite deserving of both labels.

If there is any point that Nelson's article makes, it is apparently that "yes, Scott is a bigot, but he is honest about it and he speaks his mind, and that should be celebrated." As his teammate Mark Reynolds is quoted as saying:
"He doesn't hide it," Reynolds says. "He doesn't talk behind people's backs about anything. A lot of people have those opinions and don't say anything. Did I think he needed to go to the winter meetings and say all those things? Probably not. But he'll give you his opinion.
Take it from Amy K. Nelson, folks: it's okay to be a dumbass racist, as long as you are honest about being a dumbass racist.

Friday, April 15, 2011

On this day 64 years ago, a black man made racist baseball fans and players very mad


That black man was Jack Roosevelt Robinson. Today we celebrate his major league debut--the day the color barrier in baseball was broken.


On April 22nd, 1947, in just his fifth game in the major leagues, Robinson's Dodgers played the Phillies. During the game, the Phillies players called Robinson a "nigger" and said he should "go back to the cotton fields". Phillies manager Ben Chapman, Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey later reflected, "did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and united thirty men."  

As a Phillies fan this bit of history brings me a great deal of shame. But if it is any consolation, Robinson went 2 for 4 with a stolen base and a run scored that day. That run would prove to be decisive; his Dodgers won 1-0.

And if it is any further consolation, with Chase Utley on the disabled list, the Phillies currently feature a starting 8 with nary a honkey to be seen. 

Justice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kobe Shows Support For The LGBT Community


Allow me to go on the record in saying that I have been a long time Kobe fan. Through the complaining, tattling, alleged rape (I genuinely don't think he raped anyone...), and every other problematic personal issue that he as carried, I've always stuck to my guns in supporting the Lower Merion product.

And yet this time I can't really cosign his behavior.

Take a look:


Did you catch it? Kobe just called referee Bennie Adams a "fucking faggot."*

I often find myself annoyed with much of the (overly)political correctness of our society, but there's really no excuse for this sort of language. Period. And, trust me, I've heard every excuse in the book:

"He didn't mean it like that!"

"He wasn't using it against anyone gay!"

"That's just a word we use! It's like calling someone a bitch!"

These excuses make me laugh for several reasons. First and foremost, allow me to say that I have close friends that still use the term "faggot" or even "gay" in a pejorative manner. So I'm not some progressive leftist judging atop my soapbox. It is what it is.

But let's examine this closer.

These terms, used to describe members of the gay community are being connected to either:

a.) any sort of negative behavior

b.) any sort of feminine behavior

Whether directed towards someone of the gay community or not, the correlation exists that someone who is a "faggot" or "gay" is either wrong or wholly effeminate, both of which are disparagingly used towards another male.

If you don't think that's a big deal, imagine if the term "nigger" was applied to anything lazy or stupid. Imagine if Dirk had called even a white referee a "fucking nigger." Think about how well that would go over.

It wouldn't.

And yet, I still see people attempting to justify his actions.

At the very end of the day, I truly believe that Kobe used the term in that figurative way that a fth grade would regarding a particularly unfair homework assignment or a friend who got out of line.


So is Kobe Bryant homophobic?

I can't honestly answer that. But having spent a fair amount of time in Los Angeles, it's pretty difficult to be so in a diverse city such as that.

This isn't necessarily the actions of a bigot. Kobe Bryant isn't Tim Hardaway.

I do think though that Kobe Bryant is (as Red Forman would so accurately articulate it) a dumbass.

He is an idiot for the simple fact that he should have known better. If he had called Adams a "bitch," despite the fact that that problematically implies some sort of inherent inferiority in women, we probably wouldn't even be discussing this. However, if he had called Adams a "bitch nigga" this too would be front page news.

Why?

Because there is just certain language that you can't really use in the present. As a matter of fact, it's probably more damning to use a gay slur over a racial one at this point, especially considering the reappropriation of of terms such as "nigger."

If you're using gay slurs or terms in a modern context, you're about as played out as a betamax and I expect(ed) Kobe to know this.

I expect(ed) Kobe to understand that whether he liked it or not you just CAN'T use that type of language anymore.

I'm not here to judge Kobe's morality. If he wants to use every slur in the book in his private life, I honestly don't care. But when you're in a public forum, you simply cannot expose blatant offensiveness in the way that he did.

You can provide all of the excuses that you want, but this is certainly a low point in the career for one of the NBA's all-time greats. And this is coming from a fan.



*In case you think that I can't read lips, Kobe released this statement regarding his actions:

“What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the Heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”

**This post may be slightly off course of our usual race dialogue, but Kobe is a big black kid...so it's all good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Look Back At Tiger's Greatest Moment


As I watched my fellow, deceptively black, compatriot Eldrick "Tiger" Woods resurrect his entire career, thanks to an impressive (albeit slightly disappointing) performance at Augusta National, I began to reminisce over the golden days of that racially-confused sports hero that conspicuously bears an uncanny resemblance to...me (We could pass for brothers, easily.)

My dad, of course, found joy in watching highlights of Tiger's 1997 Masters victory, as the twenty-one year old became the first minority to win the tournament, as well as the youngest individual to win it. That day in history meant about as much to him as Obama Inauguration meant for my Civil Rights Era grandmother (Both of these occasions were grossly inflated, but let my people have their moment dammit!)

For me however, my fondest Tiger memory, the one in which I simply could not shake this weekend came in his finest moment, when all doubt was caste away, and we finally boxed Tiger into to a racial category.


Now this moment alone is both breathtaking and captivating. There's no doubt about that. But as I searched for this clip over the weekend, to have my own Tiger Woods experience, like my father, I was even more overwhelmed to find something else regarding this seemingly glorious moment in Tiger's illustrious career.

As easy a target Tiger Woods is, with the racial confusion, the NOT racial confusion (See: Prolific number of white women bedded), apparently dude has a sense of humor too.
All praise is due to the Honorable Eldrick Tont Woods.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Historically racist and sexist golf club is, indeed, still sexist


An important golf tournament happened this weekend at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. I don't know who won because I don't watch golf. I do know who lost, however: women.

After the tournament, journalist Tara Sullivan of The Bergen Record--who happens not to have a penis--was denied entry into the locker room for an interview with a golfer named Rory--presumably because she doesn't have a penis--while her male colleagues were granted entry. In an inspiring display of solidarity, they went right ahead with their interview. She tweeted:
Bad enough no women members at Augusta. But not allowing me to join writers in locker room interview is just wrong.
I guess it is somewhat outside of the scope of this blog to be talking about sexist shit in sports--we've already got our hands full documenting all of the racist shit out there. But, after all, it wasn't until 1990 that Augusta National admitted its first black member. As Sullivan notes, to this day they still do not admit members without penises.

Tara Sullivan: journalist without a penis
From this perspective, it shouldn't be at all surprising that an actively sexist golf club enforced one of its sexist policies. The better question is why the PGA Tour continues to use Augusta National as its venue for the Masters. Yahoo.com sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski wondered the same thing:
Augusta Nat. has long been a disgrace on so many levels and now barring @Record_Tara from locker room interviews. How does PGA allow that?
Perhaps it is because the PGA Tour is run by a bunch of rich, old white guys who really don't care about this kind of stuff very much.  Maybe the rich old white guys who run the PGA Tour are even friends with the rich old white guys who run Augusta National, and they don't want to make their friends look bad. But one would think that these kinds of controversies make both Augusta National and the PGA Tour look bad enough already. From a PR perspective, there must be a point at which this kind of bad publicity outweighs the benefit of hosting the Masters at a venue with a "strong tradition" like Augusta. Plus, I have a hard time seeing what's so great about the tradition of a place that didn't admit a black member until 1990 and still doesn't admit women.

If Tara Sullivan's fellow golf writers had any principles, they would refuse to cover any future PGA Tour events at August National until A) Augusta changes its policies towards women or B) the PGA Tour no longer uses their course for the Masters if they don't.

Fuck it, while we are suggesting ridiculous things that will never happen, I think General Sherman had the right idea when it came to dealing with the state of Georgia.

General Sherman says "burn the motherfucker down!" 

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's time to play RACIST or NOT RACIST?


In the first entry in what I hope will (or won't? EXISTENTIAL CRISIS OMG) be an ongoing series, we have this:



So, what's the verdict, folks? The Tomahawk Chop: RACIST or NOT RACIST? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Probably racist white guy (who used to be a Governor and Senator) thinks all black people play sports


George Felix Allen
George Felix Allen used to represent Virginia in the U.S. Senate. Before that, he was the Governor. On the campaign trail in 2006, he made the mistake of letting his inner racist shine through when he repeatedly referred to an Indian-American person as a "macaca." George Felix Allen was not re-elected in 2007.

Recently, George decided to have another go at it in 2012. He will seek the Republican nomination for the Virginia Senate seat. It appears, however, that George has not outgrown his fondness for saying racially insulting things.

To wit:
NBC 4’s reporter-anchor Craig Melvin is a tall African-American. Which apparently led to this exchange with former Sen. George Allen, according to Melvin’s Twitter account Tuesday night:

“For the 2nd time in 5 months, fmr. gov. and sen candidate George Allen asks me,”what position did you play?” I did not a play a sport.”
Not an athlete
 Allen, whose father used to be the head coach of the Redskins--who as far as I can tell did not come up with their racist name--offered this response:
@georgeallenva:sorry if I offended, ask people a lot if they played sports Grew up in fball family found sports banter good way to connect
I, for one, am willing to excuse George Felix Allen for his gaffe. After all, it is known to be true that some black people play sports. Indeed, a disproportionate number of them have been quite successful at it. So how can George be expected to assume a black person he meets didn't play sports? Take a look at some photographic evidence, after the jump.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday was the four year anniversary of Don Imus saying something racist


First off, congrats to the Texas A&M women's basketball team for beating Notre Dame last night to win the NCAA title.

I'm kicking myself because I forgot to post something about this on Monday. After all, what kind of self-respecting blog about sports and racism forgets to commemorate one of the highest-profile racist (and sexist) remarks concerning athletes in recent history on its fourth anniversary?

I'm talking, of course, about Don Imus and his notorious "Nappy Headed Hos" remark:



On the morning after Rutgers' loss to Tennessee in the 2007 NCAA Womens' Basketball Championship, shock jock Don Imus and his interlocutors took to the airwaves and clearly crossed a line with their bigoted remarks.

Almost as absurd as the remarks was the firestorm it set off. Racial Spokesmen (TM) Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton crawled out from whatever damp log they reside in for the better part of the year to spearhead the "movement" calling for Imus's head. Now, I'm not saying Imus didn't deserve to be reprimanded or even cancelled by MSNBC and CBS (as he was). He clearly did. But the entire controversy revealed as much about Jackson and Sharpton as it did about Imus.



Sharpton and Jackson have made their living by serving as "Black Voices"--the de-facto leaders of the "black community"--who claim to speak for a politically mute black population. This arrangement is a vestige of the Jim Crow era, when black political participation was tightly constrained. With traditional avenues for political expression unavailable, "black leaders" like Booker T. Washington emerged as spokesmen for an undifferentiated set of "black interests" in dealings with whites of wealth and power. Fortunately, blacks won the right to political self-expression thanks to something called "the Civil Rights movement."

One would think that this new political terrain would invalidate and render obsolete the Bookerite "Racial Spokesman" who claims to speak on behalf of a corporate racial interest. But no, every few years Sharpton, Jackson, and their ilk rally and foment outrage around racial controversies in order to reassert their relevance to black people under the presumption that they speak for the entire black population. Often you will hear them betraying this presumption with statements that begin with "black people want..." But this is a black population that is comprised of myriad different interests and voices. More importantly, since the defeat of Jim Crow, it is a black population that can express itself politically on the basis of these interests. It is a population that has the right to elect its leadership democratically. And the last time I checked, neither Jessie Jackson nor Al Sharpton got their positions as Racial Spokesmen by being elected to them.

So, happy birthday Don Imus's racist comment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jon Heyman is mad as hell


It appears as if my piece on Jon Heyman's curious distaste for Luis Castillo was picked up by a baseball blog and passed on to Heyman himself. As you can see below, he reacted to my speculation with the combination of bemusement and indignation one would expect from someone painted into a corner:

Thanks to @phylan for grabbing this exchange
To clarify, Jon (if you are reading this), obviously it would have been unreasonable for anyone to expect you to admit that you harbor a deep-seated--perhaps subconscious--racial bias when it comes to how you report and comment on players. To be honest, it wasn't even my intention to definitively label you a racist.

The problem is that when you hold such divergent opinions of two players whose on the field production is nearly identical, you invite speculation about your motives. If it clearly has nothing to do with their production, then it must be personal. And if it is personal, then it damn well might be racial.

The bottom line: if you are going to leave the door wide open for speculation, I (and others) will be more than happy to oblige you by walking right in and making myself at home.

P.S. Sorry to hear the bad news about your favorite restaurant. There's always Chick-Fil-A.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The (Racial) Implications of Assessing (Black) Quarterback Cam Newton





Recently former NFL (black) quarterback Warren Moon had a few choice words for the treatment of NFL prospect and former Auburn (black) quarterback Cam Newton.
In an interview with CBSSports, Moon had this to say:

"A lot of the criticism he's receiving is unfortunate and racially based," Moon said. "I thought we were all past this. I don't see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony. He's being held to different standards from white quarterbacks. I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we're not.

Moon added: "The thing that makes me laugh is the question of can he [Newton] come out of the spread offense? Can he run a pro offense? Colt McCoy came out of the spread offense and very few people raised that issue about him. So did Sam Bradford. Same thing. Very few questions asking if Bradford could run a pro offense. Some of these questions about Cam are more about his intellect. It's blatant racism, some of it."


There are two claims being made Moon, both of which I believe should be addressed. First and foremost, we can look at the way Newton is being perceived on a purely physical level -- that being how well he plays the game. Secondly, we should look at the way in which the media is discussing Newton as a person and what racial implications may be present.

The most difficult problem with assessing the style and ability of a quarterback such as Cam Newton is that you almost CAN’T have the discussion outside of his race, at least no implicitly. Much of Newton’s game is built upon his athletic talents in the run game. He’s not a pocket passer. He’s a tall, athletic scrambler who happens to pass the ball from time to time. The only legitimate comparison available is probably someone like Vince Young. But making a comparison such as this needn’t be a reason to hit the racism alarm as much as its merely a crime of absence. You can’t compare Cam Newton to a white quarterback if there is no comparable source.

Now in terms of Cam’s actual talent AS a (standard) quarterback…well that’s a completely different story. Perhaps, people who attack Newton’s skills and his ability to play at the next level are just bigots. They may be card carrying members of the Klan who still use the term “colored.” That’s always a possibility. BUT…they could also just recognize the inherent flaws in Cam’s game. Moon is right, no one questioned whether Sam Bradford could run a pro-style offense in the NFL. But that was less about Sam Bradford’s ethnically ambiguous makeup (Seriously...what is that guy…is he part Native American or Asian…a bit o’ Mexican?) and more about the fact that he was one of the most polished passers to come out of the draft in quite some time. There is no doubt that Cam Newton is a work in progress at the NFL level, his pre-draft workouts have proven this. Despite the fact that most people treated former Florida (white) quarterback Tim Tebow like Jesus Christ himself, he too, wasn’t above being pricked and prodded based upon technical quarterback mechanics. The simple fact that an unconventional quarterback like Cam is being considered in the first round has shown how far the idea of a black (read: athletic, scrambler) quarterback has come since the days of Warren Moon.

So do I think race plays a role in the assessment of Cam Newton? Perhaps. But most of the judgments on his skills are valid, regardless of race.

And this, of course, brings us to a discussion of how Newton is analyzed as a person. And this also happens to be where the waters get a bit murkier.

The most prominent and subsequently visible critique that I have read regarding Newton has come from ProFootballWeekly’s Nolan Nawrocki. He had this to say:

"Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room."

Ever since reading this, I’ve consistently had trouble defining my position on the matter. Because, in reality, I’ve always felt that Newton was a bit fake—at the very least scripted. Since his infamous brushes with the NCAA, I’ve heard more stock answers about trust in God and being a "servant of the Lord" and less authentic commentary and legitimate answers. It got to such an egregiously annoying point that I often forget that I was actually a fan of his play, first and foremost. I’ve never met Cam Newton, but everything I’ve seen from him really does come off as disingenuous. It’s quite obvious that he has some sort of PR firm working for him that simply didn’t craft an image that fits him well. And we all know that high profile athletes, and most individuals in the public light are fake. They can’t truly be themselves because they’re a branded image. I understand that. And yet, something about Newton really does come off as extra fake. It’s as if he can’t even fake his fake image well. Perhaps he’s just a really bad actor. Regardless, it’s difficult for me to disagree with much of the bad press around his attitude at all.




But then I ask myself, why are we talking about his smile at all? We’re not trying to date Cam Newton, we’re trying to assess his ability to lead a franchise. Yes, public image has a lot to do with whom you choose to make the face of your franchise and yet we haven’t heard much of anything regarding the locker room leadership of any other high ranking quarterback prospect. Nawrocki went on to later mention the fact that former Notre Dame (white) quarterback Jimmy Clausen received the same negative analysis when he was a draft prospect and this too is true. It seems as if every year a player is vilified to an epically unnecessary level. Whether it is because of race or not is a question that I cannot answer. However, I do believe that it’s safe to say that these vilified athletes tend to be of a darker hue.

As a whole, I’m still on the fence regarding the racial aspect of discussions about Cam Newton. For me, the situation rests in this sort of gray area in which I agree with the analysis and yet I'm uncomfortably unsure about the place from whence the commentary comes.

Whether it's about race or not Cam Newton was a great college quarterback with an incredible upside.

And this is the point where I want to say that I hope his career takes off like a runaway slave.

But I won't, cuz dats racist.