Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Black Men Can Think; ESPN Can't

LZ Granderson has an excellent column over at ESPN.com's Page 2, discussing race in sports. More accurately, the column is about the media's view of race in sports.
Could you imagine what would happen if Hollywood released a comedy about football entitled "Black Men Can't Throw"? Rush Limbaugh would be sitting in the theater chuckling with a box of Ho Hos in his lap as movie execs tried to explain to Jesse Jackson and/or Al Sharpton why he/they should not be offended.
Yet men and women of both races who are otherwise intelligent not only embrace
the notion inherent to "White Men Can't Jump," but it is spoken about as if it's scientific fact.
This is true in the barbershop.
This is true at the local Y.
Apparently it's true on national television as well.
Just last week I watched a pair of journalists dismiss the pro potential of both Tyler
Hansbrough and Kevin Love for no other reason than their skin color.
"The last time a big white guy from college especially went from a big-time star to a
big-time star in the NBA, I think there were still laces on the ball," one of
them said.

What was both brave, yet ultimately disappointing, about Granderson's piece is that the "journalists" that he was taking to task worked for ESPN. Yep, it's true: The conversation occurred last Friday on ESPN2's "First Take" morning show. In the regular segment "First-and-10", host/moderator Jay Crawford, regular Skip Bayliss and Robert Parker (who is black) had the above described discussion. Indeed, it was Parker that made the laces comment.

Not one of them stopped to consider how racist the discussion was -- the subtext being that none of these white college players have much of a shot in the NBA.

One of the things that stunned me was that in this conversation, no one mentioned that a white guy has been named NBA MVP for three years in a row -- Steve Nash twice and Dirk Novitski. Furthermore, the second best player on San Antonio is, arguably, Manu Ginobli. The Lakers went from a part-of-the-pack team to legitimate contenders when they got Pau Gasol.

Are we then to say that because these players are all non-American that they aren't "white"?

Granderson himself often sits in the "First-and-10" chair opposite Bayliss. Thus, the disturbing part of the piece is that either he felt compelled not to "out" his colleagues in this column -- or was told by higher-ups at ESPN.com that he couldn't. On the face of it, I can't believe an editor would allow a writer to get away with saying "a pair two journalists were talking about so-and-so" -- without identifying the participants and the show in which the discussion took place.

If so, that's even more troubling. It suggests that ESPN is happy to use its power to have "journalists" trade in offensive stereotypes -- but are unwilling to take the heat when one of their other writers calls them on it.

Well, good for Granderson for going as far as he could.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Web raggedthots.blogspot.com
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook