Sports Goggles

Time for a Station Break

with 33 comments

I was in the midst of writing something, but this is more important…. and it’s one of those “blogger” diary entry deals, so bear with me, please.

Another “out of the box” earnest Internet writer hit me up for a chat. We had a round-about concerning Brett Favre and racism for about an hour. Toward the end of our chat he turned the conversation to the paucity of good “bloggers” who say anything or real worth. And one of the observations that could be inferred from our conversation is that the higher you go in the “blogsphere,” generally the less quality content there is.

You can never convince me that 100-word blurbs that act as prefaces to link dumps and picture after picture after picture of half-naked women or “isn’t she hot” photos equals substance; it isn’t worth trying to argue with me about it, so don’t go there. And pap-filled snark day after day doesn’t mean diddly-pooh. In fact, I remember laughing aloud when I was told in an email by one of these types that, “My friends and I who own these blogs bust our asses all day long thinking of snarky jokes, so if that makes us members of the white, racist, frat-boy sports blogsphere crowd, I’m fucking proud of it.”

Yes, this quote is from an actual email from the one of the most popular sports blogs on the Internet from the days of the “Orange Roundie” flap; word for word.

The sites like the above described that are held in the highest esteem by mainstream writers for two, not necessarily mutually-exclusive reasons: mainstream sportswriters find them highly entertaining and titillating. Many writers see these sites as just the type of snark they’d write if they could be well-paid and still maintain their “authority” status. The other reason is that by portraying these sites as the best on the Web they automatically marginalize every other sports writer on the Internet. They count on a dutiful public to follow their lead and read those sites and click on the URL’s those sites suggest.

So, I write about mainstream journalism and journalists as much as I do because many of them cheat the public – and blame the public for their cheating. “I’m just giving the public what it wants,” is a popular refrain I hear from some of these people. Whenever a discussion gets to this point I either say or think, “How about giving them the truth?” Especially so in matters of race, or where racism – especially combined with another topic – is be a concern.

Take, for instance, Barry Bonds and steroids. Is he hated because people want to hate Barry Bonds or did the media create the public’s hatred of Bonds – and then fuel it? Is the “steroid scare” the creation of the public or the media? My feeling is, of course it is the creation of the media – particularly sportswriters and sports columnists.

The public’s knowledge of Bonds and steroids is based on what is disseminated to them by writers. Yet there is still the problem of how partial information or biased information makes it way to the public. Between the writer and the public is the editor.

Today, too many sports editors are not-were not journalists. They do not and cannot read copy presented to them with a journalist’s eye. The result is that they may miss some of the tell-tale signs of subtle or inadvertent bias. Because of this phenomenon, the editor reacts by what fits his worldview (and I write “his” because I do not know any female sports editors), his understanding of Bonds and steroids. Editor, then, play the role of congressmen – representatives of the public and more like them than they are like the journalist. Yet, when the journalist’s veracity is questioned it is the editor, a person who is more like a reader than he is a journalist, who suddenly flips roles and backs the writer, and tells the public the words of the writer are, by all accounts, true. For televised sports reporting, it is the producer who acts as the editor.

Once a template for Bonds and for steroids is set (this is true for any athlete or sports-related topic), that template becomes a working model for all reporting and programming having to do with their subject matter. So, over time, Barry Bonds and steroids become criminalized. If Bonds acts outside of this template, eye witnesses, even if they are reporters, will immediately seek to invalidate the act. Bonds becomes cunning and villainously intelligent in his ability to attempt to fool the journalist, and therefore the public. Any science with evidence that shows steroids to have potential benefits for the body are discounted as heresy by writers not equipped to understand the evidence if it was presented to them. And since the evidence does not fit the preset template for steroids writers, more often than not, fail to pursue the information before them.

This is why T.J. Quinn can stand in front of a camera and openly scoff to the point of chuckling at pro-steroids reports by Major League Baseball and MLB Player’s Association medical directors presented to the owners at MLB’s Winter Meetings.
It is why a book like “Game of Shadows” can exist with little in the way of counter-investigation.

And this is where I come in.

I see what is contrary. I see the “other side” of many subjects, many topics of discussion. Whenever it appears the hive mind is moving in one direction, there is a rat to be smelled and at least one other important facet to the conversation that is being shunned. And when I see the hive mind’s efforts begin to form public opinion, I tend to fulminate against what I am seeing.

In the case of Bonds, there is the context of Barry Bonds, his past, and how that forms who he is. It is a topic that has been largely unexplored by the media and when it is broached, derision is attached to the contextualization. The near total failure by the press to provide any real understanding of what makes Barry Bond tick is loathsome.

With steroids the failure might actually be more egregious than the press’ treatment of Bonds. I say that because of the pro-steroids science that exists and is being completely ignored. Quinn’s incredulous chuckle represented, for me, something so pompous – a “how could they” – and yet so -and I do not know if I have ever used this word to describe someone or some act but feel compelled to here – stupid that I nearly lost it. Did I use fulminate before? This was my Mt. Vesuvius moment of fulminating.

But Quinn’s act was somehow, sadly, “normal.”

The normalizing of that reaction to a pro-steroids outlook or the normalizing of shouting down someone who attempts to humanize Bonds can be extended to myriad contentious topics – like racism.

As I view the sporting landscape, pointing out racism in sports at every turn is essential because it is essential to understanding other rifts in our society. The venue of team sports is the one place where black and white people occupy the same space daily and work to achieve the common goal of winning.

Yet sportswriters cannot seem to look at this thing called sports and step outside of themselves for the moment that is the game and refrain from injecting race into the games they are paid to watch. It is as if they despise what they see so much that they feel it necessary to foment racism to ensure that their own whiteness is validated as the paragon of civility; that no black man or woman can be elevated above their white heroes – I’m sorry, did I write “white” heroes? I should have written “traditional” heroes.

Sure.

Because it’s a white, white world and the rest of us are just tourists, our visas can be taken from the rest of us at any moment – and without due cause. Being a minority in America is like being on the “no fly” list. No matter out alleged status, no matter our talents or accomplishments, we can be pulled out of line for no particular reason save for the fact that we’re on “the list.”

We can be pulled over for “driving while black.” Arrested as suspects for crimes committed because a crime was committed by a – fill in the minority – male, age 25 to 40, 5’8″ and 6’2″ between 160 and 200 pounds wearing a light-dark shirt and blue jean khakis with white or perhaps colored basketball-style shoes.

We can be guilty just for being us.

Too many white members of the sporting press let us know this every day; too many black members of the sporting press enable their white associates’ racism by chiming in and supporting their racist assertions. We saw it with NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas last year. We saw it with Don Imus’ statements about the Rutgers women basketball team; and with Michael Vick and Sean Taylor and Kelly Tilghman. We see it with the disparate treatment of white and black quarterbacks. We just saw it with Brett Favre.

We see it – racism – so much that it can become overwhelming.

And right now, I have reached the point of saturation point for writing about racism and the conditions and the corporate entities and those who are employed by those entities that allow it to continue unabated.

So, for a minute or two, I’m done.

The NBA playoffs are just around the corner, March Madness is approaching so fast that conference tournaments are being played and the first round games are not even being televised. The men of the PGA are beginning to turn their thoughts to the Masters, MLB teams are doing the spring training thing, and the NFL Draft is next month. And I feel like I’m missing too much of the games – at least writing about them and the players who play the games.

So, that’s where I’m headed for the next little while. And if something happens with Barry or ‘PEDs or racism or any of that stuff I’ll mention it in a Spotes Note or whatever and file it away for later. But unless the event is momentous, don’t expect much from me. I need a break.

And now back to our regular sports programming….

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33 Responses

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  1. I respect your feelings Dwil. Since I started my own blog, I’ve realized that constantly confronting any issue can be tiring and can almost sap the joy out of writing.

    So I respect you wanting to get back to just covering sports. Your first job can be dissecting how the Nuggets handled the Suns last night, just the way I predicted they would after the Shaq trade. All the problems with Shaq have been on display, and his recent uptick in rebounding has made me wonder how much he cheated his Miami teammates.

    Also, why is nobody talking about Nash’s inability to play with a big man or increasing turnovers or terrible defense?

    Those things are hurting the Suns worse than Shaq.

    Big Man

    March 6, 2008 at 10:55 am

  2. Big man I almost feel sorry for Shaq. If he thought my boy white chocolate and antoine walker played no defense. He must have never watched nash, diaw, barbose and Stat.

    Man what is up with the paper champ MVP nash. Everyone he guards puts up all star number. It was funny watching the sunflower seeds hide nash everytime down on the defensive end. Thats why they get killed by the hornets………nowhere to hide nash. He plays pargo he lights him up he defends CP3 he lights him up.

    I can’t blame all these loses on shaq. The dumb suns rarely give him the ball in the half-court. Plus when you have a big man and slow the game down you need a great wing player who can create his shot and go strong to the hole (and take over the game). This is something the suns don’t have. Baby bull barbose can go to the whole but is out of control and is streaky. But can’t pass to save his life. Nash can do all that fancy passing but can’t take over a game late. And can’t get to the hole and take the contact.

    Hill isn’t half the player he was.

    Basically the sunflower seeds are a joke of a team.

    origin

    March 6, 2008 at 11:16 am

  3. Big man basically the nuggets ran into a team that plays worse defense then them.

    origin

    March 6, 2008 at 11:17 am

  4. The Suns are bad on defense, but the biggest problem wast hat their offense deserted them for huge streches, and they made way, way too many turnovers.

    YOu’re right about their wing players though. Swingmen are the easiest players to find in the league, but the Suns don’t have a single one who is any good.

    Big Man

    March 6, 2008 at 11:44 am

  5. The funny thing is Shaq is averaging the numbers I expected him to. He had 12/18 last night. He hasn’t been playing badly, but he’s not the defensive enforcer the Suns wanted him to be. I think they’re giving up 126 pts with him in the lineup. That’s never gonna get it done. If they continue to struggle, could they actually miss the playoffs? That seemed unimaginable a month ago.

    Diallo

    March 6, 2008 at 11:46 am

  6. Allen-
    Thanks…. it is draining… and the result is not writing about the games.

    TO ALL-
    DMac’s most recent comment, which was posted here just earned him a trip to the Spam Box. He might show up a couple more times, but the filter will catch him soon and he’ll be gone for awhile…. I can’t take his B.S.and the “you’re so irrelevant” writings while mucking up the site every day with uninformed “critiques.”

    dwil

    March 6, 2008 at 12:11 pm

  7. Now you know why I told you I wasn’t watching a second of this Farvruh slobbing. My head will bust if I do. Just spoke at length on a radio show about this.

    mizzo

    March 6, 2008 at 12:33 pm

  8. His press conference is on now. I’m about to go put on my wrangler jeans and watch.

    origin

    March 6, 2008 at 12:47 pm

  9. Two Things I’ve learned from this Blog so far in 08

    1. Randall should be at least talked about in the hall

    2. Brett Favre was never really comited to his job, which the mass media wll never point out

    Watching Brett’s pc its no.2 is becoming painfulfully honest.

    ILLAIM

    March 6, 2008 at 12:59 pm

  10. Steve Nash is exactly the same player he has been for the last 3 years. Stats virtually the same, still can’t play defense. Never really could play defense, ever. He is a very good point guard, not really an MVP and definitely not a 2-time MVP but that’s not his fault.

    And Dwil, I think you are one of the most interesting sports writers out there, definitely not one of the herd. I disagree w/ you plenty, but I respect your intelligence. Thanks for the site.

    JB

    March 6, 2008 at 1:01 pm

  11. Ill-
    Watching the press conference, too. If anyone checked, I’ve actually defended Favre. And I wasn’t trying to slam him in my latest commentary. I di want to point out the myth-makong machine around him and how a black QBs have not and do not have that luxury… he’s always been honest and the NFL Films doc I watched illustrated that. But he also has the luxury to be honest in an atmosphere where that will normally get you crushed.

    JB-
    You’re right about Nash. Watching him versus the young PGs, he really is beginning to show his age. That’s why I thought the Suns would try to trade Marion to Dallas for Devin Harris and get rid of Barbosa for a pick and a contract or something. They need his successor – now…. And thanks… I just want to do some sports analysis for a minute… and I know you disagree plenty, and it’s strong disagreement sometimes, but it’s respectful and that’s cool.

    dwil

    March 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm

  12. […] Dwil and I talk everyday on a myriad of issues. He’s taking a break on race: SOMM […]

  13. Big Man & Dwil – Several of us were pretty much raked over the coals for challenging the Shaq trade and Shaq’s legacy. Those voices are mysteriously silent now.

    Beyond that, it is going to be interesting to see this thing play out. I think if the Rocekts can stay hot AND the Nuggets can play some defense, there is a very real chance of the Suns or Mavs not being int he postseason. Those are two big ifs in my mind, but at the same time the possibility gets bigger with each Suns loss. While it would make me chuckle a bit to see one of those teams at home, another part of me hates that several crappy teams will make the playoffs in the East while good teams in the West will be sitting on the couch.

    shon

    March 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm

  14. D
    “But he also has the luxury to be honest in an atmosphere where that will normally get you crushed”

    Point taken, I’m not even that much of really not even a Favre “fan” I damn near had a fallout with a friend over a fivorlus argument when I stated I thought he was overrated. After the first reading of the article it seem kinda of overly critical of him in what seemed to be his unwrittn time of praise and reflection.

    Now I see tho it was a honest assesment of his career juxtaposed against the parrell realalites of his contemparies and I apriciate the exposure to another side thought

    ILLAIM

    March 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm

  15. “Big Man & Dwil – Several of us were pretty much raked over the coals for challenging the Shaq trade and Shaq’s legacy. Those voices are mysteriously silent now.”

    Wait a second shon. Let’s not revise history just so you can pat yourself on the pat. : ) What you all were raked over the coals about was the personal jabs and speculation about Shaq himself and not the trade itself.

    I think most here said the trade was iffy and designed for a postseason run more than regular season victories. Shaq’s doing pretty much what most of us expected and the numbers bear that out.

    The issues really are that the Suns are an awful defensive team and Nash doesn’t look like he knows what to do with a traditional big man in a half court set and they don’t have a good backup point (Barbosa is not a pg). On the defensive side, there is simply no excuse for how bad they are. Nash, Stat, Diaw and Barbosa are all quality athletes and should be better defenders but they simply don’t give consistent effort on that end. Hill is ok and Bell is clearly wearing down from being the only dude left on the team who plays consistent defense.

    On paper, Shaq’s presence should have freed up Stat and Diaw to be beasts on the defensive end. They have the physical skill but clearly don’t have the mindset. Diaw seems especially soft.

    ks

    March 6, 2008 at 3:17 pm

  16. ks – sorry man, I couldn’t resist. 🙂

    shon

    March 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm

  17. shon,

    lol. it’s all good bro!

    ks

    March 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm

  18. I am taking a break too. I believe this election has me drained. Could you guys please discuss Dirk. He is irritating me. I asked my husband, but he thinks I’m being too hard on him. I could be reading into things, but it seems like that team is in competition with Jason.

    Nicole 10/20

    March 6, 2008 at 5:02 pm

  19. ks-
    You’re right…. now they’re talking about “Give them time, give them time…” These mother#$^%$# in the ‘stream still won’t even come close to admitting they might just be wrong…. Just wait for all their faithful knee pad wearin’ sheep in the public to hit us up with the same shizzzz…

    Additionally, the trade for Shaq exposed Nash as straight up old.

    dwil

    March 6, 2008 at 5:25 pm

  20. Ks

    Now, you know you said that Shaq was going to lock things down in the paint on defense.

    But, ignoring all that, Shaq has looked pretty good on the boards in my mind. Which makes me wonder how he could only average seven boards in the MIA,

    That seems to speak to his shadiness, and his attempts to throw Wade under the bus have not been forgotten.

    Big Man

    March 6, 2008 at 6:30 pm

  21. Nicole

    I haven’t seen that with the Mavs.

    What I’ve seen is a team struggling to get used to playing with movemet and to get out on the break. If you do those things, Kidd is great. If you run a bunch of isos and walk it up, well Kidd isn’t built for that.

    Plus, Howard is hurt, so he’s not getting out on the break. I think they benefit from this trade more next year.

    Big Man

    March 6, 2008 at 6:33 pm

  22. Dwil – man, that is a great point. Nash looks like he aged about 10 years out there.

    shon

    March 6, 2008 at 6:49 pm

  23. Big Man,

    Nah, I don’t think I said Shaq would lock things down in the paint but I thought he would certainly be better in the middle than what they had. Namely, Amare playing out of position. I think Shaq has done what could be reasonably be expected of him at this stage of his career.

    What’s interesting is that the other Suns, including, the coach, have failed to adjust on offense and defense.

    I can see what Kerr was thinking. Stat, Shaq, Diaw up front and a combo of Nash, Bell, Hill and Barbosa in the backcourt. That should be good enough to seriously compete for a title but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen with the way they are playing at the moment.

    Insofar, as the Shaq/Wade stuff, based on Wade’s comment about the trade in his Yahoo interview, he seems cool with Shaq and that’s good enough for me.

    ks

    March 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm

  24. Dwil,
    What I find utterly hilarious is when I meet certain white basketball fans and they are a few ilks:

    1) The “I’ve hated the NBA since MJ/Bird left” type of fan. To this guy, baggy shorts and braids ruined the NBA. Plus nobody can shoot anymore AND nobody plays defense. But this dumbass can’t explain why every game in every NBA city isn’t 142-130. Then again: he’s too stupid to realize that some teams commit to defense and some don’t. But you rarely find a team than can shoot at 60% from the floor AND hold its opponent to 30% from the floor and do it at the same time. These are the people that like basketball the way it was in the movie “Pleasantville” until Reese Witherspoon stretched the star players’ shorts. But you’ll never hear this type of fan balem Reese’s milky white bosoms for ruining basketball in the era of tight shorts. Besides, with today’s NBA groupies running around with body for days, you don’t want to be wearing a tight pair of booty chokers on the court.

    2) The “Depends on the NBA city fan.” If this white cat is a sports fan in Minnesota, for example, basketball sucks. Now this type fan USED to be found in Boston. Now, you can’t get this Boston guy to STFU as he ball-rides the team handed to his lovely city like Zorro. Miami fans might even bitch and whine like a Celtics fan from four or five years ago, but as soon as David Stern clears his throat and Miami ends up with Mike Beasley, you’ll need to stuff a sock in the Miami basketball fan’s mouth. Notice that nobody in Orlando bitches about the age limit now do they? Because they got Dwight Howard, didn’t they? Kid didn’t spend a day in college and he panned out as a good young talent. Fans that had idiot GM’s or just GM’s with hard luck? They love the age limit. Typical sour grapes from a faux fan.

    3) The “NBA players are spoiled” type of fan. I work with someone like this. After living in the DC area all these years and watching some really bad Washington teams, DC area fans finally have a group of good basketball players that have a great public persona to watch. Look at the current roster of the Washington Wizards. Not a bad guy in the bunch. Friendly guys like Roger Mason and Darius Songalia. Agent Zero, Tough Juice. The “NBA players are spoiled” fan would rather watch a Washington Capitals team with the wealthiest player in the league (Ovechkin with a $13M contract) that isn’t in play-off position than watch a group of likeable guys play NBA hoops. That’s what the “I hate the NBA” bitchfest has helped do to the league.

    Of course, the thuggery on the court? None of these fans will ever speak about the hard foul that Super Dirk gave the other night (Laimbeer and Mahorn would’ve done it and not even asked the ref “Who, me?”) How about the beatdown of Laimbeer by Robert Parish back in the day? Old school fans forgot about that one. I’ve seen muggings in Detroit that were more humane. Karl Malone opened up a smile on Isiah Thomas’ forehead. Blood all on the court. But today’s NBA is thuggish, right? Next thing you’ll tell me that someone on the Celtics had a child out of wedlock (Bird) or got caught with the wacky tobacky (Parish.) Hmmmm….

    Phil Deeze

    March 6, 2008 at 8:24 pm

  25. Dwil,

    Thats why I keep reading. Nice!

    Phil,

    What do you care what NBA fans think you have no sympathy for young black men? Wasn’t that what you said a while back.

    As for the thug problem, whenever somebody says the NBA has a thug problem I ask them who? Then I ask them to name the crime. This is a quick STFU!

    Johnny G

    March 6, 2008 at 9:56 pm

  26. Phil-
    … and nothing but the truth.

    dwil

    March 6, 2008 at 9:56 pm

  27. Phil –

    I wouldn’t call people who would rather watch hockey, basketball fans.

    And I would say that white people don’t have a monopoly on the feelings you wrote about.

    And thanks for letting me add to my list of black basketball fans I dislike.

    1) Those people that think they are inherently better fans just because they are black.

    JB

    March 6, 2008 at 10:17 pm

  28. “3) The “NBA players are spoiled” type of fan. I work with someone like this. After living in the DC area all these years and watching some really bad Washington teams, DC area fans finally have a group of good basketball players that have a great public persona to watch. Look at the current roster of the Washington Wizards. Not a bad guy in the bunch. Friendly guys like Roger Mason and Darius Songalia. Agent Zero, Tough Juice. The “NBA players are spoiled” fan would rather watch a Washington Capitals team with the wealthiest player in the league (Ovechkin with a $13M contract) that isn’t in play-off position than watch a group of likeable guys play NBA hoops. That’s what the “I hate the NBA” bitchfest has helped do to the league.”

    JB, if you live in Washington you know that this is a football town over basketball or hockey. The “NBA Players are spoiled” fan is likely “All professional athletes are spoiled” fan who only goes to games because they’re given free tickets or are taken out by business associates.

    With as corporate as DC is, you won’t find an arena filled with more than 33% true Wiz/Caps fans during any game. DC games are like home games for the visiting teams, except at FedEx field.

    Boney

    March 6, 2008 at 11:16 pm

  29. Phil, JB-
    I just read Phil’s assessment of white fans closer than I did at first – and I must agree with JB. Ummmm, I know plenty of dope NBA fans who are white – plenty.

    And I know you say “certain” white NBA fans…. but there are “certain” black NBA fans who think and feel the same as their white counterparts….

    dwil

    March 6, 2008 at 11:26 pm

  30. D-Wil, if anyone deserves a break from writing about racism in sports coverage to just do straight-up sports writing, it is you.

    Having stated that, my prediction is that you won’t last 72 hours…

    MODI

    March 6, 2008 at 11:43 pm

  31. Johnny G,
    The “I have no sympathy for young black men” also had a bit more added to it that can after the first 8 words of that quote. But since you remembered the quote so well, why don’t you remind me of the context. Also, I used to be a young black man once.

    JB,
    I did say “certain” and certain does not imply all. Correct?
    DC area basketball fans sort of got turned off by the Juwan Howard/Chris Webber debacle. Then the whole MJ thing didn’t work out as the fairy tale fans bought what Abe Pollin was shovelling. What they have now is a team of community guys. Gilbert Arenas is FUN. He’s a story whenever he does something on or off the court. He’s gonzo. Roger Mason is the hard-working hoops journeyman trying to stay in the lig. Antwan Jamison just chugs along. Not a lot of snarling. Lots of turkeys bought for the poor by these guys. But you still have some fans from the old days that are gone for good, even if the image has changed. Frankly, I say pay these guys what they are worth: after the last fifteen years of Boulez/Wiz hoops? We’re just glad these guys made the playoffs a couple of times. As for the Caps? Come on, now.
    As for adding to your list of fans you don’t like? I never said I was a better fan than a white guy. I just said I was a fan and I don’t play the pretense and pathos game. If there are white fans that want pathos and pretense, there’s another Roger Clemens or Brett Favre fan-boy love-fest coming up any day now. Check your local listings.

    Phil Deeze

    March 7, 2008 at 12:01 am

  32. Johhny G,
    I remember the context of the comment that you jumped on: it was on the disucssion of college recruiting, young black men, and their ability to play the game at its highest levels and then NOT being able ascend to coaching’s highest levels when their playing days are over.
    My stance is that the KIDS are the ones being exploited here; therefore, the burden is (unfairly) upon them to press for change. If a parent did what Jarod Mustaf or Kellen Winslow’s fathers did for them: openly looked for a coach or program that promoted its black coaches and/or former players to prominent spots in the program if not head coach, that parent would be browbeaten by the mainstream media. As great a player as Kellen, Sr. was, his stance, his HOF induction speech, etc. have been pounced on by some and painted as “reverse racist,” etc. Or whatever the fair and balanced parlance of the day is.
    I thought about it some this morning while getting my son ready for school: I can teach him about Jackie Robinson or Harrison Davis (UVa’s first black quarterback) or Darryl Hill (integrated Gonzaga HS in DC, the Naval Academy AND the University of Maryland) and come Signing Day, he’s got to make his own choice. I would want him to chose a program where, if he gets his work done in class, is a friend to all, and a good football player, that if he decides to go into coaching the game he loves that there will even BE an opportunity for him. That’s decades from now when he may need that opportunity. So some of the legwork on that needs to be done now by the kids that are flooding the major programs and paying entry fees with their God-given talent.
    The fact that even when faced with the cold, hard truth about some of the major programs’ hiring record, today’s youngsters still attend these schools that would rather you blow out your knee on the field while helping a storied program add to its glory than for them to give you a coaching gig, even if you’re qualified to lead the program. It’s the facilities, it’s the legacy, it’s the women, the marching bands, the TV contract, etc. Hard to turn down. It’s very seductive.
    The generation of black athletes that integrated these institutions paid a price. They were ostracized. Humiliated. Threatened with beatings and worse off the field. Brutalized on the field (purposely injured with cheap shots that went largely unpunished.) Now, the younger generation has to pay a price. For all the glory they can help a storied program achieve, and believe me, young black men are part and parcel of the raw material that helps this happen, at some point the payoff has to be a LOT more young, black coaches moving up the ranks: coordinator, asst head coach, head coach, athletic director.
    Jesse Jackson can’t make it happen. The establishment won’t allow agitation by folks like that to change anything. The NFL got the hint and is at least attempting to change. But the fat cat booster slipping a hundred dollar bill into a young, black man’s blazer after a good game is still the image of NCAA football. That hundred dollar handshake does that kid NO good. Based on what that elite kid produces on the field and in public relations on Signing Day?
    We’ve heard the term, “Make the money, don’t let the money make you.” Today’s youngsters can understand that. They see how the world works. I want them to use their potential and power in an even MORE positive way than just scoring a touchdown so a coach can look like a genius. The touchdowns are great, certainly. But the young guys out there won’t be young forever and they’ve got to look to their future. And for some of them, football’s going to be hard to get out of their system. For all that studying of playbooks, practice, team meetings, learning from (hopefully) a good coaching staff for four or five years, something might just rub off on them that they can use in their coaching career.

    Phil Deeze

    March 7, 2008 at 8:00 am

  33. Very interesting discussion at the end of this post.

    Generalizations can be dangerous. But, I’ve noticed that people seem to be offended or bothered by certain generalizations and then seem willing to ignore or downplay others.

    I would like to see everybody here generate the same level of outrage for anything that is offensive.

    Big Man

    March 7, 2008 at 11:16 am


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