All That and a Bag of Mail: Am I White Enough?
It's Friday, celebrate, the mailbag is here.
Our beaver pelt trader of the week is Arian Foster, a guy I've loved since I got to know he and his family while writing "On Rocky Top." This morning Foster tweeted, "I'm going to work on my blackness today." Then he followed it up with, "My mom is Mexican. So I can only optimize 50% of my blackness."
Those two Tweets are better than any response ESPN has had to its latest stupid controversy surrounding some of the idiots it employees to talk about sports.
Which brings us to our first mailbag question.
Lots of y'all have asked me this:
Okay, before I tell y'all what I think, here was Rush Limbaugh in 2003.
Now check out Rob Parker yesterday.
Now that you've watched both, is there any doubt that Parker's comments are much more racist? (ESPN has now suspended Parker).
I still don't even find Limbaugh's comments the least bit controversial. Stupid, perhaps, but racist? Give me a break. If Limbaugh had just said, "I think there are many people in the country who are rooting for Donovan McNabb to succeed because they're tired of hearing that black quarterbacks can't succeed in the NFL," would anyone have even blinked?
That's really the crux of what he said.
Now, Limbaugh also said that he thought McNabb was being given more credit for his play because he was black, but that's not racist, just a weak argument. McNabb was also being given a great deal more credit, and blame, for his play because he happened to play quarterback in Philadelphia as opposed to Nashville or St. Louis or Jacksonville. Big city quarterbacks always get more attention regardless of their race. Look at Mark Sanchez. Is he overhyped because he has Hispanic heritage and people are rooting for a Hispanic quarterback to succeed? Or is it because he's the Jets quarterback?
Plus, to be fair to Limbaugh didn't many people say that the hype over Jeremey Lin last year wasn't because he was a great basketball player, but because he was Asian? In fact, didn't some black NBA players actually say this on the record? Yes, they did. There's definitely some truth in that as well. In general, people who do things for the first time get more attention than people who do them all the time.
So if you break down Limbaugh's comments they weren't even controversial at all.
Yet ESPN fired him for this.
I mean, in retrospect, isn't this amazingly weak?
Put it this way, if Rush Limbaugh had said last year, "I think Jeremy Lin is getting a lot more credit than he deserves because many people in the country want to see an Asian basketball player succeed in the NBA," would anyone have reacted? Is there any way on earth he gets fired for this? Of course not.
Now, contrast that with Rob Parker's comments yesterday.
Parker is actually defining who RGIII can be based on the color of his skin. Parker even says he'd decide whether to hang out with him based on whether he's black enough. Isn't that the foundation of racism, to choose who you hang out with based on the color of their skin? Go back and watch this, Parker actually says he's not sure he'd want to hang out with him because he's a fake black guy. Then he calls Tiger Woods a fake black guy. Then the stupidity continues, per Parker RGIII can't have a white fiancee or be a Republican because he's black.
I mean, this is just mind-boggling to me. Parker actually sounds exactly like a 1950's racist white Southerner.
Isn't the entire purpose of being an individual in American society today that you don't have to be defined by the color of your skin? I'd certainly like to think so.
So to me Parker's comments are so much worse than Limbaugh's it's kind of an insult to even put them in the same ballpark.
I'm not in favor of firing anyone based on what they say because inevitably at some point in the next few years I'll probably say something that pisses off people enough for somemone to want me fired. That's kind of inevitable these days in live radio or live television.
But if ESPN's standard is that Limbaugh has to be fired for what he said, I see no way that Parker's incredibly racist and dumb commentary gives ESPN any options in this case.
He has to be fired.
And if Parker isn't fired, then I think ESPN should have to issue a public apology for firing Rush Limbaugh.
By the way, I know most OKTC readers only have one question about RGIII's fiancee, did he outkick his coverage? (Pic via the Washington Post. You can read the story here.)
But, I mean, if you want to criticize RGIII for anything, it should be having a fiancee or girlfriend at all.
Can you imagine the work he could do in D.C. over the next five years?
And, by the way, the vast, vast majority of men I know don't see race at all. They see hot or not.
Rob P. writes:
"Clay, I've been reading where Roger Goodell is considering eliminating kickoffs. That got me wondering, wouldn't football be better without field goals?"
Think about how much more interesting football strategy would be if coaches couldn't settle for field goals. It would open up the game a great deal. Playcalling would get smarter and more aggressive. Teams would go for it on fourth down all the time.
The red zone would get so much more interesting. Instead of chip shot field goals and conservative hand offs, you'd have high stakes fourth down plays five or six times a game.
I actually think this needs to happen.
Either that or you can only attempt field goals from outside of the thirty yard line.
I have no issues with kickoffs being eliminated either. Just start every drive at the 25 and eliminate the double tv commercials that bracket kickoffs. The only real kicking that needs to be in the game is punting.
Mike H. writes:
"Several months ago the Big East decided to pass on their extension with ESPN. Could that go down as one of the dumbest decisions of all time in college athletics?"
I think it's the dumbest ever.
Let me tell you why.
First, it's the biggest lost value in terms of dollars. The Big East's actual television contract is probably going to be in the neighborhood of $60 million. That's assuming that the Big East still exists. It could be nothing. ESPN offered over a billion dollars over the nine-year life of the contract, right at $130 million a year. The Big East turned that offer down in favor of hitting the open market, where several schools believed they would make even more money.
If you take my $60 million a year number, that means the conference will have lost $630 million. Potentially, much more.
Think about this for a minute, when has a college athletic decision ever cost $630 million before?
Plus, the Big East's decision to turn down $630 million isn't just dumb in retrospect, anyone with half a brain could have also told you that the Big East was incredibly unstable. The tectonic plates of college football realignment had already begun to shift. Which conference was the weakest?
The Big East.
So you had to know there was a decent chance some of your football schools might bail if they were given the option to do so.
Now, some of you are thinking, how would signing the television deal have prevented that from happening? It might not have prevented anything, but it would have guaranteed you the ability to restock your football teams rapidly. Why? Because ESPN is not going to rescind your television deal. Why? Because ESPN is paying more to the teams that are leaving your conference. This is ESPN's massive conflict. What's the incentive for schools to switch conferences? More TV money. Who is providing that TV money? ESPN.
But ESPN would have had a fiduciary duty to the Big East as well.
That's why ESPN has never lowered the amount that it pays any conference. Because if it did then the scorned conference would have a huge lawsuit against ESPN for violating its contractual obligations.
So if the Big East had signed this deal ESPN would have been screwed on the television contract. Because even with much less attractive television draws in it -- Memphis vs. Tulane for all the monopoly railroads! -- ESPN would have still had to pay $130 million a year for the next nine years. Instead the Big East turned down ESPN and ESPN execs are breathing huge sighs of relief. Turning down this deal may have singlehandedly destroyed the conference.
It was amazingly stupid.
The only other decision in the modern era that's in the stupidity running with this one was Florida State's decision to pick the ACC over the SEC.
That's turned into a decision that will end up costing FSU hundreds of millions of dollars as well.
These are the two dumbest decisions of the modern era, but the Big East's is much worse.
"How many yards could Herschel Walker gain in an SEC game if he was still playing? 50? 75? 100?"
I think a fifty year old Herschel could still go for 100 against a second tier SEC team.
In fact, I have zero doubts about this.
Against a top tier defense hardly anyone goes for 100 anymore. But, put it this way, if Herschel got 25 carries could he average 4 yards a carry on these carries?
Here I am on NBC yesterday, shaved head and all, discussing whether Manziel will win another Heisman, Saban to the Browns, and whether I take Bobby Petrino or the field of new football hires to get to the BCS first.
Have great weekends.