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Wednesday, November 13. 2013
Athletes, especially football, basketball, boxers, wrestlers, etc. beat the heck out of eachother every day for fun and/or profit, so why are people upset about words?
If they didn't bully eachother, I'd wonder what was wrong with them. They are gladiators, not hypersensitive metrosexuals. We must all learn to be tolerant of differences, and that includes differences we might not like. Tolerance, not necessarily approval although I am all in favor of locker-room-style insults and degradation. It's normal and fun verbal sparring and generally a form of male bonding. "Your mother wears Army boots."
If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
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N*gger is not a word used by this white man in any locker-room I was ever in, for "verbal sparing", unless you were bored and really looking forward to getting your ass kicked.
The N word equals physical sparring to this day. Don't use it unless you want to choke on your own teeth.
But, but, but, Incognito supposedly is an "honorary African-American" and in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman affair we were told African-Americans use that term with each other all the time. Now Kevin Blackistone, one of the regular panelists on the "Around the Horn" sports show on ESPN-TV (and one of my favorites, BTW) says there is no such thing as an "honorary African-American." Oh? Wasn't Bill Clinton accorded that very honor when he was labeled "America's First Black President"?
Adult males should be able to verbally spar, or if necessary physically spar. Whining to some higher authority because you've proven yourself incapable of dealing with your own interactions or the reactions of others is a sign of failing to mature enough to handle adversity.
The world is not a kindergarten or daycare, and you can't always run to the teacher and complain someone was being mean to you. Learn to deal with it.
40, 50 and more years ago I played sports. Basketball was one of those sports where the N word, whitey, peckerwood and cracker was tossed around but mostly by blacks. It was constant in non-officiated sports. Since I spent 20 years in the military I played a lot of pickup basketball and being called names on and off the court was common. I only played football in high school and by comparison to basketball in the military it was tame. It was all the worse when you were the only white guy on either team. Intimidation and violence (not outright fights so much as outright and often painful fouls, pushing and threats) was common. Now softball was mostly white and fairly tame by comparison. So I'm thinking this stems mostly from the black culture. Not throwing stones or trying to make it racial but the trash talking I have seen with blacks in sports ALWAYS gets to the N word and negative pejoratives for whites. Always.
Peckerwood, Honky, Dead-legged, white-assed, Larry Bird rainbow shootin' brick thrower. I heard it all, too.
Played High School ball, Junior College, Summer league @ 6th Ave and 4th Street NYC in the 70's. Brothers called themselves n*gger every way you could call it. All day. Every day. Everywhere.
Only white player I ever saw call a black man a n*gger with my own eyes, bled all over himself spitting out teeth. And that's no shit.
I guess today pro black football players can have "honorary black" players, like Incognito. I never heard about "honorary black" white players anywhere in my whole life, and I call bullshit on them. They forgot what their fathers and uncles and mothers had to endure coming up. And it's on them.
Back in the late 1990s, I had occasion to be in contact with several NFL teams for business reasons. What I found is that football is a brutal, vicious, mean and nasty sport, far beyond the concept of "sparring". At least half the players are nothing more than out and out thugs. It bears more resemblance to the Roman idea of gladiators than to sparring, male bonding and all that.
Interestingly, one of the contacts was Don Shula, then coach of the Dolphins. In my opinion, he was a mean nasty piece of work. Maybe that's the price of entry for a NFL coach.
Before this, I had been an avid football fan. Afterwards, a lot less. And before you tag me as a wuss, you should know that I was raised on a farm where we killed and butchered our own animals and I also served in the US Army.
Martin broke the code. PERIOD.
While Incognito's words or actions may seem offensive to us, Martin knew that any beef he had with Incognito or with anyone else regarding hazing or locker room behavior should have been dealt with within the team and not in the media.
Professional sports is a physical world where what counts on the field is performance. If you don't perform, they'll find someone else who will. Little else matters. If your team mate doesn't perform, your chances of willing drop. People care far less about your skin color, accent, manners or brand of cologne than they do about your ability to help the team win. That's one reason why certain off the field behaviors, crude language, bullying, etc. are tolerated and even welcomed - especially among linemen and defensive backs - players intuitively want the meanest, toughest badass helping them to win ball games.
Certain behaviors are best dealt with by the players themselves rather than by some know-it-all outsiders. If a player has a rep as a cheap shot artist, players will deal with it by their code. The same goes for locker room antics, hazing, and other rituals.If the players want your input, they'll ask for it.
Jackie Robinson broke into the majors not because people were sorry that blacks had faced discrimination, but because his ability to help the team win.
That aside, in regards to the Martin case, the behavior that was unacceptable was Martin's, not Incognito's. If fans and other non-participants have a problem with the behavior, they have the option to not watch games or buy products the players endorse - the owners and players will get the message. Otherwise, let the players address their own conduct towards one another inside their own society.
The more actual data we get on this story, the more ambiguous it becomes.
Richie Incognito makes about $4M/year, Jonathan Martin $1M. Perhaps we shouldn't worry too much about what happens to them otherwise. They are well compensated for whatever difficulties and unfairness they are enduring.
Now that Gloria Allred has put her $0.02 worth in, it's all about racial/sexual harassment. Sexual? That's a new one. What does Gloria know that the rest of us don't? Is someone about to come out of the locker, so to speak? Just sayin', perhaps there's more to this story that we haven't heard yet. I'm all ears, Gloria.
... still waiting for anyone, anywhere to mention the word "steroids" ...
It's a given but not sure it is much of a contributor to this.
Gloria Allred is and was always about the attention. She used to win some of those high profile cases but lately she's been getting goose eggs. She gives low life ambulance chasers a bad name.