ESPN’s Hill has a History of Race-Baiting

Controversial ESPN personality Jemele Hill recently got into some hot water regarding a tweet she sent out conveying her opinion of President Donald Trump. In her tweet, Hill said:

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”

ESPN has responded by saying that her remarks do not represent the network. No action was taken against Hill for the statement.

Although many have felt that some sort of penalty should have been enforced against Hill, ESPN not taking action against her should not come as a surprise. Hill has had a significant recent history of making baseless and outlandish racial remarks while employed at the network. Several of her past columns reflect either an inability to look outside of race as a situational factor or just a blatant desire to race-bait. No action was taken against her for those things as well.

During the 2010 NFL season, Hill wrote an article entitled “Is race still an issue for NFL QBs?” The three black quarterbacks that Hill chose as examples of “unfair” treatment were Vince Young, Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb. When examining these three QB’s with the timeframe in which the article is written, the baselessness of Hill’s claims becomes apparent. Young would have his final regular season start in the NFL just one season later. His career was also marked by immaturity and conflict with his head coach. Campbell was in the midst of a wildly inconsistent season for the Oakland Raiders in which the team ended up going 8-8. McNabb was almost completely washed-up by this point in his career and was attempting to lead a mediocre Redskins team while having only marginal success. Clearly none of these examples are cases of some sort of stellar QB being blatantly spurned by a racist coach.

Nearly a year after writing that article, Hill doubled down on her playing of the race card when comparing quarterbacks Michael Vick and Tim Tebow. In that article, Hill stated that:

“When Tim Tebow bowls over a couple of defensive players for a touchdown in a meaningless preseason game, it’s considered a display of his toughness and leadership. But when Vick launches himself at Troy Polamalu after throwing a costly interception, it’s considered risky and stupid.”

Looking into the professional status of the two quarterbacks at this time, it becomes apparent that this comparison is absurd. Vick was the established starting QB for the Eagles and was about to sign a huge contract. Tebow was still backing up Kyle Orton on the Broncos at the time and was playing under a rookie contract. But of course, Hill doesn’t want to see these types of differences. She only sees race as the source of differing narratives.

Perhaps the most egregious of Hill’s race-baiting articles came after O.J. Simpson was found guilty of orchestrating an armed robbery in 2008. When questioning how fair the case’s jury was, Hill writes in her article:

“There are also serious questions about whether the jury was unbiased. According to an Associated Press report, five of the 12 jurors — all of whom were white — wrote in their questionnaires they disagreed with the 1995 verdict…so much for an unbiased jury of one’s peers.”

So apparently according to Hill, in order to accurately and unbiasedly serve on the jury of a man accused of a crime, you must have thought he was not guilty of a previous crime he was tried for. Why is this some sort of standard for being fair and objective in an unrelated case? Also, why even mention the race of those on this jury who thought Simson was guilty back in 1995? Certainly there were blacks (and other non-whites) who thought the jury decided Simpson’s 1995 double murder case incorrectly. Would it be “biased” to allow them to serve on this jury as well? Or is it only whites who thought this way who weren’t able to decide a fair verdict for the 2008 trial?

Given that Hill has been able to voice all of these opinions in ESPN columns without consequence, it becomes apparent that any reprimand for her tweets about Donald Trump should not be expected. The network has no problem giving her a platform for her views no matter how baseless or race-obsessed they are. It’s best to keep this in mind with regard to any of her statements going forward. Getting upset with someone who has the track record of Jemele Hill just isn’t worth it.

ESPN’s “Robert Lee” Incident Only Latest Example of PC Absurdity

By now, many people both in and out of the sports world are familiar with the controversy surrounding broadcaster Robert Lee. In short, the recent rallies in Charlottesville, VA have caused ESPN to pull Lee from working Virginia’s game against William and Mary due to his name being the same as the most famous general of the Confederacy. As surprising as this move may be to some, it is simply another example of the rampant political correctness that accompanies both ESPN and most of the sports media. So let’s take a stroll through some (though certainly not all) recent events highlighting just how deep the plague of PC has infected the sports culture in America.

(2006) Don Haskins was not a Social Justice Warrior.

In the movie Glory Road (produced by Disney, parent company of ESPN), the day before Texas Western’s National Championship game against Kentucky, there is a scene where coach Haskins gathers his players on the bleachers for a pre-game talk. In that talk, Haskins vows to “put a stop” to the race based criticism of his team. He states that he will accomplish this by only playing the black players who were on his team in the championship game. Five would start and two would be subbed in off of the bench. The non-black players wouldn’t play in the game at all.

This speech that Haskins gave his team never actually happened in real life. Texas Western had been starting an all-black five for the entire season. So the starters for the championship game weren’t chosen on the basis of an attempt to triumph over bigotry or affect social tolerance. Haskins, like every other coach of any other team, was just trying to win games. When asked about the race of his starters, Haskins downplayed the social significance of what he had done by saying “I really didn’t think about starting five black guys. I just wanted to put my five best guys on the court.” It just so happened that all five of his best guys were black. In the true story, the players who were able to start for the 1966 championship team were able to achieve that status purely on their own merits. But in the movie, that accomplishment is tainted by the desire of a coach trying to advance a social agenda. By creating a motivation to conquer racism as the primary goal for the team’s coach, the film undercuts the talent necessary to become a starter and makes it more about factors outside the court than on it.

(2008) Does talking about Mexicans picking up dry-cleaning actually offend anyone?

On ESPN’s Monday Night Football, broadcaster Tony Kornheiser remarked after playing a touchdown call from a Spanish Affiliate station “I took high school Spanish and that either means ‘nobody is going to touch him’ or ‘could you pick up my dry cleaning in the morning.” Kornheiser wasn’t fired for saying this. But he did end up apologizing for it. But was what he said even offensive? Was he perpetuating the well-known stereotype that Mexicans like to pick up dry-cleaning? No doubt this was just damage control for a politically correct organization trying to cover all of their bases.

(2009) No, not all the world’s black people are African Americans.

During a college basketball matchup between Tennessee and Vanderbilt which was played around the time of Barrack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration, a conversation with Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli was a topic that sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards brought up. According to Edwards, Ezeli’s thoughts on the inauguration were as follows:

“I talked to Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli – who is from Nigeria – before the game about Obama’s inauguration. He told me that it isn’t as big of a deal to him as it is to most people, because all they have in Nigeria are African-American presidents.”

Now of course, the individuals who are elected to higher office in Nigeria are not African American (they’re African). It seems rather unlikely that Ezeli would have used the term “African American” to describe his own countrymen. He most likely used the word “black.” But that’s not quite good enough for ESPN. Even when stating someone is an African American is factually incorrect, it’s better than being politically incorrect.

(2016) The Espy Awards embrace gun control.

At the annual ESPN awards show (called the ESPY’s), the 2016 show involved a segment on an innocent teenager who had been shot and killed. The segment began with two time NBA MVP Steph Curry talking about all of the times guns take lives in America. Of course he didn’t mention the large percentage of these times which are suicides or the times where a shooting saves a life from a would-be attacker. The slain boy’s mother was even brought on stage to make the case for more gun control before the segment ended. No mention of the war on drugs or any societal problems that may have caused this teen’s death. Only guns are allowed to be blamed for violence on an ESPN award show.

Well, there it is. Just a taste of how blatantly adherent to political correctness ESPN (and likely others in the sports media) have become. It often takes an incident as absurd as banning a man from a broadcasting job due to his name to shine light on how bad things have gotten. But let’s also take notice of other examples that show the sports media for what it is. Holding them accountable for these types of incidents might cause them to take a long look at their current state.

Empowering the State is Not the Solution to Racism

A fan at Boston’s Fenway Park was recently ejected for using a racial slur directed at the Kenyan-born singer of the National Anthem before the game. This incident comes in the aftermath of Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder Adam Jones (who is black) claiming he was the recipient of racist taunts following a game in Boston. New York Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia (also black) seemed to empathize with Jones’ claims saying that he knows to expect racism when his team travels to play the Red Sox. Unsurprisingly, the Red Sox organization has gone into damage control in denouncing the bigoted statements and calling for change.

But what may be cause for concern is that the Boston Police Department said in a statement following the ejection of the fan that “the BPD’s Civil Rights Unit is investigating the allegations and will make a determination as to whether further action is warranted.” It’s hard to imagine what constitutional action law enforcement could take against someone who made an offensive comment (you can read the specifics of the comment here). As appalling as this was, it did not threaten anyone’s well-being or violate anyone’s civil rights. Yes, what was said was certainly hateful. But despite what Howard Dean thinks, hate speech is still protected under the First Amendment. Action taken by government in this instance would be a clear violation of the free speech that the constitution is supposed to protect.

The dangerous area that the state is venturing into with regard to racial issues is to think that furthering its own power and influence is the solution to the region’s racial strife. Bostonians don’t need to look outside of their own city’s history to see the consequences of looking to government to solve issues of race. Although the forced busing programs of the 1970’s failed all over the country, they may have failed in Boston worse than in any other major American city. The subsequent riots and violence that occurred in opposition to this kind of government-mandated integration have had scars that have lasted for decades since and have contributed to much of the city’s racial animosity since then. So what was initially supposed to improve Boston’s race relations (along with the rest of the country) actually ended up making things much worse.

The city of Boston, as well as the state of Massachusetts, is in a situation that brings two bad situations to the forefront. Here we have an area well known for having a racially charged history, but also a tendency for embracing state-centered solutions to virtually all social problems. The result has been enhanced racial turmoil despite and/or because of the government’s best efforts. There is little reason to believe that this won’t continue to be the case if more laws are written and government continues to expand in the name of alleviating the situation.

The true liberty minded solution would be to simply allow the property owners and private organizations to oversee the conduct that takes place within their own facilities. This is presently being done as Major League Baseball, as well as the Red Sox organization, is exercising the right to expel those who violate the rules of conduct that these private entities outline. But sadly, this often isn’t good enough for governments who want to prove that they are “at war” with any remnants of racism that may still exist. Taxpayer money gets wasted and the constitution gets trampled upon all to signal that the state is actively involved in combating the problem despite the wisdom, legality or results of how that state conducts itself. The perception of a proactive effort to combat racism is thought to be more important than what is actually accomplished or what rights are violated in the process.

Government Trying to Raise any Group’s Wages is Always a Bad Deal

Among the different discussions following every Super Bowl, a prominent source of debate seems to always be the game’s commercials. This year, in addition to the typical opinions about which ads were good or not, the underlying politics of the companies’ messages became a hotly held conversation. The two spots that seemed to cause the most political intrigue were Budweiser’s brief history of their German-born founder as he immigrated to America and Audi’s pledge to equal pay for women. Both of these advertisements were seen as being controversial by at least some.

It’s not hard to see why these corporations chose to convey these messages in what would assuredly be their most watched commercials. Embracing immigrants (or those different from you) and paying different people the same salary for the same work regardless of gender is usually looked at as a social good to be strived for. Thus, those companies who champion those ideals would be looked at favorably by the public. But are women really paid less for the same work and what parallels can we see by observing the misguided legislation to raise the wages of both women and immigrants in the American workforce?

The gender wage gap, as defined by the left (and almost certainly Audi), is a complete myth. When adjusted for hours worked, type of job and time spent away to have and raise children that pay gap shrinks to virtually nothing. So a woman getting paid less than a man is not about sexism and more about the choices women make during their lives. Valuing things like spending time away from work due to lifestyle differences, women will inevitably be somewhat less valuable as an employee when compared to a male counterpart who can focus more of his time on his job.

So what will happen if “equal pay” legislation is introduced to the American workforce? Well, rather than an employer simply raising the salaries of all of his female employees to the level of males, the options that women have with regard to their jobs will simply cease to exist. For example, a women with small children may choose a lower salary if it means she can work from home. The introduction of a new law forcing her employer to pay her the same as a man who shows up at the office every day (and is thus worth more to the company) will not cause the employer to cave and pay her the new, higher amount. Instead, the option of working from home will now disappear since it will now not be worth it for the company to pay an at-home worker the same salary as an office worker.

Similarly, progressive activists have the same effect on immigrants when advocating for increased wages in the form of minimum wage laws. According to Cato Institute economist Alex Nowrasteh:

“Immigrants are more likely to be lower-skilled workers, exactly the types of workers most likely to be harmed by a higher minimum wage.”

Due to less education, a lack of experience and a more limited grasp of English, the labor of immigrants is often not as valuable as that of than their native-born counterparts. This would certainly account for a lower wage being made by those immigrants who fit any of these descriptions.

Now, if there were a law which increased the amount an employer had to pay an employee, would all of those employers who had hired immigrants all of the sudden pay them as much as the more valuable and more experienced workers? Most likely they would not. Rather, the opportunities for those inexperienced and uneducated immigrants would simply disappear. Raising the minimum wage would eliminate the bottom rung of the ladder that these individuals would often use as a stepping stone to gain the experience which they currently lack.

Fortunately for many immigrants of America’s past that there was no barrier to entry like the minimum wage to keep them out of the workforce and prevent them from making better lives for themselves. Had there been laws like this, many immigrants hired at Budweiser’s St. Louis brewery (and other jobs) would have been unable to have that opportunity. Likewise, preventing women from having the flexibility to choose a lower salary has the same effect. Writing laws to force employers to pay a higher salary to a particular group, whether immigrants or women, destroys the opportunities for both groups by failing to account for the situational differences that result in the difference in pay. Getting rid of both so-called equal pay laws and minimum wage laws is what will actually help the groups that this legislation was intended to benefit.

Lebron James and the Safety Pin Opportunity

With Sports Illustrated selecting NBA superstar Lebron James as the 2016 Sportsperson of the Year, an opportunity was seized by the reigning finals MVP to make a social/political statement in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election. For the picture taken for the award, James wore a safety pin on the lapel of his jacket.  Wearing a safety pin has become a symbol of solidarity for people who feel disenfranchised by the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency. Those who wear one show that they not only oppose Trump’s entry into the White House, but also that that the wearer of the pin is a “safe” (hence the safety pin) person to be around in an America soon to be led by Trump.

To act like a president who hasn’t even taken office yet is already disenfranchising you seems like a bit of a stretch. But James isn’t the only athlete, or former athlete, who is acting like the not-yet-inaugurated Trump is already having a negative effect of American life. After racist graffiti and the word “Trump” was found at the home of New York Giant fullback Nikita Whitlock, teammate Victor Cruz was quoted as saying, “I think it’s definitely a direct reflection of how this country is being run…the things that are being said by the people at [the] helm of this country and at the helm of our day-to-day lives.” Of course, Barack Obama is still running things until January 20th. NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote an article two days after the election titled What it Means to be Black During a Trump Administration. Apparently he doesn’t want to actually experience an America under Trump before assuming what it will be like.

So one might ask that if Lebron James is a safe person to be around during the all-encompassing awfulness that a Trump Presidency will bring, what kind of actions could we expect from him in order to aid those who feel they have become so threatened by this? Would he give the person a hug? Would he give them a pep talk like the ones he gives to his team before they take the court? Would he give them some of his money (he has a lot)? Would he section off a part of one of his houses as a “safe space” since young millennials who are upset have shown a desire for those?

This phenomenon of wearing a safety pin to convey a political message presents a unique economic opportunity. Since the demand for safety pins has now increased, perhaps it would be a good time to invest in companies which produce and sell them. The Singer Sewing Company has their safety pins sold at Walmart, Target and CVS. The craft store chain Michaels has reported difficulty in keeping safety pins in stock since Trump’s victory.

Safety pin sales haven’t been the only product that has seen a jump in sales as a result of a presidential election. Often when a Democrat is elected president, there is a major uptick in the sale of firearms. But left-wingers might have some reservations about investing in an industry which manufactures something that so many of them dislike so much. In contrast, conservatives should have no problem benefiting as a result of increases in safety pin production since they are not a part of an industry opposed by right-of-center individuals.

The safety pin demonstration is most likely a fad that will dissipate over time. Perhaps it will be after Trump officially takes office and people realize that the conditions of the people he supposedly has it in for act with relative independence of who the president happens to be. But until inauguration day, the flames of fear will likely be stoked to the point that safety pin sales will continue to surge. That’s when investors may be wise to make their move.

Diversity Surging in Baseball Despite Lack of Black Americans

In response to the protests of the National Anthem by NFL players like Colin Kaepernick, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones stated his opinion as to why there aren’t baseball players taking part in similar social activism.

Jones told USA Today, “baseball is a white man’s sport.”

He later told the Baltimore Sun, “Baseball is numbers. It’s 8 percent black. I didn’t make that up. In football, basketball, the numbers are in the 60s and 70s. These aren’t made up numbers. It just is what it is. I’m part of the 8 percent.”

Jones is correct that the number of American blacks playing Major League Baseball is at roughly 8% (but remember that these are American blacks). This percentage has also been declining for most of the past 20 years after being at over 17% in 1994. But do declining numbers of African Americans necessarily mean that the organization as a whole has gotten whiter? Let’s take a look at who the rest of the Major League Baseball players are.

 

Although the percentage of African Americans playing professional baseball has been declining, the percentage of Latino players has been holding steady at above 25% since 2001. Many times these Latin players are just as blackas their African American counterparts having been descended from African slaves brought to the west. Therefore, MLB players like Edwin Encarnacion, David Ortiz and Francisco Lindor would be categorized as Latino despite people likely identifying them as being black based on their appearance. Add these foreign born black players to the number of American born blacks in the league and their percentage would look far less depleted.

 

Asians are another minority group who has seen significant growth in the number of Major League players. As recently as 1993 there were no Asian players competing at the big league level. But their numbers grew steadily throughout the next decade and have been sitting consistently around 1%-2% throughout the 21st century. Obviously this isn’t a huge percentage, but it does show a significant increase.

 

But what about all of those white players? Surely a “white man’s game” like baseball has seen an impervious level of white participation at the highest level, right? Well, not exactly. The percentage of whites in MLB hasn’t been above 70% since 1989 and has been below 65% since 1995. The past two seasons have seen the percentage of white players at just below 60%.

 

So how do these percentages correlate to the racial composition throughout America? As it turns out, non-Hispanic whites comprise about 63% of the American population (according to 2012 numbers). This has been roughly similar to the percentage of that same race in Major League Baseball. Blacks are now underrepresented in the sport as they are about 12.5% of the population and only 8% of professional baseball players. But with the decline of American blacks in MLB, the Hispanic percentage has become overrepresented considering their US population is at around 17% and they comprise over 25% of Major League players. Asian players are underrepresented still, standing at between 1% and 2% of big league ballplayers and being about 5.5% of the American public. But again, that race was nonexistent in the game before the number of American blacks began to decline.

 

What’s interesting about the current racial makeup up Major League Baseball is that it isn’t any “whiter” than the American population in general. If one simply observes it with regard to whites and non-whites, baseball at the professional level doesn’t seem to be quite the “white man’s game” that Jones seems to be insisting that it is. Yes, baseball is certainly whiter than the NFL (about 68% black) and the NBA (about 75% black). As a result, the leagues which have more blacks are more likely to have members speak out against things which negatively affect the black community in America (like police brutality, etc.). But to jump from being considerably more white than two other professional leagues to being a “white man’s game” seems to be a bit of a stretch.

 

What’s more, the American populace in general is often celebrated and championed as a result if its diversity. If you were to ask Americans what their definition of diversity is, many would define it as “looking like America.”  So an entity reflecting the country’s diversity would have many different races and ethnic groups represented in similar fashion to their percentages in American society (even though no entity exists which looks exactly like America percentage wise). The funny thing is, baseball does reflect a white population percentage similar to that of the rest of the country. The non-white portion of the Major Leagues (also a similar percentage to the non-whites in America, naturally) is comprised of American born and foreign born blacks, a growing Hispanic population and a newly established Asian contingent. Sound a whole lot like America to me.

 

So the decline of American blacks playing Major League baseball has resulted not in those blacks being replaced by whites, but by other minorities who are talented enough to play the game. Thus, one could argue that rather than getting less diverse as a result of depleted numbers of African Americans, baseball is actually just as diverse or even more diverse than it has ever been. If people are to take pride in the diversity we have in this country, then baseball should be embraced for exhibiting the percentages which in many ways reflect the different races and ethnicities that the country has. Rather than being the exclusive game of the white man that it used to be many decades ago, baseball has become a game featuring a various array of races, ethnic groups and nationalities of those who are able to play it on its highest level.

Disconnect Between Player Success and Coach/Manager Success Shows Reason for Racial Incongruity

It has recently come to the attention of ESPN senior writer Mike Sando that the NFL’s self-imposed effort to hire more minority head coaches has failed to achieve its goal. The requirement behind the effort, named “The Rooney Rule,” was imposed by the league in 2003 and required that NFL teams had to at least interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation positions. However, NFL teams are not required to hire the minorities they interview. Sando discovered that the number of first time minority head coach hires is no higher than it was prior to the rule’s inception.

The issue was of such importance that the revelations discussed in the article actually led off the popular ESPN debate show Pardon the Interruption (PTI). On this day, the show was co-hosted by Tony Kornheiser and Pablo Torre (who was filling in for the usual co-host Mike Wilbon). Sando’s article was cited at the beginning of the segment as an introduction of the topic about to be discussed. The following is the bulk of what transpired between the two talking heads.

Torre: When we talk about race and diversity in this country, whether it is college admissions or head coaching jobs we like to talk about equality of opportunity, access to those jobs, not equality of outcome. We don’t want to falsely engineer diversity. But to me there’s a certain point where the outcome is so stark that clearly there is not equality of opportunity. Clearly it is the case where there are just not enough qualified candidates for these jobs, or head coaches of African American descent are not seen as having the mental acuity to do these jobs much as the stigma has applied to quarterbacking and may also apply to coordinators and head coaches as well.

 

Kornheiser: I think we are struck by the incongruity that the league is two thirds black and head coaches are nowhere near that percentage. There are five black head coaches at the moment and seven general managers.

 

Torre making the claim that he favors equality of opportunity and not outcome is a fair enough point on its surface. But he then makes it clear that he refuses to accept the outcome if it crosses some under-diversified threshold that he is uncomfortable with. He then floats the possibility that there may not be “enough” qualified black candidates for these jobs. However, the word “enough” is entirely subjective as some sort of proof of success for blacks in certain coaching and front office positions.

Kornheiser’s claim of “incongruity” stemming from a 2/3 black league only having five black head coaches is rather flawed when one looks at the track record of former successful professional athletes in these kinds of leadership positions. For example, Art Shell made eight Pro Bowls over a decade and a half career and is now in the NFL Hall of Fame. But he was fired after his final coaching stint with the Oakland Raiders as a result of going 2-14 that season. Matt Millen won four Super Bowls and made two All-Pro teams throughout a 12 year career as a linebacker. Millen’s tenure as the General Manager of the Detroit Lions was an emphatic failure as his team was a whopping 50 games under .500 during his seven year run and had a losing record in each of those seasons.

Looking at other sports, we can see that this disconnect is not specific to the NFL. Isiah Thomas won two NBA Championships in a spectacular Hall of Fame career. However, Thomas performed so badly as the President of Basketball operations for the New York Knicks that just a few short years after his hiring the Knicks had the highest payroll in the league and the second worst record. He was then named the team’s head coach for the two following seasons in which they went on to miss the playoffs both years.

Being the greatest player in the history of your sport is likewise no guarantee of coaching or front office success. Michael Jordan has been either a minority or majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets for ten years while that team has only made the playoffs three times. Charlotte was so bad in the strike shortened 2011-2012 season that they set the record for lowest winning percentage in NBA history. Wayne Gretzky, who was to hockey what Jordan was to basketball, failed to make the playoffs or even post a .500 record during his four year run as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.

This is not to say that being successful as an athlete means success as a coach or front office holder is unobtainable. LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is considered one of the best in the game and was also able to play fourteen years in the NBA while making an All Star team. Ozzie Newsome made three Pro Bowls, four All Pro teams and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1999. After retirement he developed himself into one of the best general managers in football with the Baltimore Ravens.

So in response to Kornheiser’s claim of racial incongruity when it comes to the percentage of blacks in the NFL and head coaching/front office positions, it can also be said that there is incongruity in success as an athlete and success as a coach, GM or owner. This disconnect persists regardless of race. Jordan and Thomas are both black whereas Gretzky and Millen are both white. All of them struggled significantly in their post-athlete days in other positions within their respective sports. However, both Rivers and Newsome are black and have achieved significant success in other leadership positions in the game which brought them success as a player. Considering that head coaching, general managing and ownership success is clearly a mixed bag when it comes to the former athletes who attempt those ventures, it is hard to see why the racial composition in one realm would reflect the other. Since skills to excel professionally as a player obviously do not always carry over to the nonathletic positions within the sport, let’s not pretend that those who succeed in one of those areas are going to look like those who succeed in an unrelated area. To assume a similar racial makeup would result is to ignore many recent examples which prove otherwise.

 

The Left’s Indifference to Black Athletes Accused of Rape

Yet another campus rape hoax has apparently emerged. This time the incident involves a female student having relations with two male student athletes at the University of Findlay, a private college in Ohio. The woman filed a sexual assault claim with the university ten days after the incident. The two men involved were expelled from Findlay 24 hours later.

The problem for the university is that this female accuser appears to be a blatant and obvious liar. Other students overhearing her could tell that the sex was consensual. Not only that, but she apparently told another student that she had consented to the encounter and that she was even “bragging” about it. It appears that all relevant witnesses sided with the two men and not with the female student. But alas, Findlay University went through with the expulsion anyway.

The decision to expel these two men as a result of what looks to be a series of gross missteps has resulted in a lawsuit filed on their behalf. The lawsuit not only cites a gender bias, but a racial one as well. Both of the accused men were black student athletes at the university. The female student accusing them is white. According to the lawsuit:

“Most troubling, the conduct of the University of Findlay’s representatives was intentionally and inherently discriminatory because of Plaintiffs’ race, ethnicities, and gender. As explained in detail below, the University of Findlay has a history of discriminating against African American males in allegations of sexual assault by Caucasian females.”

The facts of this case are eerily reminiscent of the redemptive story of Brian Banks that some in the sports media picked up on in 2012. Banks was a standout high school football player in Los Angeles, CA and was offered a scholarship to play for the USC Trojans in his junior year. However, after a false rape allegation was made, his football dreams quickly evaporated. According to former ESPN writer Rick Reilly:

“(there were) no semen traces in the rape kit. No witnesses. And yet Banks’ attorney insisted he cop a plea, saying his size, age and race would mean a sure conviction of 40-plus years. He said no, no, a hundred times no and finally, reluctantly, yes. Banks got six years. He served 62 months.”

So it would seem that there often is a consistent bias when dealing with rape cases that disfavors large, powerful black men. It certainly was the case for Brian Banks to the point that his attorney told him to plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit to avoid a much harsher sentence. It looks to have been the case at Findlay University as well since the two accused former students, (one a basketball player, the other a football player) are likely to be larger and stronger than most other men their age.

But where is the political left in America on this? These cases show a clear bias against certain individuals based merely on their race and body type. Given the left’s repeated claim as the champion of minority rights and vehement opposition to discrimination, these issues should be right up their ally. So why are they so curiously silent?

The answer lies in the relationship that the left has with those who make the accusations. Siding with falsely accused minorities is something they certainly aren’t opposed to. But not when it comes at the expense of championing young, victimized girls regardless of the facts. Truth is often disregarded by those looking to advance a narrative or agenda. The narrative that a “rape culture” exists on American college campuses is so adamantly asserted by the left that those falsifying accounts of rape are given platforms regardless of verification. This phenomenon was on full display as left wing magazine Rolling Stone published the now debunked article “A Rape on Campus” in late 2014. The article told the story of a female student at the University of Virginia who claimed to have been raped at a fraternity house. Rolling Stone ran with the article despite doing virtually no fact checking or anything resembling journalistic integrity. The story was later retracted and removed from Rolling Stone’s website. It appears that the magazine cared more about running with a sensationalized story that fit a preconceived narrative than actually finding the truth.

Here lies the ongoing problem with the left attempting to claim itself as a defender of any and all victimized groups around the world. It will work only as long as the alleged victimizers are also not members of groups that the left claims to champion. So as long as the oppressor of a certain group is a white Christian male, then they will gladly take up the cause of those downtrodden individuals. But if the supposed oppressor falls into a class protected by leftists, they then face a conundrum which paralyzes their response in ways that it would not if someone from a racial, ethnic or religious majority were standing on the wrong side of an issue.

So many black Americans will likely continue to think that those who lean to the left side of the dial support their interests and will stick their neck out for them when the going gets tough. But these recent events show us that not even the relentless pandering to the black community that the left so frequently does will cause them to reevaluate their assumptions on the unfair treatment of black men when it comes to rape allegations. Life can get difficult when you try to take up the cause of every group that you think is a victim.

 

Worldwide Leader in Televised Competition Terrified of Political Competition

The powers that be at ESPN have removed employee Andy Katz from the new Sirius XM show entitled “The Arena.” As a result, the show has been discontinued after just one episode. The premise of The Arena was to examine the intersection between sports and politics. Sure seems like a promising theme, right?

So why was ESPN so intent on snuffing out a program so early in its existence? The answer unsurprisingly has to do with the content of The Arena’s first episode, when the first (and now only) guest was former Florida governor and current presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The topic discussed (or at least one of them) was the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ nickname. When Bush was asked about the possibility of the name being changed, he said:

“I don’t think [the team] should change it. But again, I don’t think politicians ought to have any say in that to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive. We had a similar kind of flap with FSU if you recall, the Seminoles, and the Seminole tribe itself kind of came to the defense of the university and it subsided. It’s a sport for crying out loud.”

Whether you agree with Bush or not on this issue is not relevant. The point is that many sports fans and individuals around the country agree with him about the lack of offensiveness of the Redskin’s name. So it’s not exactly as if he is expressing some kind of “fringe” opinion which would scare a mainstream media outlet. He also displayed his opinion in a respectful manner which did not insult or demean any of the parties involved.

Apparently this exchange was too much to bear for the higher-ups at ESPN. According to SI.com (Sports Illustrated), “Katz was pulled off the show in an effort to minimize Presidential candidate appearances on platforms connected to ESPN, and the sensitivity of such political identification.”

A few questions persist after hearing that explanation. First of all, if ESPN was going to enforce a “no presidential candidates” rule, shouldn’t they have told Katz and the others involved in making the show? If they had, wouldn’t those involved in producing the show have stayed away from Bush and all of the other presidential candidates and selected another guest? And if ESPN wants to prevent giving presidential candidates a platform on The Arena, can’t it simply enforce that rule from now on without doing away with the show completely?

The irony here is that ESPN appears to be so scared by political controversy and opposing political viewpoints while simultaneously embracing rivalry and debate in the sports world. Rivalries are great for sports, great for ratings and thus, great for ESPN. They (and the rest of the sports media) constantly play up grudge matches, controversies and the players/fan bases behind them. The network has also created shows which feature talking heads arguing with and often yelling at one another in order to win a sports dispute. Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with this.

But if ESPN has learned to promote and profit off of this kind of environment in athletics, why can’t they embrace the same philosophy in politics? The Arena was supposed to be a non-partisan show. So they could have gotten some other politician who disagrees with Bush about the Redskins’ name in order to balance things out. Especially after DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz responded to Bush’s claim by saying that his support of the name was:

“extremely insulting to Native American people. The team’s name is a racial slur that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people and reduces proud cultures to an insulting caricature.”

But rather than having Wasserman Schultz or another like-minded politician come on and rebut Bush, ESPN would rather just cancel the show altogether. Given the PC nature of the sports media in general, the abrupt end of a show like this is unfortunately not surprising. Perhaps in the future ESPN (and other sports outlets) will realize the benefits of embracing political competition as much as athletic competition and shows like The Arena can truly flourish.

The Government’s Opinion of the Confederate Flag has Nothing to do with Free Speech

In the midst of the national purging of the Confederate flag from a whole host of venues, ESPN host Keith Olbermann went to the airwaves recently in order to attempt to make a comparison. In this attempt, he cited a recent Supreme Court case in which it was ruled that the Texas government did not overstep the First Amendment in denying the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ request for specialty license plates bearing the Confederate flag. Thus, it was ruled constitutional for the state of Texas to deny this group license plates with this symbol.

Olbermann then pivoted to apply this ruling to the Washington Redskins organization and their judicial effort to reverse the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s June 2014 ruling to cancel the team’s six trademark protections on grounds of the name ‘Redskins’ being “disparaging” to Native Americans. The host then reported that the judge in this case (Gerald Bruce Lee), told lawyers on both sides that “they should focus on how the Supreme Court ruling on the Confederate flag affects their case.” The audience was then informed that “the lawyers for the Native American side said, obviously, that their case was strengthened since when the Supreme Court ruled that when Texas refused to make the confederate plates because they were offensive, that did not mean that Texas was infringing on the First Amendment free speech rights of those who wanted an offensive symbol on their license plates and thus, that the United States would also not be infringing upon the First Amendment free speech rights of a company who wanted to use an offensive name for their products.” (emphasis mine)

These lawyers are making a rather dangerous assertion. License plates are issued solely by the state as a form of identification. The state is not afforded the same right to speech as individuals or groups of individuals. No individual or group of individuals should have the right to use the state to express a viewpoint. This is because the state is simply force. Nothing more, nothing less. A sports team, on the other hand, is a collection of individuals. Thus, First Amendment protections clearly apply to them regardless of their offensiveness. A sports team is not force no matter how many billions of dollars the team is worth. It cannot (by itself) tax us, arrest us, send us to prison or fine us. The state of course can and does do all of these things. Only imposition by private individuals on the state could result in confederate license pates. But only coercion by the state can prevent private individuals from expressing something that is allegedly offensive. This is why the lawyers for the Native American case are making such a dangerous claim. The First Amendment protects the right to be free from state coercion, not the right to convey your expression by way of the state.

So if a state (like Texas) refuses to grant identification with controversial symbols on it and then a government can rule that because of that refusal that First Amendment protections do not apply to private citizens who exhibit controversial symbols, then what limits are there to the free speech violations that a government could take part in? How many other controversial symbols do various states not issue on forms of identification? Probably a lot. But a lack of state issue has absolutely nothing to do with a private citizen or organization being entitled to free speech while displaying a symbol that some say is controversial. It certainly shouldn’t affect whether or not a private organization can be deprived of trademark protection as a result of a name or symbol that offends some people. A government cannot be its own standard bearer with regard to what is unoffensive enough to deserve First Amendment rights. If it ever becomes this way, our nation will start down a very slippery slope.

If government can use its own standards for what it chooses to express and not express to control the expression of its citizens, then we truly do not live in a free society. As former state judge and current Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said when discussing this issue, “who cares what the government thinks.” Government thinking about what is or isn’t offensive is subject to the whims of whoever controls that government after any given election cycle. But the freedom to speak freely should never depend on the opinions of those who rule over us.