Monday, January 20, 2014

Racial Inconsistencies in Sports: @RSherman_25 Isn't A Thug

Mitchell 10 years ago; Rodgers present day
It's a shame that on MLK Day, I'm blogging about something race-related.  As far as we've come in this country in regards to black and white, there are things that remind us that there's still a long way to go.

Sports has been called the "great equalizer" when it comes to uniting the races.  The "Remember the Titans" movie is a perfect example of that.  Still there are some inconsistencies in the media that make me shake my head.

Time and time again I see the media portray people differently based on race and culture.  Last night, Seattle Seahawks defensive back, Richard Sherman, went off on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, Michael Crabtree and social media went wild.

People called him a "thug" (which is a popular word used when describing aggressive black people), classless, an embarrassment and other unflattering words.  What they saw on TV was a black man who should "just be happy to make millions playing in the NFL."  He should be humble, appreciative, keep his mouth shut and just play the game.

It takes me back in time to my youth when I first started noticing inconsistencies in the media based on race.  I remember when Deion Sanders played hurt in a football game once.  He was clearly hampered by the injury, but chose to play and try to help his team.  He didn't play well and I remember one of the commentators saying that he was being "selfish" for playing at less than 100%.  That same day, the Jets played and one of their players named Wayne Chrebet was also playing hurt.  He went on to have a poor game, but the commentator said that he was a "warrior" for trying to gut out a win for his team.

Scoring touchdowns is something that is viewed differently at times.  The term "act like you've been there before" comes up often when black certain players celebrate after scoring touchdowns.  Yet when Aaron Rodgers of the Packers scores a touchdown, he gets applauded for that "championship belt" gesture he does.  In fact, instead of being chastised, he even has commercials for what is now called the "Discount Double-Check" move.  What's even worse is that he didn't even invent that scoring celebration.  Former Philadelphia Eagle, Freddie Mitchell, was doing the "championship belt" move back in 2003 when Rodgers was still in college.

Do you see the inconsistencies that drive guys like me nuts?

Last one: back in 2007, a player named Anthony Smith from the Pittsburgh Steelers guaranteed a victory over the Patriots in an upcoming game.  Tom Brady torched Smith and the Steelers defense en route to victory.  On one of the TD passes Brady threw, he ran up to Smith and got facemask-to-facemask and taunted him.  The stories that made the headlines the next day talked about Tom Brady's "passion" and how he was "teaching Smith a lesson" and being a "fiery competitor."

Where are those words when it comes to describing Richard Sherman?  Crabtree and Sherman were jawing at each other the entire game, so why doesn't he get to have the last word like Brady did?  Why is he a "thug" instead of a "fiery competitor?"

Lou Pinella kicked dirt on umpires and cursed them out.

Brian Wilson beat a Gatorade cooler with a baseball bat.

Bobby Knight threw a chair on the court of a basketball game.

John McEnroe yelled at judges on the tennis courts.

Larry Bird was a legendary trash talker.

John Tortorella, Mike Ditka, etc.  The list goes on and this still occurs to this day.  There are some white people in sports that have berated, cursed, intimidated or (technically) assaulted others and yet they are still "feisty heroes" to many media types. Not even once have I ever heard any of them referred to as "thugs."  Never.

Richard Sherman finished 2nd in his high school class in GPA and went on to graduate from Stanford in Communications.  He even went back for his graduate degree.  He's never been arrested and doesn't play dirty in the field of play.  He's not a "thug."  He's the best cornerback in the league (statistics will back that up) and he had the last word against a mouthy competitor.  At least I thought that he had the last word...

Crabtree obviously didn't learn his lesson because he's still disrespecting Sherman.
Does the media (including social media) treat black athletes different than white athletes?

2 comments:

  1. It goes to show you that we are still separate and unequal. I never once thought that is comments made him thuggish or anything of the sort. He played like a sportsman, exactly as he was suppose to. He didn't swing on anyone, nor was he acting barbaric. The media especially sports commentators definitely have their own separate language when describing white players and black players. And personally, I feel Richard backed up everything he said. And yes, he is the best Cornerback in the league. And if you think he was crunk for the NFC championship game, the Broncos better bring their A,B, C and D game because it's going down.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I would have been okay with saying that it was classless. But, to say it was thuggish was going way too far. I hardly hear that type of language in the NHL where players are allowed to fight. I just think they need to work on their consistency.

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