Bryant Gumbel Under Fire: “What’s the Big Deal?”

By L.A. Batchelor
Updated: March 6, 2006

NORTH CAROLINA—Have you ever watched the HBO show entitled “Real Sports?” It’s a show like a vowel. It’s a show that reports stories on people, places and things in the world of sports and takes it from the most inner depths of the story and the people that make the story they present. Their stories that will make you smile, cry, be angry and become more informed in certain aspects of the “REAL WORLD” of sports both locally, nationally, on an amateur level and the pro level.

The host of “Real Sports” is Bryant Gumbel. Bryant Gumbel, formally of the NFL on NBC, co-host of NBC’S “Today Show” and other numerous sports shows and documentaries that has made him an award winning journalist and one of the more respectable journalist of our time. He is also the same Bryant Gumble that is perceived to be aloof, arrogant, selfish, ruthless and only cares about himself and his image. Like him or not, Mr Gumble is usually has a love/hate relationship with his fans, audience and the general public.

Now Mr. Gumbel is being scrutinize by the media, viewers and sports fans for some comments that were deemed racial and comments that sparked a controversy that was the conversation of many for and against the Olympic Winter Games. This is a part of what the monologue that Bryant said At the end of his HBO show “Real Sports: “So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of Blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.”

First, does anyone know what the word “PAUCITY” means? It just furthermore shows the desire for Mr Gumbel to be right and for people to know he is right at whatever particular spot. Second, if you know anything about Mr Gumbel, then you know he can be as pompous, arrogant and obnoxious as anyone in his position, statue or reputation can be. I can state these attributes about Mr. Gumble because I am not only not a fan of Mr Gumbel’s antics, dialogue and chracter, I also share the thoughts of his censorship just so I can be right, he can be wrong because that’s what seems to drive Mr. Gumbel. Haven’t said that, what did Mr. Gumble really say wrong?

Ok, let’s take the comments of the GOP out of the equation because that point of the comments can be deemed more political than racial but still are in-accurate on Mr. Gumbel’s part especially with such African American Republican groups both young and old springing up in various corners of the country daily. Is he paying attention to party lines at all?

Let’s also dismiss the fact that blacks dont grow up in cold area sports or are not exposed to cold weather sports. Im from CT. Finally, let’s dismiss the notion that blacks can’t afford to play or particpate in any of the sports that take place during the winter Olympics. My brother was a golie in high school and football is played in the cold weather. I must also remind you that some PEOPLE, black, white or other races, get sacrifices from relatives or friends to make that person(s) dream come true in relation to the sport that person(s) wants to play no matter what the circumstances(I.E. Mike Tyson).

If you analyze Mr. Gumbel’s comments, you will see and understand that he(although we hate the messenger) speaks the truth and really delves in the kind of “REALITY” that bares as much of the content of the show that he host. Think about the following:

Where would golf be without the talent, dominance and competitive drive and excitement that Tiger Woods brings to a MAJOR golf tournament or any other golf tournament he participates in

Look at the dominance of players in the NBA like Julius” DR J” Erving, Earvin “MAJIC” Johnson and Michael “AIR” Jordan that revolutionize the game of basketball taking it now to a global level

What about Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis, Mike Singletary, “MEAN JOE GREENE”, DEACON JONE AND the late Reggie White who dominated and intimidated offenses every Sunday on the defensive side of the ball while Walter Payton, Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell and others ran not only through defenses but shattered the record books.

And what MLB? It’s been a known fact that baseball throughout the years, dedcades and centuries really couldnt count their league of players as the greatest in the world until they finally allowed intergration of African American baseball players from the Negro leagues to participate in “America’s Past Time”. There, greats from Jackie Robinson, Sachel Paige, Josh Gibson, Henry Aaron and Willie Mays gave way to other modern day greats like Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr.

With all of those facts, how could you not understand where Mr. Gumbel is coming from?

Listen, I take nothing away from the AMATUERS that work hard every 4 years to ski down a hill, skate on the ice, put the put in the net or stop it from going in or any other winter Olympic game that these athletes work so very hard to be apart of. But how can you say they are the greatest excluding any race or nationality? This is not a BLACK thing, this is a RACE thing.

Recently, Dan Patrick, host of the “DAN PATRICK SHOW” on ESPN radio, compared Mr. Gumbel’s statements to statements made by contraversial political radio talk show Rush Limbaugh comments saying “the Rush Limbaugh statement about Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl quarterback Donavan McNabb were not racially motivated because Mr. Limbaugh was IGNORANT to the fact not just making a racial blanket statement but Mr Gumbel’s were racially motivated because he was saying “white people were not athletic” therefore it was racial and he should be fired from HBO. was “overrated” because of the “media’s social concern” to see a successful Black quarterback was not racially motivated and he was fired from ESPN . Did you hear what Rush had to say? Rush said : Quarterback Donavan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles is being portrayed as a great quarterback because of the media’s desire to see an African American succeed at quarterback”.

Mr Gumbel’s comments were more based on the fact that all races and nationallies are not represented there and because of the absence you really cant say the greatest athletes are competing for gold. One talks about a nation in relation to a special event that arrives once every four years, the other tries to smooth over the statement of a politician turn talk show host who seems to believe that a black quarterback is not worthy of his accolades based on the fact that he is black. You make the call.

Maybe the solution to all of the upwar, all of the noise , all of the contraversy is to truely have a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. We are not alone in the world and because we are not, practicing INCLUSION instead of EXCLUSION will go far in determining who are the world’s greatest athletes whether it be an Olympics or a championship from the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL. It’s time for all the rhetoric of the terms “WORLD SERIES, SUPER BOWL, NBA CHAMPIONSHIP or NHL Stanley Cup Finals”. Whatever leads to the finals of a major sport, it has to begin with countries of all race, nationalities, creeds and personalities to make up what should be and should have been a the ultimate definition of “THE GREATEST ATHLETES IN THE WORLD”.