A GIANT Disappointment

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: February 6, 2008

“All animals are equal…but some are more equal than others.”

–George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” 1945.

GLENDALE, Az. – It was, for once, everything the hype had meant for it to be.

The 17-14 shocker by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII will go down as one of the best games in the SB series.

Thanks to a defensive unit (especially the front four) that beat on Patriot hero Tom Brady like he was a purse-snatcher, the G-Men owned the pit at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Fifty years from the emergence of the National Football League’s signature championship game, New York teams have now been a part of arguably the three greatest games in the League’s history: the 1958 Baltimore Colts-Giants sudden death championship; the SB III upset victory by the New York Jets over the Colts, and the defeat of the previously undefeated Patriots.

On February 5, 2008, the Giants were given the well deserved parade, replete with ticker tape and throngs hailing the conquering heroes.

But the hollow sound you hear in the background comes from Uptown and elsewhere as the ringing of cheers are falling deaf on a few ears.

Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese, accomplishing an unprecedented feat of his own by bringing in a Super Bowl winner first time out the box, said in an interview with Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News that he was “proud to be representing all African-Americans.”

Well, I know a few who would take issue with said statement, Mr. Reese.

The fact is your organization has made it clear BASN is not welcome. BASN has been continually denied credentials to cover games and gain interviews.

One question — why?

Are you afraid we’re going to say how proud we are that you worked your way through one of the most conservative organizations in the League to a position of prominence?

Are we not worthy of praising your efforts — and criticizing them — as well?

Over the course of the season, your subordinates, specifically Peter Baptiste and Avis Roper, have constantly denied access.

My editor, Tony McClean, and the CEO of BASN, Mr. Roland Rogers, have been told statements to the effect of, “we’re not a magazine” and “your organization does not recognize on-line concerns.”

Yeah. Like ESPN.com. Or Yahoo! Sports; you know — those on-line concerns.

Well, the argument “Management has the right to refuse service” works in a restaurant, Mr. Reese — not in professional sports. Are you saying you’re not subject to freedom of the press?

And this would’ve been a source of continued consternation until the meeting of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA– of which I am a member) prior to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s State of the League Address on Friday of Super Bowl week.

When BASN expressed their concerns about the Giants’ actions to the body, a colleague confirmed our snub and said out loud what we already knew. I won’t repeat the exact words because I want to keep this on a “PG” level; but the utterance by my colleague clearly implied the Giants’ organization believes BASN is insignificant and beneath their notice.

I have also had Mr. Roper tell me BASN doesn’t matter because “he can’t find us anywhere.” Apparently meaning if Sports Illustrated isn’t quoting us, what good are we?

Could it be that Big Blue Broonzy is alive and well and performing nightly in East Rutherford, New Jersey?

So, because of your shortsightedness, Mr. Reese, our readers and listeners don’t get to appreciate and critique our take on the great job you’ve done in finding new talent, recycling veteran talent and providing credible depth to a championship.

What — you don’t think Black people are capable of delineating such information without white supervision?

Hey, we’re not hatin’ here — we’re ecstatic that Michael Strahan — one day to be the first player from Texas Southern to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — gets to retire on the highest of notes, if he so chooses.

And that Eli Manning has a pass for life in New York City (Enjoy those Double Stuf Oreos, my brother — you’ve earned them!)

My older brother Doc has been a Giants fan for 45 years, and can go back to “The Violent World of Sam Huff,” in terms of loyalty and love to his team.

But even he admitted as his team snagged the victory, he couldn’t enjoy it because of the taint your organization has put on it.

Some of the other 150,000 folks that visit us on our site weekly feel exactly the same way.

The concept of BASN is in providing another voice for all fans — not just the homers and the Sky Box suites crowd.

It’s called “freedom of the press” Mr. Reese — and, in all fairness, we don’t assume to speak for all African-Americans; or Giants fans for that matter.

But neither should you.