A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Turntablin’ With The Sports MCs
PHILADELPHIA — From the bowels of their sanctum sanctorum, Bob & Barbara’s, a watering hole of “chill repute” in Philly’s Center City, those notorious rascals, the Sports MCs, plot, plan and otherwise commiserate at the altar of “The Special,” – Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of Jim Beam)
As Butch the bartender sets ‘em up, our heroes — belly up to see their usual potables ready for tastin’.
Professor K (Chris) has The Special, while Mike (DJ Hunnycomb) opts for a beer mixed with Bloody Mary mix (it’s a Canadian thang), while MC Good Foot (Wendell) starts off with his double Hennessey:
HC: All right, I believe we are in effect gentlemen; so I know you like your riff Wendell, but, as we all said and agreed to, this is a continuation of the show, we’re doing a written or text version of the Sports MCs, and Butch, you’re a witness (nods and smiles)
All three, one after the other:Hello, hello, hello…Hello!
HC:Ok, now, to get into our turntable session:
Gentlemen, the Celtics and the Lakers are back in the NBA Finals, and somewhere in the NBA Offices, David Stern is walking around with his dick hard as a rock because he got exactly what he wanted. The TV guys are satisfied they’ve been blessed with the best possible matchup they could get.
The San Antonio Spurs got screwed by a couple of calls which some may say are a little controversial, and beneath all of this, the whole Tom Donaghy betting scandal has popped out like a zit on Prom Night.
In order, first we’ll start with the Professor, what’s your take on this Chris?
Professor: Well, here’s my take on this — first of all, give Kobe Bryant his props, thank you. Let’s face it — Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in the NBA. If there’s a couple of calls here, I don’t know how much it affected the outcome of that series because they, the Spurs, did lose that series three games to one and like I said, again, Kobe is your MVP, so I’m going to give props to Kobe and the Lakers, as much as people here in Philadelphia don’t like to give Kobe Bryant his props. But you guys give him his props because of what he’s done on the court.
HC: O.K., that’s workable, Good Foot???
GF: Well, for the first time in my life, I am actually rooting for the Celtics.
HC: Ooh, that’s saying a lot for a Philly cat.
GF: You’ve got no idea, and I mean, this team came out and played good defense, and we all know it, or at least we all subscribe to this notion, I believe, defense wins championships; so the best defensive team in the NBA really came out there and ended up in the Finals — and is standing on the verge of winning it all.
I am not a big Kobe Bryant fan. We Philadelphians, we got this thing for Kobe, but I think that it looks like smoke and mirrors to me. I could be wrong, and maybe that’s just the Sixers’ part of me talking, but as far as I’m concerned, like you say, it’s what Stern wanted, and it was one of the best Finals that we’ve had in a long time — until the Donaghy dirt came out.
Prof.:Well, I’ll say this, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders about that, too, but I can’t really find any evidence except to say that, maybe the Detroit Pistons decided they didn’t want to play anymore. I thought that the Pistons were probably the best team when they played together, but the problem is their coach.
The Pistons with Flip Saunders cannot get that team over the top and he came in there and inherited a team that had won a world championship. And as far as I’m concerned, I think it goes back to coaching and all that. So I don’t know about conspiracy theories, but I think that Detroit should have been in that Final and not the Boston Celtics.
HC: All right, well let’s get to this whole thing with the referees because we all know that when it comes to the Playoffs, it’s no longer basketball, it is referee ball. You know, Crawford had issues with Tim Duncan last year and got his ass thrown out behind that shit, so in retrospect, did it make sense to have him working the Spurs game knowing the history he already had with Tim Duncan? Anybody . . .
GF: Absolutely not! You know, it looked like a dumb decision on the League’s part, you could say, and if there’s any question, you’ve got to make the smart decision, and not subscribe to the theory he belongs there because he’s a Playoff ref.
And a lot of people are saying, well you know, he’s an NBA ref, and the game’s the game and he’s got to call it. But we’ve got some questions about where this guy’s head is at, and I think in that regard, you do yourself a disservice, and an image and a propaganda disservice, that particular series, of giving this guy the whistle; so, in retrospect, especially on the heels of the Donaghy deal, you would’ve thought the last thing the NBA gods wanted to present is an aura of impropriety.
HC: Well, let’s think about this — the season started on the heels of the Donaghy scandal and Stern trying to impress upon everybody that this was an isolated thing, and it was one fucking guy who was responsible for all of this. But Donaghy comes out and says, look, I was in this with a lot of other cats…
There were other referees and who were going along with this whole scenario; and is was orchestrated from on high. Meanwhile David Stern, of course, is coming out and saying, well, you know, he’s just trying to save his ass.
With the kind of money that was flowing around and all the games that this guy was involved in, can you, objectively as possible, gentlemen, tell me, in your guttest of gut reactions, is it really believable that one guy would be responsible for all this shit? Good Foot?
GF: Oh, Heeelllllllll, no! And you know my feeling about these issues in sports. So I agree with you. I agree with at least your implication that it’s never one guy, and it’s like roaches, man. If you see one, then there are 150 of them behind the wall.
HC: Uh, hmm, break out the muthafuckin’ Raid. Professor?
Prof:I would tend to agree with that and there’s probably a lot more to that situation then what anyone wants to talk about, but I get the feeling that the PR apparatus is going to basically shut it down, so to speak.
HC: Well, it will be interesting to see what they do; and now one last thing before we move on with this. The game Donaghy pointed to as the foundation for his ‘theory’ was the pivotal Game 5 of the 2002 playoff series between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was revealed that the refs called over 20 fouls in that last quarter, with the Lakers going to the line 27 times. Now shit comes out which implies more than a few sensed something funky was going on back then, and “company men” were part of the NBA’s plan to set up the best TV marquee matchup and screw the Kings, who were derisively called “the Queens” by Shaquille O’Neal after the Lakers’ victory. Could the league be this deep in doo-doo in orchestrating this madness? Good Foot?
GF: Why not? We just had a big show about of the marketing and the potential menace that goes with it. What upsets me is if the Celtics win, it demeans their effort to a degree.
You know, every year we knew when the NBA Draft came along, the Celtics were going to get the one white guy who could play a little bit and stick him on the roster.
Now we look at the Celtics roster, not only in addition to the Big Three, they have depth. They have good credible depth, you know, Big Baby (Glen Davis), Kendrick Perkins, Rondo, Sam Cassell. Actually, the Celtics look more like the Sixers would look like back in the day! But showing any inference the win is tainted makes the casual fan even more cynical — and eventually turn away from the sport.
Damn, GF, this is a revelation! Is that why you like them?
GF: It really bothers me that I’m admitting that I like the Celtics (laughs) knowing how much the Sixers’ fan in me hates Boston. I like this team because in addition to their Big Three, they’ve got castoffs, draftees, they work hard at defense and they deserve to be there. They remind me of the old Oakland Raiders, guys who couldn’t play anywhere else coming together for a common cause. As a blue collar kind of guy, that appeals to me.
HC: Well, all right. Now, Chris, Professor, on the other hand, we have the Lakers who have always been a kind of glossy, glitzy kind of team. You know, they’ve got the star power there with Kobe, but now they’ve picked up a credible second star in Pau Gasol who some think was gift wrapped to the Lakers by Jerry West as one of his last acts as GM of the Memphis Grizzlies.
You know, they have other white players there, Bill Walton’s kid who some say wouldn’t be in the League if not for his last name. They’ve got role players like Radmonovic shooting the three and all of that. There are more white guys on the Lakers than almost 2/3 of the teams in the NBA.
So, do the Lakers look more like the old Celtics? Professor?
Prof: I don’t think so. The way I see it, the stars on that team are Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom. Yes, Pau Gasol had given them something of a scoring presence on the inside. He plays good defense and he’s really the x-factor in the series. To tell you the truth, when I look back at the Celtics’ teams of the 1960s, the most dominant player was Center Bill Russell, and the teams of the 1980s were coached by a Black man and ex-Celtic player, K.C. Jones.
So I don’t think we should get too caught up in that situation, but I think the Lakers are a good team, and I think the Celtics have their work cut out for them. I think it will come down to the role players on each team and their performance. The stars will come out and do their thing, so it’s up to the supporting cast. The better supporting cast will win the Championship.
HC: O.K. — last licks on this subject. You made a good point there Professor, when you talked about the Boston Celtics. The Boston Celtics have had black coaches, successful black coaches, and have won Championships with them; marquee black players.
The Lakers? Black coaches? No. Is there any possibility of hiring a black coach in the future? I don’t think so. So, with a city that has been noted as being one of the more racially polarizing in all of the country, let alone on the East Coast by itself, what does that say about the juxtaposition of Boston and Los Angeles as places where blacks have been able to thrive beyond playing? Good Foot?
GF: Well, let’s not pretend that L.A. is one of these cities known for its multiculturalism. L.A. has a strong history of racial tension, as well. And I lived in L.A. for a time. Basically, you go north of Wilshire Boulevard and there’s some issue as to the sense of L.A. being a cosmopolitan city.
HC: Cool. Professor?
Prof.: Well, I’ll say the same thing. I mean, I’ll say it like this. I live in the United States of America, and to quote something that Malcolm X said about what’s happening down south, he said, “Anything south of the Canadian border is south.” So, from that standpoint, I live in America and I live in a country that still has to come to grips with its racism; so, whether it’s LA or Boston, same thing.
HC: “All around the world, same song,” that works.
As we get into Turntable 2, we want to touch on coaches now. Some would say we’ve had our fill of angry Black men, and we’ve had our fill of the quiet, what they want to say, classy brother, as in, “he won’t call us on the fact that then we pissed on his whole life and shit, so we’ll say he’s classy.”
And the issue I put before you gentlemen, can you be an angry Black man and be successful in sports? Can you win Championships with a Type A personality? Can you have a long and distinguished career for having the same kind of fiery temper as some of your white counterparts?
I site people like Lou Piniella and Earl Weaver — all of these guys who ranted and raved and kicked the bases, and dumped dirt on the umpire, and all this other old bullshit. We’ve had championships by people like Cito Gaston, who won back-to-back World Series. We’ve had Tony Dungy win a Super Bowl. Al Attles was a cool brother who won with Golden State…
On the other side of the coin, we’ve had people like Nolan Richardson and John Thompson, who may not be an angry Black man but his size and his presence alone made him intimidating to some people when he did his thing on the court with his towel and stuff.
Gentlemen, do we have room for successful angry Black men in Sports? Professor?
Prof.: I would say this. You mentioned Nolan Richardson, you said John Thompson. I don’t think there is room for anybody really angry in Sports. The last couple of years, I don’t consider Bill Belichick as an angry man.
HC: Well, we’re talking angry Black men. Belichick has the luxury of being white and being angry. He can be sullen and be angry. He can get away with that shit. Now if Bill Belichick was black, do you really think they would tolerate his shit? They would talk about his attitude. There would be people on the sports radio hounding this cat. So we know it’s a different rule.
Prof.: Yes, it is a double standard. Now, look at Willie Randolph. Now, if Willie Randolph had been ranting and raving say like Hal McRae, when he threw a telephone across the Press area, they would say, oh, he’s just an angry black man. And as a black man, you can’t win in this world whether you’re angry, or whether you are calm, cool and collected, because then they’ll say you’re soft. So it’s like anything else. As a black man, you can’t win, and I hate to say it, but it’s just the way it is.
As one person one said, it’s the only game the man left us to play. So I think that’s just the reality that we live with. It’s like on the one hand, people don’t want to see you angry because they fear your anger for whatever reason, but the thing is you can’t really win. Take for example, Willie Randolph in New York. He’s nice and calm, so then they say he’s soft. So really, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
HC: All right, Good Foot, tell me here. Is there room for the angry black man? We know Coach Chaney in Temple was angry for a long time, and especially after the documentary Black Magic came out, he had a reason to be even angrier. So, as successful as he was, he never got a chance to get hold of a Championship, but everybody always made an issue about his temper. Is the Professor right?
GF: Both of you had good points which I think are pretty profound. Number one, Chris is right. They are calling Willie Randolph soft. So, when you’re in control of your temper, then they call you soft.
Mike you’re right, too. One of the things that really hurt black coaches in any Sport is longevity, or the opportunity to have a career that gives you enough time to actually be able to put a program together that works.
In my mind, I say this. Here’s the most glaring comparison you can make: Tyrone Willingham versus Charlie Weis. Need I say more? The other thing is I think that there is a double standard in which white coaches who are prone to exhibitions of explosiveness are called zealous over achievers, while black men are called misfits, and are perceived as guys who don’t fit in or have some character problems or issues. They can’t control themselves. They have stepped over the boundaries between gentlemanly and savage. So there’s a double standard that’s always affixed and applied to black coaches and players, as well.
HC: Well, we mentioned Willie Randolph — but first, another round, Butch.
Butch: Man, y’all getting’ deep — this is some good shit; y’all should be on the radio (laughs)
HC: Let’s get back to Brother Randolph. Randolph has been a successful manager by all accounts. If we add up wins and losses, he’s won far more games than he’s lost. He should have been the manager of the year his first year out the box, and he got screwed.
The second time, he matches the Yankees, of all teams, let’s hear the boos, gentlemen.
Prof. & GF: (“Boo, Boooo, Boooo!“) o.k.,but he matches the Yankees’ record, which I believe was 99 and 63 or something like that to the wins, and the winner of the most valuable manger that year was Joe Girardi, who got fired in the middle of the season.
And all this time Willie’s keeping his cool. He’s not saying anything, and what he does say are all the right things.
Then of course, last year, the whole situation with the flop to Philly at the end of the season; Jimmy Rollins makes his Ali-like boast, and keeps the boast, keeps his word. The Phillies win, and Randolph and the Mets fold. He comes into the next season with the plum-free agent of the Draft in Johan Santana, and now the boo-birds are calling for his head more than ever.
Willie says, “You know, fuck this. You’re all not doing this shit for any other reason other than that the fact that I’m black. You’re not looking at the wins and losses. You’re doing this because I’m black, and I’m not saying anything because that’s just not my style. If I were Joe Torre, you all wouldn’t say shit.”
So, again, we contended that Randolph may get criticized for being perceived as soft, but when he blew up, he took it back. What was his motivation in taking it back? Was it the fact that he was in New York, or was it the fact that he regretted what he said?
GF: Well, I think that he did the best that he could. It was a matter of keeping his job or not keeping his job. I think that was his primary motivation for recanting and rescinding his remarks. Again, the double standard applies, and Willie’s been around and he knows it. And then again, this happens in New York, another racially charged American city. You know that Mike, you grew up there. What do you do? Chris said it best. It’s a no- win proposition. Whatever you do, again, you’re held to different standards.
Prof.: Well, that’s the thing, and I said in a column in the Tribune, as I always say, when you’re black in this world, you’re on double secret probation. That’s in any aspect in life.
I was talking to a couple of old major leaguers, and one of them said that Willie’s got to know that that exists from Jump Street, and it does because a guy like, for example, Wes Helms can get a job and Barry Bonds can’t. And no offense to Wes Helms, who’s an o.k. player, but he’s not Barry Bonds. And Bonds should be a DH somewhere in the American League.
One of the things this upcoming election has brought out, if I may jump into that for a second, is the fact that there is a double standard, and we’re seeing it every day on national television.
A double standard black people have to live with to exist in this country — and people don’t like it when you say it, but you’ve got to say it because it’s the truth. And the thing is, if it didn’t exist, I wouldn’t say it, but it does exist. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t, because it does.
HC: Well, Randolph doing what he did. If I’m reading you all right, you’re saying that this was the politics of his position, and he’s just making sure that he keeps his job.
Prof: I would say so, too. I would definitely say that. He’s got to keep his position, and I think that maybe Omar Minaya , because Omar Minaya is also a minority — I think he’s black/Latino. But it’s hard to say that when you’re losing. It’s hard on one hand, to say, o.k., there’s too much racism, because people will say you’re crying sour grapes.
And I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, because I think it does exist. But I just think that when you say it at a time when you’re losing, people tend to look at it with a jaundiced eye. Personally, I think that there is a double standard.
If you look at who works in the New York media, or in my media here in Philadelphia — there’s not a lot of black people who are there covering baseball, and the ones who are there will probably take the stance that well, he should just stop complaining about racism.
If it exists, it exists. We all know it’s there. And some black people who I’ve talked to in baseball basically said that Willie’s got to know that. A lot of people grudgingly accept the double standard. Even Joe Morgan said that it’s something you live with. Everybody knows it, but when you say it, people think that because you don’t dominate the media, people discount it. White people discount it. That’s just the way it is, and it’s accepted.
HC: Well, let’s look at this aspect of it. When Isaiah Thomas was being roasted in the papers, and rightfully so, he was being roasted for being a bad coach and a bad general manager in terms of not being able to put the proper chemistry on the court. Randolph has been successful in spite of the fact that he’s got a general manager whose best deal was getting him a second baseman past his prime (Castillo), a 41-year old outfielder (Alou), a couple of arms that are suspect, at best, but yet nobody is really slow – roasting Omar Minaya’s cojones to the fire.
Prof.: Well, a couple of papers I’ve read in New York did kind of hold Omar Minaya…
HC: But that’s nothing compared to the firestorm regarding Randolph. And I would think that this was just another log on his fire that has stoked his anger to the point where he’s like, “Fuck you all. Look at what the fuck is going on here. I’m winning games, and in spite of the fact that I’m doing all this shit, it still ain’t enough for you muthafuckas. Who are you going to replace me with and who can do a better job than I can?”
That’s what Randolph was probably on the verge of saying, which is why he ended up recanting. I’m only speculating here, but I can see it going that far because somebody going through what Randolph’s going through reminds me of the Henry Aaron/Bowie Kuhn bullshit where it sits for a long time and that shit stews inside of them. And eventually — it came the fuck out. So it made Randolph angry and because of his anger, he now has to recant because people are looking at this, “Well, that’s not Willie. He’s the quiet, reserved type.”
So Randolph gets pissed on because he’s doing this, and he gets pissed on because he didn’t say anything. So there’s the soft thing again.
GF: You know what though? People cry when black folks and other minorities play the race card. We’re being dealt from a rigged deck. And the fact that these guys don’t have to labor so long to get an opportunity to the degree to which the racial deck is in effect, like everything else in this culture when it comes to race, it’s all supposed to be a one-way street.
And again, I go back to Charlie Weis and Tyrone Willingham. Charlie Weis is just a horrible, horrible, horrible coach…
HC:With a 10-year contract.
GF: That’s right. And we don’t know how good or bad Tyrone Willingham, would have been, or could have been, because he wasn’t allowed the opportunity either.
And I think that the same thing is going to happen to Randolph. And you can say it’s sour grapes if you want to, but in my experience as a black man in America, as time goes on, you get angrier and angrier, because there’s only so much of this stuff you can take before internally, it becomes a matter of how do I manifest my manhood? I can’t manifest it by sitting here and taking it.
HC: You just said something that is very important, Good Foot. The internal damage that’s done and how it wears on a person. I think we all saw clear evidence of that with Ray Rhodes during his sojourn in Philadelphia as the coach of the Eagles.
GF: That’s absolutely right, because Ray Rhodes started out as a cool, quiet guy, and by the end of that thing, he was Norman Bates. That’s what happens when you’re constantly under that pressure and that double standard. Eventually, something in you snaps, and that can happen if you’re a bus driver, or a coach. After a while, the pressurized, polarized circumstance you find yourself under as an African American in any endeavor — eventually, you just snap.
HC: Well, see, there you go. And that’s the difference between Ray Rhodes, and say, a Willie Randolph. Rhodes made his thing vocal. He made no bones about it. He accepted the fact that as a coach, you’re hired to get fired anyway. But I don’t think there was any time when Rhodes held back his feelings about how the media treated him and everything else that went along with it. Because let’s remember, and I’m sure Professor, that you can check this. When Rhodes left Philadelphia, he had an 8 and 8 record in his last season.
Prof.: Actually, he was 4-12.
HC: 4 – 12? Forgive me. But his first season, he was 8 and 8, or something to that effect.
Prof.: And they made the Playoffs his first season.
HC: That’s right. They made the Playoffs his first season. But the first season that the Packers’ Coach that they had come in there who was supposed to be the first choice, he had something like an 8 and 8, or 7 to 9 record, and nobody said shit. It was like, “Well, he’s rebuilding, you know, he’ll be better in his second season.”
But Rhodes had his ass to the fire right from the word go, to be successful. And it wasn’t because the Eagles’ fans are rabid. We know “Iggles” fans are rabid. It was because he had to win or else, and they knew that with him being a black coach, it was even more important that he win because you’re getting the opportunity, and if you don’t do well in this one shot, you’ll never see it again. And it ate him up.
GF: I would agree. And another example of the double standard is those two guys in the NFL, Dave Wannstedt and Norv Turner. If those two guys could get a second chance, then you might as well let Alvin and the Chipmunks coach your team.
Prof.: Second chance.
HC: Third chance, fourth chance, I think.
GF: 15th chance. Those guys are just lousy, lousy, lousy coaches. And it’s not as if they haven’t had an opportunity to prove it. They’ve had plenty of opportunities to prove how bad they are. But somebody out there keeps saying, “All right, give them another shot. Maybe they’ll make it.”
Well, these guys are perpetual losers. Perpetual.
HC: Well, there’s another type of perpetual loser that’s out there. And there are some of these black men who are working in the National Football League. Now I don’t want to use the moniker “loser” to depict them per se, but more to describe this situation.
We’re talking about people like Jimmy Raye, Ted Cottrell, who at least three times in his career has had the No. 1 defense in the National Football League as a Defensive Coordinator. You know, these are men — Sherman Lewis, who for a long time, was running the offense in Green Bay, but when it got to the point when they were considering him for a coach, they were like, “Well, he’s not really running the offense. Holmgren is running the offense.”
So we’ve got these guys who are our age or older, who have never even gotten a sniff at a head coach job, but you’ve got people like Marv Levy. Levy, who had a chance to coach again, and then go into the front office, is over 80 years old!
Now, I’m not being disrespectful to Levy because he’s won titles and he’s got the pedigree. But if they can bring his old ass like that back into the coaching ranks, and consider him, or a Joe Gibbs, who again, no disrespect to Gibbs, who won championships.
Why can’t they give Ted Cottrell, a shot at a head coach job? Why can’t they give Jimmy Raye a shot at a head coach job? This is the kind of internally damaging stuff that they don’t speak on out loud, but they’d be boiling just as much as Rhodes did, when he had his shot and was catching all that hell.
Prof.: I would tend to agree. I remember Sherm Lewis, who went all those years, and never got a shot at becoming a head coach. For some reason, in a lot of these organizations, they still just do not want to see, I guess, a black man, as a face of the organization.
There have been efforts to try and get black coaches. There was one in Washington D.C. that I did a story on a couple of years ago, I can’t think of his name right now. It’s just been an effort. But the problem is that there is still this mind set in football, and perhaps in America, that is somehow uncomfortable with having a black man in charge.
Even with Tony Dungy winning a Super Bowl, and Lovie Smith getting to a Super Bowl. It’s still out there. You would think that the success of those guys would make people think about that a little bit. I’m rooting for Mike Tomlin to do well with Pittsburgh. I think he’s done well with that team there, and they’ve had victories last year.
So, to me, it’s going to take a black coach to win a couple of Super Bowls, even though Tony Dungy has won one. And as bad as the NFL is, it’s even worse at the college level.
HC: Oh, we know that for a fact. But will we be able to be allowed to have a personality in the National Football League? Not this Christian, I love God, blah, blah, blah, low key type deal that Coach Dungy has, but somebody who maybe is a Type “A” personality.
We had them in baseball, even though baseball’s record is worse. We’ve had a Lloyd McClendon; we’ve had a Hal McRae. We’ve had fiery guys who don’t give a fuck and they wear their emotions on their sleeve, and it reflects out there on the field. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to win the games, but they didn’t have much team to work with in the first place, which is why they probably got the damn jobs.
GF: I was personally embarrassed by Tony Dungy’s victory speech, when he said it didn’t matter whether we won or lost, but whether or not we did it God’s Way, as if God has got nothing better to do than to make sure that the Indianapolis Colts win a game.
HC: Good point.
GF: That was embarrassing. It was ludicrous. In itself, it took the game out of its context and made it bigger than it actually was. The universe is not dependent upon whether or not an NFL game is played, and who wins or loses. It blew the event way, way out of proportion, and I was sitting at an angle watching it. I was embarrassed by it. It was silly, and it was hyperbole, and it was just stupid.
HC: I like that. Professor, do you agree?
Prof.: Well, given the whole religious aspect of it. I don’t hold it against a guy for thanking God for his victory, although I, like you, have to wonder if Jesus up in Heaven basically said, “O.K, today I’ll bless the Steelers, or today, I’ll bless the Cowboys.”
I don’t condemn a person for expressing their religious points of view. I do say this about Tony Dungy. I think that he’s a great guy. And I’ve met him, and I’ve spoken to him.
HC: We’re not questioning whether Dungy is a great guy. We agree that he’s a good man. But we’re saying, does the NFL or any League have room for black men who don’t subscribe to that mentality? Do they have room for somebody, who maybe does speak, and whose emotions are on their sleeves? Who is like a Bill Cowher, and juts his chin out and spits when he’s speaking every second word, and all that other old bullshit.
Prof.: What about Herman Edwards? You’ve got Herman Edwards.
HC: He plays to win the game. But he’s ex-military. So, he’s not really somebody who screams, or anything like that for the sake of screaming. I mean, he’ll speak his mind about certain things, but . . .
Prof.: Well, he sure screamed at the Press. Hello?
GF: And look what happened to Herman Edwards. They ran his black ass out of New York.
HC: Thank you.
GF: They gave him a nothing team, an old running back in Curtis Martin, and a quarterback that I’ve got a better arm then. His best receiver was 30 some odd year old Santana Moss, and Wayne Chrebet, who at best should have been the towel boy.
I want to say something about what Chris said about Jesus being up in Heaven deciding on whether we should win the game. We already have a controversy on betting referees. Do we need a controversy on betting deities, as well?
HC: There you go. Take God and the points. Butch, you can take these away and reload, my brother.
GF: Edwards, like most of the black coaches, is under the gun not because he can’t coach — he hasn’t got anything to work with! His best weapon was used up two seasons ago (RB Larry Johnson). So the aggravation of knowing this off the bat couldn’t guarantee him any kind of longevity, and I would venture to say that one more season with the Chiefs would be it for him, too if they don’t make the playoffs.
HC: There you go. Good Foot makes an excellent point, Chris, because Edwards got the Jets to the Playoffs two years in a row with a quarterback who can’t throw deep. Shit, I mean Butch has got a better fucking arm than he does…
Butch: (bringing back drinks) Damn Skippy! That boy ain’t shit. This round’s on me.
MCs: BUTCH! (cheers)
HC: And in spite of the fact that he had a half-assed team with a very predictable offense, he managed to somehow get them to the Playoffs. Good coaching jobs with bad personnel. He speaks his mind about how fucked up shit is, and he’s busting his ass to win, and his reward? He was fired.
Now, if he was Willie Randolph . . .
Prof.: Or did he leave to go to Kansas City? I don’t think that he was fired.
HC: Let’s put it this way. He wasn’t fired in the public sense, but you’d better believe the Jets would not want to follow up on his contract the third year based on what he said, and what he had because they knew they couldn’t go any further with what they had and make excuses any more.
The Jets, like the Mets, are red-headed step children in New York because they have to deal with the Yankees and the Giants, and they know that if you don’t have somebody who is the kind of colorful, strong-willed personalities that will stand up to these guys, it’s not going to work.
The few times a team like the Jets get the back page in the New York Post while Edwards was there is because their coach was roasting the media over the coals, and that does not bode well for any coach’s future, especially for a black head coach.
GF: I don’t think that it can be denied that Herman Edwards left New York under duress.
Prof.: Well, I would tend to agree with that. He left under a lot of criticism, but I think that Herman Edwards didn’t have the players during his time at the Jets. As a matter of fact, Ray Rhodes supposedly said during a press conference that he told his players that losing was like the other team sodomizing his girlfriend. But I think there is room for those who are fired up and fiery, and all of that, but more importantly, you’ve got to win, too.
HC: Well, you’ve always go to win. There’s no doubt about that. I’m just curious as to whether or not they would allow that to happen during the course of an eight, ten, fifteen year career where they get steady work in the League to do the things that they need to do to be successful.
But having said that, the recanting by Randolph was important because he was pissed, he spoke his mind, and then he had to take it back at the last minute.
HC: We want to go from Super Bowls to the ultimate Big Game. And we have Barack Obama looking to be able to be the new draft choice of the United States team. Can he quarterback the U.S. to victory, given all these parameters, and the mindset about voting for him? Are we voting for him because he’s black?
Or are some people voting for him so that whites can get their guilty ya-yas out of their system and say, “See? I’m not racist. I voted for the black guy.”?
What is the real deal with this? This was alluded to earlier, gentlemen — Professor, lead off…
Prof.: Well, I want to say this about the Barack Obama campaign. One of the things that I think is coming out is, basically, America’s racial dilemma. And another thing that is also coming out is the fact that there was once an alliance, a supposed alliance, between black women activists and white women feminists. Now that alliance, whatever it was, and I don’t think it ever existed, has been blown out the door.
And we are finding that the whole argument of affirmative action — the idea that white women benefitted from affirmative action — is absolutely correct.
And it’s really historic because you can go back in history. When the 15th Amendment was out, there were a lot of suffragettes who were upset about the fact that black males got the right to vote before they did. So that animosity has always existed.
And the thing is, what white women and black women have gone through, are totally, totally different experiences. And the whole thing with feminism and things of that nature — the feminist movement has never taken into consideration the issues that black women have had to face.
GF: Well, black women have always been liberated from the time of slavery when they had to go work out in the field. So I don’t think, as a political or social analogy, I don’t think the two circumstances are applicable or comparable.
As for your first question, Mike, I have to be honest with you. Primarily, my feeling is for Barack Obama because he’s black. I’d like to see that happen before I die.
I recounted to you guys earlier a situation I was in as the Editor of the Central Florida Advocate where in a majority black district, a white person was running against a black person. We dug up some information that showed that the black candidate, in his past endeavors, had been dishonest to, and exploitative of, that same black constituency, while the white candidate was providing jobs for people in that constituency.
So our dilemma was — who do you endorse? And the question becomes, is the black face always the best representative of black needs and black aspirations? I think you have to ask that question. That’s the real dichotomy that we’re always faced with as black folks.
HC:Well, I would agree with that. Dichotomy is a good word because you hit it right on the head. Who is the most qualified, and who would be best suited for the needs of the people? And I would venture to say that in this election, that person is not going to show up.
You know, if it was about needs, then Dennis Kucinich would be my choice for President. And we are not going to have that luxury, but just as many people won’t vote for Obama because of his ethnic background, some are going to specifically because of his ethnic background, and not because he is the best qualified.
But in this case, he may be the best of a bad bunch. The fact Hillary Clinton did the type of things she did to undercut the situation damaged the party to such a degree that we are going to see the true racial imprint of America come out.
And as Chris alluded to, yes this is something that, well it may be more evident to us because we’re in the media and we deal with this on a day-to-day basis, but for the person who doesn’t give a fuck about that because they’re too busy trying to feed their family or have a roof over their head, this could have life altering implications which, if it affects them, then it really does affect everybody.
And the fact that Obama had to do the type of political dancing to get to where he has gotten still doesn’t hold up the reality that he’s not the best suited person for the job. But we want to see a black president in our lifetime so that America can back up off the hypocritical trip that it’s been doing all this time.
Now I don’t know if that’s going to be possible, and gentlemen, I need your thoughts on that further — Professor?
Prof.: Well, here’s my thing. I think if you were to compare Barack Obama to John McCain, I think that Barack Obama is probably more qualified than the last guy, or the last few guys, that we had in that White House. And I’ll definitely say that.
But Obama’s candidacy, oddly enough, in some respects, take for example, the whole thing with Jeremiah Wright, he was bringing out the idea that America hasn’t really dealt with its racial problems.
Because the thing about it is — no one really asked the question — why does Wright feel the way he does? Why does Michelle Obama feel that this is the first time in a long time that she can say that she is proud to be an American?
There is something — and the news media won’t deal with that. They will not deal with that issue. Nobody asked the right question — why do black people feel this way about their country?
America does not want to deal with its own contradictions. America would rather wrap itself in the flag, and say “God and Country” rather than deal with this whole thing that its citizens, many people of color, have not been treated like Americans.
HC: Good Foot — is Chris right? Has this question not been asked, or are they just not asking the right people?
GF: Well, I think it’s a combination of both. I think that, in fact, they have not asked the right people.
If you watch the news shows, particularly shows like those on Fox News, you see them trot out the “Uncle Tom” du jour, and ask him what he thinks about Jeremiah Wright or Obama’s policies, and these Uncle Toms invariably say, “Well, you know, I think Obama’s off track. I think his association with Jeremiah Wright, due to the fact that he’s not in line with the rest of the country”, and so forth and so on, la didah didah and scooby, dooby , dooby….
They never ask Michael Dyson. They never ask Cornell West. They never ask Dr. Harry Edwards and Boyce Watkins. They never get those guys on there because those guys would tell them.
It’s two different Americas, and until you fix this problem of America’s racial issues, you’re never really ever going to fix America. So I don’t think they are asking the right guys. Nobody bothered to ask the question — Why do black folks feel this way?
Just like they didn’t ask the question after 9/11 — Why are these guys so pissed off? And then it becomes a matter of culpability, because if they ask the question, and then they get the answer, now they have to go, hmm, o.k., maybe we screwed up. Maybe we did something wrong.
But if they ask that question, then they have to be prepared to receive the answer in earnest and address it. And I don’t think that America wants to hear it. It’s too uncomfortable. In addition, the other thing is that it’s going to take a ton of work to try to fix it, and it’s easier to not fix it.
HC: It is easier to not fix, and the fact that this racial aspect has become so pronounced, and it is in everybody’s face, brings us back to something that was touched on earlier that Chris mentioned about feminists. You know, we’ve got this oxymoronic term – black feminist.
We have angry black women in sports, as well. I cite as one, C. Vivian Stringer, who has put out a resume that is comparable to anything any male coach of any ethnic stripe has done. She is the first female coach to bring four different schools to a Final Four. But in spite of her success, she plays not even a second or third fiddle to coaches like Pat Summit in Tennessee, in terms of her influence, that she got screwed several times in playoff games.
And where are the black coaches in women’s college ball besides Stringer? Are we supposed to be satisfied that because it’s mostly women that it’s O.K.? You gonna tell me there are no other sistas besides Ms. Stringer that can coach? I think not…
Somebody would say, “It was all in the spirit of the game, and you win, you lose, and that’s how it happens.” But the fact that she has gone on as long as she has, the “nappy headed hos” statements, and stuff regarding her tenure with Rutgers with the team there. You can’t tell me that C. Vivian doesn’t have the same anger and hurt that a Lloyd McClendon, or in Philadelphia, John Cheney, who was angry for a long time and justifiably so. Are we running into some realities here where black women are finally seeing that the okie – doke has been in effect with this whole myth of black feminists — Professor?
Prof.: Well, my thing is this. As we said earlier, black women have different issues than white women when it comes down to finding gender equality and things of that nature. Black women are faced with double entendre, or whatever you want to call it, if I used the right word there. Black women are faced with the whole situation of being black and female.
And I do think that there are some issues with sexism, and not just sexism from white bosses, but also from us as men. It’s just a situation where they have to deal with a lot of other things, plus dealing with family and those kinds of things, because family is important in our particular community.
But I just think that overall, when it comes down to it, this whole election goes to show you that black women and white women were never on the same accord, and it’s coming out.
HC: But does this mean that we’re going to see, if Obama loses the election, that Michelle Obama will step to Hillary sometime in the near future in some back alley action? To come down with her hair slicked back wearing jeans and bo-bos, and fixin’ to whip her ass? Will we see that kind of hostility coming from black females?
Prof.: Mike, come on, I don’t know. It’s funny, but you know what I’d like to see come out of this? Whether Obama wins, or whether Obama loses, we’re going to have to deal with the issue of race in this society. We’re going to have to deal with it intelligently because the problem is, as this election has shown me that white America is so ignorant of how black people feel about the world around them.
There is such a disconnection between what they consider to be patriotic and what we do, and with, you know, our own issues, so again, there is that disconnect, and we’re going to have to deal with the situation and to be honest about it.
HC: But you can’t be honest if you have to suppress your emotions. If Barack Obama had the personality or the mentality, say of a Chaney or of a McClendon or McRae, and when that stuff first came out, he got to the press conference and said, “Fuck you all. You know, these muthafuckas, they’re full of shit. And what both Reverends said was true. So why are you all tripping?
This is the big problem. He didn’t say that because he had to keep his mentality on an even keel so that he wouldn’t scare white people. But that’s the whole point.
Prof.: But he’s a politician, and as a politician, he’s trying to win an election.
HC: All right, but politicians notwithstanding, we’ve had fiery politicians. We’ve had Huey Long, and all these other white politicians who have gone out there and been sassy and outspoken in front of the press.
You know, but a black man doing this? You’re not going to see that, especially for the highest office in the land. Come on, we’ve had Adam Clayton Powell’s light undercut simply because he was the first “bad nigger” in Congress — his words. And he was in line to be on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee in government, until they found a way to get his ass out of there. And all I’m saying here is Barack is not going to have the luxury of being angry.
Prof.: Well, if I can say this. First of all, what Adam Clayton Powell had to do back in the 1950s and 1960s — this is a different time. I think that that is just not Barack Obama’s style. If that was his style from Jump Street, then I’d say that was o.k. I think that he would just rather try to draw flies with honey. I don’t think that’s necessarily his style. I just don’t. I really don’t think that’s him. I’m just thinking that he has to do things the way he best feels he can do things.
HC: Good Foot, what do you think?
GF: I agree with Chris that that’s probably not Obama’s style. And he’s been smart enough to kind of, you know, temper his remarks. He’s a brilliant politician, and he knows how to maneuver this thing. And I think that’s really his strongest asset.
But I’ll say this to you, as well. I wanna go back to this whole idea about feminism and things like that. There is a schism that exists between white feminists and black feminists. It’s a schism that exists when you have an unequal society. I don’t know why anybody is shocked at all.
HC: All right — well, that’s a good place to leave it for now.
As we come out of the turntables, let’s get into the Riffs. Let’s get our cookies off on whatever it is that’s on our minds here. Good Foot, I know time is against you here, so why don’t you just go on ahead and sound out for us on what’s eating you, sir?
GF: Well, my riff is relatively short for a change. (MCs laugh). Fuck You!
Recently while I was reading the Atlanta Journal – Constitution, I came across a headline that asked, “Are the Chinese Olympics being overly politicized”, or something to that effect. And as I read it, I snickered out loud at the arrogance and the sheer ludicrousness of the question; because here is the deal. Every sporting event is overtly politicized, particularly the Olympics.
Now in our country, every day, in hundreds of towns, and hundreds of sporting events, from pee wee league to the pools, the American flag is unfurled, hands slapped down over hearts, and heartfelt versions of the Star Spangled Banner in varying degrees of proficiency are rendered.
Well, the truth is, the minute that you pull out the flag, you are inexorably politicizing the event. The Olympics historically have been a platform on which nationalism or a nation’s pride is celebrated. The games have also served as a vehicle for propagandizing the superiority of one culture over another, and from time to time, they’ve also served as a stage upon which to offer protests and dissenting views.
For example, who can deny the propaganda value of Jesse Owens’ victory in the 1936 Olympics over Hitler’s Nazi ubermenschen? Or the Olympic boycott of 1980 and the sheer power of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ black power salute on the podium at the 1968 summer games in Mexico City. The protesting of the Beijing Olympics only goes to further prove that the event is what it is. The most political of events disguised as a sporting event.
The British government’s failed attempt to prohibit its athletes from protesting Chinese occupation of Tibet aside, human beings are inherently and innately political animals. It is what we do. And in the endeavor or sports, as in any other human endeavor, that predilection will never, ever be denied.
HC: Well said, MC Good Foot. To the Professor, you may step up to the dais and elucidate, sir.
Prof.:Well, my riff is on the whole Willie Randolph situation. I, for one, don’t think it’s all Willie’s fault. As a manager and as a guy who is in charge, you have to assume some responsibility.
But let’s face it, ladies and gentlemen, Willie Randolph cannot go up there and swing the bat because Carlos Beltran will get inside of Jose Reyes’ head. Guys have got to pitch. Mike Pelfrey has to do a better job or he’s going back to the Minors.
Nor can Willie Randolph control whether or not Pedro Martinez is going to be back in the lineup in terms of his injury; the same thing with Moises Alou, who spent a lot of time dormant on the disabled list.
Perhaps one of the things you have to look at in terms of the New York Mets is this one unmitigated fact. Everybody in the National League East has probably gotten better or is just as good as the so called Mets.
New Yorkers like to think that they have the best team, and a lot of New York writers, especially in the last year, like to go around saying that the Mets somehow have a sense of entitlement, or that New Yorkers have a sense of entitlement to whatever Playoff title or whatever.
I hate to tell you this, but the Phillies, down here in Philadelphia, are a lot better than the Mets. Also, the Braves are pretty good. The Braves are, I think, one and two in pitching and hitting in the National League this year. And the Florida Marlins are a team to be reckoned with.
So it’s a situation where, maybe, just maybe, maybe the players on the field have to play for the Mets. The Manager can’t do everything. The Manager can’t run the bases for Reyes. He can’t hit for Carlos Beltran in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series when he’s looking at a third strike.
So the thing is that it’s a lot more complicated than that. And let’s face it, New York, maybe your team is not as good as everybody else’s in the division.
That’s my riff for today.
HC: Indeed. The Professor, doin’ his thang — Butch, get him another special. Well, gentlemen, I’ll try to make mine as short and sweet as possible.
And as I do from time to time, my source for this happens to be BASN’s Black Box. Especially a recent one I felt was really poignant.
The gentleman alluded in the box about the Boston Celtics, and how they were the ideal model to ownership because they’re not owned by a corporate entity or anything like that. Basically, 25 guys put their money together and bought the Celtics. And it cost them about $360 million when the Celtics were, I guess, being valued as a product because of how bad the team was doing at the time.
The team is now worth $750 million, so now these cats have doubled their investment. To my knowledge, none of the guys who bought the Celtics happen to be black. But the box alludes to the fact that, hey, you know what? You can’t tell me there ain’t 25 rich black guys who wouldn’t or couldn’t throw their money together and buy a team.
I mean, let’s look at the Seattle situation. We have a franchise out there that’s going to Oklahoma City. You’re telling me that Spike Lee, John Singleton, Lou Gossett, who happens to be a minority owner of the Diamond Backs, by the way, and maybe 15 or 20 other influential brothers, Bill Cosby? I mean, his Jello pudding sales alone would make him an instant partner in something like that.
You’re telling me that these cats can’t get together and buy a team? You can’t say there’s something wrong with their money. Could it be that what’s wrong is really their color? That’s the issue? It could well be. But as George Jefferson used to always say, he made enough green to cover his black. I would think that $360 million dollars would cover anybody, whatever color they were.
And if we have to scale this down to a lower level, let’s talk about the 7 or 8 guys who bought the horse, Funny Cide, for $75,000. All Funny Cide did was win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and almost became a Triple Crown winner. Funny Cide, who is a gelding now, has won over $5 million dollars for his investors.
You can’t tell me 4 or 5 brothers couldn’t get together and buy a horse like Big Brown, or something to that effect? We’re talking about working smarter and not harder. You’re telling me that all this money out here is not available for these brothers to do something?
Well, they had to be somewhat smart to make this money. Why don’t they allow money make them even more intelligent? By putting it into something like a sports franchise, and making a real difference because from there, they have the power to say, “I’ll put a qualified black man as a general manager or as a coach, or Director of Player Personnel – whatever you want to say.
Bottom line — green and black is where it’s at.
GF: Very good.
Prof.: Yes, very good.
HC: That takes care of the riffs. Gentlemen, we’ll convene again about specifically another MC’s thing in another couple of weeks. But in between, we will talk and commiserate and otherwise hobnob. So go safe, wherever you all happen to be.
Prof.: All right.
HC: And I’ll talk to you all later. You all have a good night.
GF: Hey, Mike. You know what, Mike?
GF: Your riff reminded me of a song. It’s from a stage play.
GF singing: I’ve got a horse right here. The name is . . . The guy who says if the weather’s clear . . .
HC laughing & singing: Can do. Can do. The muthafucka said the horse can do.
Prof.: Well you all know Bob Johnson owns a team down in Charlotte.
HC: But Bob doesn’t own the loyalty of the fans — especially after that BET bullshit; fuck Bob — straight up — for putting that garbage out there…
Prof.:All right. I got to go fellows.
HC: All right, later guys.
GF: Later — whose turn is it to drive?
Butch: The taxi company, gentlemen – or else sit your asses back down and have some coffee, ’cause your black asses ain’t going anywhere without me knowing you’re all right. Prof: Gentlemen — raise your coffee cups to man of the hour — BUTCH!
Butch: The taxi company, gentlemen – or else sit your asses back down and have some coffee, ’cause your black asses ain’t going anywhere without me knowing you’re all right.
Prof: Gentlemen — raise your coffee cups to man of the hour — BUTCH!