Straight No Chaser: Father Figure

By Desi Cortez
Updated: December 26, 2008

DENVER — Father Figure. Chief, general, Sargent Gunny Highway…. Sir.

“It means be advised that I’m mean, nasty and tired. I eat concertina wire and piss napalm… …and I can put a round through a flea’s ass at two hundred meters….”

That’s Clint Eastwood from Heartbreak Ridge. Gunny was trying to get in touch with his inner vagina, Mike Singletary’s gotten in touch with…God. Different , yet the same thing..

The San Francisco Niners are today a team, being lead by a leader, a man that the men on this NFL squad can respect and relate to. Singletary’s men, in what can only be regarded as a reflection of their growing team spirit and attitude – are growing mustaches for Sunday’s season finale against the Chocolate City Redskins.

They call me Mister Singletary

The Niners will don their throwback uniforms on Sunday, and some team members have been inspired by pictures of the team’s greats — more-than-a-few sporting beards, go-tees, handlebar mustaches — under glass at the team’s facility in Santa Clara, Calif., and have decided to acknowledge yesteryear.

They’re calling it Mustache Monday….. I’m calling it simply team spirit, the key, essential, fundamental element needed to succeed at any group effort. I’m calling it an indication of the oneness, the sameness, the comradery Mr. Intensity is creating, by hand.

What’s it take to grasp that? Common sense? Perhaps football sense? No degrees seem required.

I don’t think I’m taking a 1968 Mexico City, Bob Beamon long jump here in daring to guesstimate; most of the players on the 2008 Niners team recall the Bears Super Bowl Shuffle, the rap, Sir Walter and Jimmy Mac… t

However, the highlights they see on the Classics channel with Singletary yellin’ about “we gonna be here alllll day baby,” his eye’s beaming like a madman, fingers twitching like a Buffalo Soldier clinched, waiting till he see’s the whites’ of their eye’s…. garners instant credibility from his men – with the possibility of respect right around the corner….

Baring his backside, benching superstars, fluently, clearly barking his demands. Sharp and Blunt…all up-in-your face…. few men have the audacious power to attempt this…let-alone pull it off.

Anyone willing to admit Norv Turner, the tow-headed boy genius in Tampa, the dude in St. Louis, or even Bill Parcells, Dr. Doo-little himself; one of the few White men….white men who can communicate with the animals – likely none would’ve been able to reprimand Vernon Davis in the identical manner of Singletary.

Maybe Jack DelRio or Ron Rivera — whenever he becomes a head coach.

Had Tom Coughlin gone off like that….. he might have got his ass whipped before they pulled home boy off. Romeo, as mellow as the head Brown fellow is, he could maybe pull off something like this.

Who really knows? Well, I do know Lane Kiffin couldn’t have nor Mike Shanahan. Sorry, it may not be right, but it sure as hell is….predictable. Understandable?

That type of reaction would be classified under “consequences and repercussions” for this nation legally creating a segregated, unequal multi-tiered society. Embedding American apartheid for almost 400 years, then demanding we all catch up, move on, and get over it….

You think it’s got something to do with the history, the legacy of White racism in this country? Plain and simple, there are some things a White man can no longer get away with, and a public dress-down is one of them.

As a NFL coach, you can shun Black assistant coaches, avoid Black QB’s like the plague, ignore the lack of Black Cheerleaders…. but – you do what Singletary did, and yes, you might get your teeth knocked down your throat. It’s a confusing and combustible field of play…No?

Anyone willing to confess, if they won national super Lotto – 347 million dead presidents, and had the opportunity to own a tiny piece of an NFL franchise – and if in the deliberations that take place to hire an head coach….

You would not consider the potential coache’s raw ability to relate, communicate, interact, interface, inter any damn thing with a team which is vastly composed of young Afro-American men?

I believe men like Singletary, Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin and Herm Edwards, because of the broad backgrounds these men bring to the table, are, in some abstract ways, better able to motivate and mobilize their men.

A Black man has had little choice but to walk in another man’s shoes, see the big picture from a number of perspectives besides his own….learn the opposition.

Additionally, being Black men who’ve had to learn to swim forwards, backwards and sideways in the White man’s cutthroat world of professional gladiators, they can connect with the average young caucasian player – because, to-go-forth and conquer, as these men have, in such a country.

A Black man must be tri-culture, able to assimilate, understand the ways, likes, dislikes, customs and paranoid phobias of the white man, without accommodating to the point of…ass kissin’.

Some do, Some don’t…. Uncle C. Thomas, Ambassador/I-am-a-ass Alan Keyes, and the spineless, mindless, gutless green eyed Michael Jordan.

Any Black person who has dared to venture off the urban reservations -which most of us are rooted in – must have ascertained over the years how to communicate with all the stereotypes; farmers, frat boys, Flower Children, bible thumpers, red meat eatin’ gun totin’ Red necks and the wanna be Black Wiggers….

See President elect Obama….

This just seems like common sense: Tom Coughlin lost his locker room and players for a number of reasons. Later, for assorted reasons, they came back to him, or they met in the middle, gelled and won a ring.

But they also negotiated and compromised ….. that Captain Asshole, Barney Bad-Ass “spare the rod, spoil the well paid human property” gets old quick. And, without question that whole scenario gets complicated when it’s some 64 year old white man belittling and berating a young gifted Black man.

It’s one thing when the guy putting you back in your place, you know is not doing it in part because he has issues with your skin color, and that distain is enhanced due to your power, your paycheck, your white women waiting the parking lot in the Lotus…who looks like his daughter.

Sure, many of these cat’s could clearly benefit from a strong male in their lives. Pop’s was either a rollin’ stone, or married to his career, his golf clubs. Yet black and white players alike are looking for a strong alpha-male in today’s world of soft, weak, greedy, princess like male prom queens posing as leaders, but they’re not attracted very much to a Captain Bly or Simon LaGree….

Just a sidebar, Charles Barkley said he and Turner Gill believed Gill’s being married to a caucasian women…

may have been a liability in the eyes of the Bama’ plantation owners who chose a pretender instead of a contender to head Auburn.

For the record, Singletary is wed to a White women.

Gentleman, I’d suggest you’re being kind….

My folks read me this parental company line on a regular basis; we spank you because we love you, because we care, because we give a damn about you, and where you end up in life.

If we didn’t care, you could do whatever, run wild….. Now note, I understand the difference between parents and bosses, homes and work, even loving spankings and harsh whippin’s. But when you believe your boss gives a damn about you….

Tragically your mother has a heart attack, and while your sitting at the hospital, 3 o’clock in the dark thirty, and in walks your head coach….well, I’d suggest there’re men , who if before that night they’d run through a wall for that man, now, they’d run through fire, and others will follow….

I’m merely stating what can only be declared as the obvious, yet my linear perspective, this angle – is unspeakable in the minds of ESPN, FOX Sports, the Sporting News USA-Today or SI columnist and editors.

It’s taboo. Off-limits.

Of course Singletary’s success, his ability to craft these misfits and oddballs into a team goes far beyond his skin color, and taps into the expertise and knowledge and passion this Maximus of a man has accumulated, but I’d bet…

his like skin tone… helps, not hinders his ability to reach a good number of the young Black males, like Vernon Davis, be this bond intangible, vague or abstract – it still very much exist. And, it’s one a White guy can never, ever claim – therefore it must not exist nor be relevant, worth mentioning.

This White man’s society has forced upon every black man the same insults and injustices. No matter if your Baptist or Methodist, airplane pilot or Sky-Cap, doctor or intern, we all still Niggers in the eye’s of a significant slice of the US population.

Hell, Obama’s just another well dressed, silver tongued uppity nigger to what, a third of America…?

What’s going on in Frisco is Pee-Wee level; Singletary brought the Niners took the 49er’s off life support…. with his leadership. The man accomplished the same with his Monsters of the Midway he lead in the eighties.

Mr. Singletary brings that same focused, disciplined intensity to the Niners as a head coach. This mustache thing exemplifies what the Niners are becoming – a team, and they’re doing it under the leadership, the helmsmenship of Mike Singletary.

Go figure.