When Racism is Acceptable

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Posted in category Race Wars

When it is directed toward white people. Or specifically, white running backs.

I found this to be quite an amazing article about Stanford’s superstar running back, Toby Gerhart. All around the NFL people are saying that since Gerhart is not black he is not a worthy draft pick.

One longtime NFL scout insisted that Gerhart’s skin color will likely prevent the Pac-10’s offensive player of the year from being drafted in Thursday’s first round.

Since I was once a huge football junkie (I’ve not had the time for that lately), and since I think political correctness is bullshit, I don’t mind saying that I know such stereotypes about white/black players are typically spot-on, or very close to being right. White running backs just don’t make the grade very often, and when they do, it’s with a different style of play. Same as white wide receivers. And white cornerbacks – how many of those are there in the NFL? Was Jason Sehorn, who retired in 2003, the last white cornerback?

If this article was bringing forth similar stereotypes about blacks playing quarterback (or coaching), the fury would erupt, people making the remarks would be forced to make apologies and then be fired, cries of racism would shriek from the masses, a new quota would immediately appear in the NFL, diversity training would be ordered, and the media would have multiple (collective) orgasms over all of the political correctness.

This reminds me of an oldie but goodie – a 2005 column from the Washington Post‘s Michael Wilbon. Wilbon’s thesis was that, “While race is an inseparable element in sports, thoughtful discussion of the topic makes some squeamish.” Wilbon wrote about the hot buttons that were pressed when Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry said he needed some blacks kids at cornerback because they are faster. The opposing team’s black receivers were running right by his slow, white kids. DeBerry was hammered by the media and reprimanded by the Academy.

At the same time, Hank Aaron was furious that some of the best teams in baseball had few or no (American) blacks on their starting rosters. Says Wilbon:

But nobody’s keeping black folks from playing baseball now, except mostly ourselves. The peer pressure is to give up everything in life for basketball. The percentage of blacks in the minor leagues, reportedly, is smaller than the percentage in the big leagues. But this isn’t 1944.

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6 Responses to When Racism is Acceptable

  1. Iluvatar says:

    April 22nd, 2010 at 11:25 am

    “…and since I think political correctness is bullshit…”

    Amen. In a recent e-mail to a colleague, I wrote thusly: “That was very funny. “Acquired taste”. I need to remember that one…

    Good to hear age/wisdom has taken root. As you well know, MDA was such a politically difficult work environment.
    And one thing Jim and I both shared was a basic ignorance for being polite or politically correct. I guess it’s just me now.”

    Best receiver of all time? Answer: Oakland Raiders Fred Biletnikoff. My hero. And that was back when Jack Snow and Roman Gabriel, Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones and the (LA) Rams was my FAV team (my hatred of the Cowboys has been enduring).

    Know why he was so good despite being slower than molasses (like me; I played tight end as a kid)? He knew the most fundamental concept of receiving – the principal of separation. That guy could cut on a dime. He literally made DBs look silly; some of his cuts were so severe that the DBs literally fell down trying to cover him.

    I used his techniques not only when I played Ultimate but I coach it into the ES/MS/HS kids as well. How to separate.

    Oh yeh, forgot, he was WHITE. (shame, shame on me…)

    But damn was he ever cerebral.

  2. cousin lucky says:

    April 23rd, 2010 at 12:51 am

    When I was in high school ( Boston Technical ) my classmates were shocked at my ineptitude at playing basketball as well as their being shocked at my classroom mastery!! I did not fit the perceived ” colored “stereotype!!

    The human fixation on skin color or sex or national origin is just unbelievable. Whatever a person is ” inside ” does not mean a thing; the only thing that is supposed to matter is the perceived ” cubbyhole ” everyone has been assigned to!!

    You Can Not Be This Or That Because That Is Not Part Of The Perception!!

    Humanity Is Not Far Removed From Our Cro-Magnon Primitive Beginnings. Here We Are Still Holding Onto And Adhering to Such Trivial Nonsense!!!

    What A Total Waste Of Energy! Abilities Should Be Allowed to Flourish Unhindered By The Unfounded Biases Of Society!! You Betcha!!!!

  3. Karen De Coster says:

    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I LOVED Biletnikoff. God, what hands. Stabler to Biletnikoff – what memories. See this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw5BenW1hUA

    I loved 70s football; things will never be the same.

  4. Iluvatar says:

    April 25th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    @Karen: That was a great take. Had goosebumps watching that.

    But what was also interesting was a take wherein they finally acknowledged his cerebral ability: a rarely coherent & sane Al Davis (he is toast now) – calling him GENIUS. This dude played football the same way I played Ultimate: in a man-on-man defensive stlye I would burn the coverage INTO the GROUND! Ultimate was (should not be) a sprint/speed strength game – it was an exercise in ENDURANCE strength (that’s why I ran so many 5-milers in training). It was about who could last into the 2nd half.

    And, on the Left Coast, that is why I was called “Nuts & Bolts” for “Team Tools”. B/c I played the same way on defense…

    Here is the 2nd link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CQi1YEKBu0&NR=1

    An interesting story that is actually releveant to this thread. Here it is:

    I was the defensive coordinator (on a team that had a weak line). I taught my oldest son how the position of of safety in the Cover 3 zone should be played (and he used that to become excellent in Flag Football). He was unhappy with that so we made a mid-seaon switch to Adam Reid (we nicknamed him Andre after the New England great). David sunk to left outside LB (I played left defensive end on defense) where he was truly at home and was thouroughly awesome, and “Andre” was put back to safety. I spent a good time training Adam – who was a really good kid w/ a lot of speed- how to watch the tight end and watch the receivers out of his peripherals while watching the QB.

    Dude got about 8 picks in his season; ran about 5 interceptions/picks back for TDs. He was absolute sweetness to watch.

    Ar the end of the year party, his Dad approached me and thanked me personally for having taught his son so much. He said that his son had never understood the game until then; until I had just talked to and trained with him. I was a bit confused but reciprocated his kindness and patted his back.

    I really don’t think it is about “Black” or “White”. It is about athlticism and intelligence. When you have both – you are in gray. When you don’t it; it is about coaching skill. Got the same comment from the parents of a kid was our right guard and could not make weight. I put him (w/ his Mom’s approval) on a diet of hamburger and vegetables> He was beautiful by the end of our eason! Saw him about 5 years later – he is loking gooD! (Maybe, the diet converation w/ Mom worked out???)))

    I certainly hope so…

    So many of our children are in harm’s way…

  5. Iluvatar says:

    April 25th, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Oh, geeze loise. Adam Reid was black (and a very hansome lad). That was my point. You can exploit intelligence regardless of race/ (What a doofus I am@!)

    Trust me, they get it///

  6. Iluvatar says:

    April 26th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Correction: Andre Reid played for BUFFALO – duh! (that was really stoopid!!!)

    But my point remains unchanged – you coach your kids to be cerebral. And despite their color – they get IT.

    Never dumb down your children: it is a “Buddha” thing: stretch the strings tight but not so much that they break & by all means do not let the strings be droopy.

    Fred Biletnikoff was just that – a 24/7 schemer. In the 2nd video, he made the point that his goal was to basically wear you down to the ground.

    Dude was an inspiration to endurance strength training for me – even more than David Bedford who was my hero in HS b/c he was running ~50-100 miles PER DAY (the inventor of “LSD” – Long Slow Distance training). He would come “down” to run a marathon!! I always had fun telling people I was running “LSD”. And trust me; it worked. My 10K times were PR’s when I did it right.

    Although, my times were also pretty good after finishing an Ultimate season – who knows?

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