One Step Forward – Two Steps Back

Recently, I wrote that I hoped we had gotten to the point as a society where a slip of the tongue and an offensive/inappropriate phrase could engender a punishment and then we move on. No longer need it be “career-fatal”; Kelly Tilghman would serve a two-week suspension and then go back to her status as an anonymous talking hair-do on The Golf Channel. Would that it were so…

Golfweek magazine decided to prolong the agony and up the ante by putting the picture of a noose on the cover of their magazine last week. This was not a slip of the tongue; this was a deliberate act. So, now what should happen? The editor of Golfweek lost his job over this; and frankly, when I heard the magazine’s explanation/rationalization for the decision to put that picture on the cover, I think it may have been the right decision. I do not think the editor was/is a racist; I do think it was a dumb idea based on the magazine’s own explanation. The stake was driven into the heart of his tenure at the magazine when advertisers threatened to pull their ads from the publication. The surest recipe for failure in the newspaper/magazine world is to create a social maelstrom and then have advertisers cancel their deals with your newspaper/magazine.

The intention – nominally – was to foster a discussion of race relations in society. I have no quarrel with that intent; done outside the intrusive focus of television and without the hyper-politically correct presence of that segment of the society that always tries to kidnap such discussions, it would probably be a useful and constructive thing. But to think that Golfweek magazine is to become the vehicle for such an emotional and intellectual exchange is either stupid or megalomaniacal on the part of the magazine. There are precious few minorities who are professional golfers of any note; golf is a game played at private clubs that are not completely segregated but the racial homogeneity of private golf clubs around the US is probably not all that different from the racial homogeneity of the NBA. This magazine and this sport are not going to carry forward such an exchange of ideas and emotions to any positive end. Here are some conclusions one might get from a Golfweek-moderated exchange on race relations in the US in the year 2008:

    There ought to be more opportunities for minority kids to learn to play golf at a young age.

    There should be a way to provide instruction/coaching to young and aspiring minority kids who are close to being able to compete as pros.

    Lynching people is a bad idea and not very nice – particularly to the person being lynched.

Wow, maybe I was wrong. Maybe there are some important and valuable lessons to come from a Golfweek-moderated discussion of these issues. Or not…

Over the weekend, Roy Jones, Jr. beat Felix Trinidad. That would have been a major boxing event in the year 2000. In case you have been in a coma for a while, it is no longer 2000. This event now makes Roy Jones Jr. a major player in boxing’s growing Geezers R Us tour. It’s just sad…

Obviously, the big sporting events of the weekend were the NFL Conference Championship games. Allow me a six general observations:

    1. Did you notice the absence of fantasy stats constantly assaulting you from a crawl on the bottom of the screen? I did. And I loved it.

    2. People say Phillip Rivers showed how tough he was by playing on such a damaged knee yesterday. That’s fine; but acknowledge that Rivers did not play very well on that bad knee. QB Ratings are overblown stats, but his was 46 yesterday and that’s not good under any circumstances. Oh, and the Chargers did not exactly wear out the grass in the Pats’ end zone either.

    3. Tom Brady and the passing game were not the heroes for the Pats. With a slim lead in the second half, the Pats took over the game by handing the ball to Laurence Maroney and having him gash the Chargers’ defensive line where bigmouth, Igor Olshansky, was stationed. The Chargers punted the ball to the Pats with about 9 minutes left to play in the game; the Chargers’ offense never saw the field again.

    4. Were there three consecutive plays in the Giants/Packers game where players didn’t engage in some kind of display of macho nonsense? Who needs that crap?

    5. Some stat freak came up with the fact that Eli Manning’s completion percentage was less than 50% when the game time temperature was less than 40 degrees. This person has far too much time on his/her hands.

    6. I heard someone on TV (was it Chris Berman?) refer to the “New York football Giants”. Is that really necessary? The New York baseball Giants left town 50 years ago and there is no indication they are thinking of coming back.

Finally, Greg Cote had this analysis of the “Randy Moss situation” in the Miami Herald:

“Parting thought: A South Florida woman has accused the Patriots’ Randy Moss of battery, a major distraction as New England strives to complete a perfect season and match the 1972 Dolphins. The woman has not been identified, but is said to bear an eerie resemblance to Don Shula in an ill-fitting wig.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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