Over the past few weeks, there have been two issues that really chapped my ass. I’ve been trying to just let them go, but then I realized I’m a blogger; it’s my non-paying job to bitch about stuff. So, here it goes…
1) The Bobby Petrino Situation
The guy is a scumbag, pure and simple. But Arkansas got what they deserved, and the only person I’ve seen say that is the guy over at Klown Times.
Keep in mind that (Arkansas athletic director Kevin) Long is the same AD who hired Petrino away from the Atlanta Falcons DURING THEIR SEASON. If that wasn’t bad enough, Long did so without asking permission to speak to Petrino.
Plus, I find it hard to believe that Long did not know of Petrino’s past transgressions. After all, this is the same Petrino who secretly flirted with Auburn while former coach Tommy Tuberville was still employed there. And of course there was that Atlanta Falcons “thing.”
Let’s take Klown’s position as a starting point. I’ve always had a sort of “three strikes” rule when it comes to forming opinions, and this latest incident with Petrino was clearly worthy of ringing him up as a complete dick…100%, USDA Prime, Grade A Tube Steak.
Look at the Auburn situation. You know what kind of guy flies into town secretly to discuss ripping a job out from under another coach? The same kind of guy who pretends to be your best friend, then bangs your wife the minute you are out of town on business. Not to mention, this tells you a lot about how much this guy values loyalty. He was perfectly fine not only with leaving town unannounced in the middle of the night, he was willing to sneak in the back door at his secret destination. I understand that valuing loyalty in college sports is like cornering the sunscreen market in Alaska in January, but at some point you simply cannot advertise you are willing to stab anybody in the back at anytime; karma can be a real bitch. We’ll come back to that point later.
Then, there’s what happened with the Falcons. The way that situation ended in Atlanta could have been a 500-level class in douchebaggery. Not only did Petrino actively seek to bail the minute things got tough mid-way through a failed season, he secretly campaigned for the Arkansas job while then-Hawg head coach Houston Nutt was embroiled in his own scandal, and when Bobby-Boy got the job in Fayetteville, he informed the Falcons of his mid-season departure with a letter. The Falcons, and their owner Arthur Blank made a huge commitment to Petrino on the assumption he would be the big-time coach to make the transition from college to the NFL. Fat chance; instead the Falcons realized the hard way they had married their future to a guy who couldn’t wait to skip town the minute a greener pasture presented itself. Perhaps if Arthur Blank had paid Petrino in 25-year old motorcycle riding suck-sluts…
As much as the douchiness already oozes out of this issue, there’s two things that really pissed me off here. First of all, there’s the people who thought Petrino shouldn’t have been fired. Tell that to Houston Nutt. For those of you who may not recall, Nutt got himself run out of Fayetteville for some extra-marital cannubial bliss. To make a long story short, Nutt’s relationship with local news anchor Donna Bragg hit the public arena when a fan who was angry with the Nutt filed a Freedom of Information Act requesting Nutt’s email and phone records, at which point he exposed his carnal canoodling with Bragg.
Of course, this led to Nutt’s firing, not for his won-loss record, but for his extra-curricular activity. I will admit I’m a fan of the Nutt, if for no other reason as he makes wonderful blog-fodder. But this is more about the potential headache Arkansas could have faced. If the university had not fired Petrino, the Nutt could have excoriated the Arkansas administration, especially since Petrino upped the ante over what the Nutt did by a) messing with a University employee who b) Petrino got on the payroll nad c) tried to cover up the motorcycle accident, up to and including trying not to call 911 to aid his injured mistress, which led to d) the filing of a false report on the incident to university administration.
Speaking of coaches who have no love for Petrino, do you wonder what Tommy Tuberville thought of all this? Sure, now Tuberville has his own issues to deal with at Texas Tech, but don’t forget that Tuberville hired Petrino at Auburn to run his offense. In a move of complete foreshadowing, Petrino stair-stepped that experience into the head coaching job at Louisville, the very same job from which Petrino then tried to secretly steal Tuberville’s gig at Auburn. Here comes that karma thing again…
St-eeee-rike Three. Grab some bench, Bobby…you are out.
As far as blog-fodder is concerned, here’s a classic bit from the Dubsism archives about Bobby Petrino, Houston Nutt, Tommy Tuberville, and the classic Vietnam War story…
2) The Overblown Ozzie Guillen “Controversy”
I really don’t know where to start with this one. I don’t know for whom I have the most invective for in this case. It could be the douchebags in the media who asked the outspoken Guillen a loaded question when they knew both the answer he would give and how they would attempt to explode the statements of a baseball manager into some sort of geo-political catastrophe. It could be the dumb-asses who stood in front of the Marlins’ ball-park acting as if Guillen’s statement about the murderous scumwad known as Fidel Castro had somehow been responsible for all the misery caused throughout the annals of human history. Hell, it could also be the people who acted as if this was the worst thing that could ever happen, then completely lost interest as quickly as they became so righteously indignant.
Let’s start from the top.
First of all, it is a sad state of affairs when I have to agree with that pompous bag of anal leakage known as Bill Maher. But his defense of Guillen, while done for reasons ideologically different from my own, is still nonetheless correct.
“If you say something Communists don’t like, they take away your job and send you to a re-education camp until you come out with the one approved opinion,” Maher said sarcastically. “We wouldn’t want that here in America.”
Granted, the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people is on Castro’s hands. If I were in Cuba and made the anti-Castro comments I’m making here, you can bet your beard and cigar my ass would be in a cell in no time. That’s what dictators do. But in America, the press has the right to ask a loaded, pre-meditated, and/or albeit pointless question, much like Guillen has the right to answer it even if it means sticking both feet in his mouth up to the ankles.
Am I the only person who was reminded of the Marge Schott incident? For those of you who don’t recall, Schott was sand-bagged by ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio when she made some pro-Hitler comments. For this she was run out of baseball, despite the fact that all she did was answer a question. If you read the transcript of the interview, two things should leap off the screen at you. First, what she said was hardly a ringing endorsement of Hitler, and second, you should find it curious that the exact wording of Paolantonio’s question is missing.
Here’s why that matters…if you are going to ask an out-spoken person like Schott or Guillen such loaded questions, aren’t you doing so EXACTLY to illicit such a quote you as a journalist can use to gin up a tempest on a keyboard? Doesn’t that then mean that the very same journalists who are fanning the flames of indignation are doing so while hiding their matches and gasoline cans?
Then, there’s the people who were so whipped up over all of this? This whole thing dripped with so much hypocrisy; people who don’t even go to Marlins games threatening boycotts unless Guillen was fired, yet they were noticeably absent when Guillen returned from his suspension. Oh, that’s right, they weren’t going to show up anyway. Not to mention, many of these Cubans who were supposedly so upset by Guillen’s comments are the very same who have done nothing to help those people still stuck under Castro’s thumb. I understand this in no way applies to all Cubans, but there is a sizable portion of that community who have taken a decided “I got mine, you get yours” attitude towards those still in Cuba. If you want to create change, you have to do more than show up for three hours with a cardboard sign.
Not to mention, there’s nothing quite like the supreme assholery of those who are so quick to label something “unforgivable.” Guess what, you sign-waving dipshit? It is your very intolerance upon which dictatorships like the abhorrent one of Castro are built; the soul of tyranny is the stamping out of that which is deemed arbitrarily to be “unfavorable.”
Now, for the most important question. Why does anybody give a frog’s fat ass about what Ozzie Guillen thinks? He’s a baseball manager, and that’s all he is. He’s not the President, a Governor, or any sort of politician or government leader. He’s not an ambassador to the United Nations, he’s not even an over-paid entertainer who gets away with saying stupid shit on a daily basis. But like those entertainers, his words carry no weight, so outside of baseball there is no reason to give a damn about anything he says. One of the items in the Bill of Rights is the right to free speech; which is why one thing that isn’t there is the right not to be offended. There’s lots of truly offensive things in the world, and if you get your hackles up over the ramblings of a half-wit baseball manager, you really need to get out of the house more often.
There are a lot of things in this country that started with a valid need for them to exist, then they outgrew their usefulness and transmogrified into some sort of horrible, Bizzaro-world mutation. The labor unions that kept workers from being mangled in a sausage grinder now ensure a non-skilled laborer gets 43 bucks an hour for screwing the tops on tubes of toothpaste. Cable television rescued us from the rabbit-eared doldrums, and then became an unwatchable, 500-channel miasma of home shopping networks and reruns of “The Golden Girls. ” Now, “political correctness” has joined that list.
As a kid, I found sports to always be a refuge from this sort of scatology, but this was destroyed when the American sports media decided they were less interested in actual sports and more interested in being agents of “social justice.” Really, that is just a nice way of saying that the truth is longer welcome is sports journalism if it runs even the slightest risk of being deemed “offensive.”
Of course, there are some things that gave the sports media’s sanctimony a credible reason for its genesis. In my experience, that was represented by Al Campanis. If you don’t recall, Campanis was the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers who was fired in 1987 after he said on television a few genuinely stupid things about blacks.
In Campanis’ case, he simply stuck his foot in his mouth and paid the price. But, it subsequent episodes, it was the sports media who seemed to beg for this sort of controversy, either by asking a completely loaded question or by doing a lot of self-serving hand-wringing over something nobody wanted to admit was true.
One only needed to wait less than a year for the first example. In 1988, a reporter asked then-CBS football analyst Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder about why “blacks were such superior athletes.” Snyder responds with the worst possible answer; one that was uncomfortably true.
The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way — because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs. This goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trading, the owner — the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.
Now, you have to picture the scenario here. Snyder was an “old-school” guy with really no inkling of the “politically correct” world in which he found himself; a world where reporters wait for a victim to have a few cocktails before springing the trap.
The next example comes in the form of former Cincinnati Reds’ owner Marge Schott. She made an easy target being she was not the sharpest knife in the drawer and she had a reputation for making controversial statements. So, during a 1996 interview with ESPN when she was asked about “the good things Hitler did,” nobody should have been surprised to hear the following bit of stupidity sprinkled with truth.
Everything you read, when he came in [to power] he was good…They built tremendous highways and got all the factories going…Everybody knows he was good at the beginning but he just went too far.
Schott was immediately accused of “praising Hitler” when in fact all she did was answer a loaded question. Even in her own apology for the comment, Schott stated that “I do not and have never condoned Adolf Hitler’s policies of hatred, militarism and genocide. Hitler was unquestionably one of history’s most despicable tyrants.” But nobody seems to want to remember that she didn’t get asked what she thought of the Nazi leader; rather the “good” things he did.
A few years later, hockey legend Bobby Hull befell the same fate. A Russian reporter, who didn’t speak English, inexplicably posed to him via a translator a similar question to the one ESPN asked of Schott. Back in America, the Associated Press quoted him as saying, “Hitler, for example, had some good ideas. He just went a little bit too far.” Again, nobody seemed to care that this was a loaded question that shared with the answer every possibility of being mistranslated.
Since being “politically correct” has been allowed to progress unchecked, it has arrived at the point where not only does one get castigated for being truthful, but for being exactly who one was hired to be.
Remember the short-lived tenure of Rush Limbaugh as an ESPN football analyst? Regardless of your opinion of Limbaugh, anyone who has ever listened to him would agree that he is controversial. This, of course, is exactly why ESPN hired him. Of course, the minute he says something controversial, ESPN sprints into hand-wringing mode and essentially forces him to resign for doing exactly that for which he was hired. Not to mention that the comments he made about Donovan McNabb and the NFL are as true today as they were when Limbaugh said them in 2003.
This brings us to what ESPN did to Tony Kornheiser on Friday. In response to his “offensive” comments about the eminently useless Hannah Storm, Kornheiser was suspended for two weeks by the network for commenting on Storm’s wardrobe choices.
Kornheiser, who is co-host of the popular show “Pardon the Interruption,” made his comments Friday, expressing chagrin at what Storm, 47, was wearing. Calling her outfit horrifying, the talk show host said Storm’s blouse was so tight that it looked like “sausage casing,” and that her skirt was “way too short for somebody” her age. According to Kornheiser, no woman in her late 40s (actually, he posited that Storm may be over 50) should be on the air in a “Catholic school plaid skirt.”
Guess what? He’s right. Nobody wants to see Storm showing off her eating-disorder physique while trying to pretend she isn’t nearly half a century old. The only people who could possibly enjoy the festival of pain she makes of a TV screen are those who are sexually aroused by talentless talking pencils.
More importantly, this is another case of somebody getting jammed up for being exactly what they are supposed to be. The “World Wide Leader” didn’t hire Limbaugh and Kornheiser to be shrinking violets; they hired them to be bomb-throwers. Face it; people don’t tune in to hear “My, what a lovely day we are having.” They tune in to hear “Here’s why (insert target here) sucks.”
Being wrapped in this sort of hypocritical sanctimony is why the American sports media, led by the “World Wide Leader,” has fallen into the morass of idiocy in which it now finds itself. Until sports journalists in this country are ready to get back to the business of sport rather than being arbiters of justice for some sort of convoluted thoughtcrime, they ironically will have the same lack of credibility that was intended for their victims.