Of course there is a social concern to see blacks break sports barriers, and its laughable to pretend otherwise. There are countless examples weve all heard them of commentators, columnists, and editorial writers agitating for more black coaches and quarterbacks in the NFL. Last January 8, New York Times columnist Selena Roberts did precisely that: As the playoffs have revealed, theres progress, but so little change. There are proven black quarterbacks and coaches, but race relations are running a reverse in the NFL.
Maybe that wasnt what got Rush in trouble. Maybe it was that he had the temerity to slam the liberal sports writers. But again Rush makes a defensible point: many sports writers are liberal and use their sports forums to agitate politically. After New York Times columnist Roberts finished praising the prowess of Vick, McNabb, and McNair, she turned her guns on NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who she dismissed as hopelessly white (as culturally hip as Pat Boone); stated the NFL is still as white as baking soda while teams ponder their openings; and accused the owners of using Trent Lott logic; just because you say what up, homey doesnt mean youre inclusive. If thats not liberal-think, what is it?
[Washington Post sports columnist Michael] Wilbon even cheered the arrival of black sports stars at Louis Farrakhans Million Man March, and said of this spewing preacher and racist, anti-Semitic and America-hating bilge: So much of Farrakhans message was necessary and correct. None of this stopped ESPN from hiring Wilbon for its daily show, Pardon the Interruption.
One wishes Rush had explained himself better. Maybe it would have mollified his critics had he explained that it is also in the conservative impulse to cheer the achievements of barrier-breaking blacks, so long as the achievement is real (Woods, Williams sisters) and not construed (in Rushs analysis, McNabb). But thats the stuff of three-hour radio talk show discussions, not seven-second TV soundbites. That mistake, coupled with the medias unwavering commitment to political correctness, is what spurred ESPN to grow queasy and hush Rush.
Bozell's Entertainment Column: ESPN = P.C.
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