Courtesy: Sports Illustrated/The Dan Patrick Show
By Guest Contributor Dr. David J. Leonard
During my “glory days” playing high school football–among other positions I played linebacker–there was a game where, after several tackles (pretty amazing tackles if I remember them correctly), I found myself rolling on the ground in pain. Their running back decided to thrust his helmet into my gut leaving me gasping for air. I would later find out that the opposing coach encouraged his players to “take me out”: a helmet to the gut would do that for at least one play.
The fact that a nobody player in a nothing high-school football game between two tiny private schools in Los Angeles was “taken out” illustrates how encouraged violence is part and parcel to football culture, even if there were no “‘knockouts’…worth $1,500 and ‘cart-offs’ $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs,” rewards uncovered as part of the New Orleans Saints’ “bounty program” last week.
By Guest Contributor Dr. David J. Leonard
Among the virtual saturation of Jeremy Lin online has been a poster of him with the words “We are all witnesses.” At Monday’s New York Knicks game, fans donned “black T-shirts that read “The Jeremy Lin Show” on the front” and “We Believe” painted on the back.
Encapsulating the hoopla and hype, while referencing the similar promise that LeBron James brought to Cleveland and the NBA (how’d that work out?), not to mention the spectacle of his meteoric rise, “the witness” iteration illustrates the religious overtones playing through the media coverage.
Since Lin emerged on the national scene while at Harvard, he has made his faith and religious identity quite clear. While refusing to abandon the “underdog” story, Cork Gaines focuses readers attention on his religious beliefs: “But there is more to Jeremy Lin than just being an undrafted Asian-American point guard out of Harvard. He is also a devout Christian that has previously declared that he plays for the glory of God and someday hopes to be a pastor.” Noting how post-game interviews often begin with Lin announcing his faith – “just very thankful to Jesus Christ, [his] Lord and savior” – Gaines uses this opportunity to deploy the often noted comparison that Jeremy Lin is the NBA’s Tim Tebow.
ESPN has certainly hitched its’ promotional wagon to Michael Vick, but first things first: don’t blame Touré for the question, “What If Michael Vick Were White?” – or for that pic above of said hypothetical “White” Vick.
“I had no knowledge of or say in the title of the story and the horrific, misguided picture of Vick in whiteface, which dismayed and disgusted me when I saw it,” he explained in a column for CNN. “I think careful readers will note that the story and the image don’t really interact. They’re like two people who kinda know about each other but don’t really know each other. But this has happened to me before.”
He made a similar disclaimer on Twitter, according to Colorlines:
My essay on Vick is nowhere near as inflammatory as the pic of him in whiteface which contradicts me saying you can’t imagine him as white.
I wrote an essay about Vick & race. ESPN the mag titled it & added art without me (normal procedure). Judge me on the story not the art.
In his CNN piece, Touré also mentioned that he wanted to talk about football more in his Vick column, but that ESPN “was less interested in that.” Reading his essay on the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback again, I think his editors let him down in the process.
by Guest Contributor invisman52, originally published at Max Protect
After Brett Favre threw an interception at the end of the NFC Championship Game–a fatal mistake that cost his team a chance to make the Super Bowl–I knew that if the Saints would go on to win the game in overtime, many in the media would bemoan the end of Favre’s incredible, improbable season. (At age 40, he had the best statistical season of his career.) Since the Saints did win the game in the extra period, I was immediately attuned to how those in the football punditry would react to the game. To be fair to Favre, with the exception of that crucial late-game turnover, he played remarkably. Yet, in a twisted sort of poetic football justice, and if Favre retires, his last pass as a Minnesota Viking will be an interception. His last pass a New York Jet: an interception. His last pass a Green Bay Packer: an interception. For all of Favre’s success, he has also thrown more interceptions than anyone in the history of the league.
Many will attribute this fact to his longevity and durability, that Favre has played so many games. This argument is often coupled with the notion that Favre is a “gun-slinger,” risking whatever it takes to help his team win. But what underlines most of this line of defense is a love affair that many in the media have for Favre; and it is much more than a so-called “man crush.” What is clear to me is that what courses through pundits’ constant approbation and excusing of Favre is a deep, racialized identification. That is, many white pundits in the media are quick to absolve Favre of any kind of blame because of his particular brand of whiteness–a whiteness that I argue is consciously performed.