Well Redskins fans, it’s over. The ruling has been handed down from on high – The Washington Post and USA Today. They’ve got a foam finger for you, but it’s not the index and you’re certainly not #1 to them, and they’re the ones who matter. They’ve decided your team name will change.
They got some help last week from President Obama, who took a break from refusing to negotiate with Republicans to tell the AP, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team – even if it had a storied history – that was offending a sizeable group of people, I'd think about changing it.” In other words, if he had a team mascot, it wouldn’t look like the ’Skins’ logo, and Dan Snyder is acting stupidly.
Three players from the 1972 Miami Dolphins turned down President Obama’s recent invitation to the White House, citing disagreements with the chief executive's political agenda, and Alex Wagner was not going to let them get away without being ridiculed. On Tuesday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, the host and her panelists pilloried the three players who chose to stay behind for ideological reasons while the rest of their teammates were honored by the president for their perfect 17-0 season 41 years ago. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Wagner hyped the implications of the players’ decision: “But even the most feel-good White House ceremony seems to be threatened by ideology.” Threatened? It’s difficult to see how those three players’ lack of attendance threatened the ceremony. In fact, it didn’t, because the event went on as planned on Tuesday and received a love letter in at least one outlet, the Washington Post. [See my colleague's piece on that here.]
Although football has probably never been more popular or prosperous, there are threats to the sport which could radically alter how it is played in the short-term, and perhaps, based on reports of reduced youth participation in the game and attempts to ban young people from playing it, its very existence in the long-term.
At the New York Post, writer Daniel Flynn, the author of "War on Football," has compiled quite a bit of information which contradicts the "football is deadly and damaging" meme which has gained popular and media currency, including in an unchallenged interview on Fareed Zakaria's CNN show, as a result of "more than 4,800 named player-plaintiffs in ... 242 concussion-related lawsuits" against the National Football League (bolds are mine):
Just in time for the start of the NFL's preseason, the leftist online publication Slate is fed up with the hateful nickname of that NFL team in Washington. On Thursday, editor David Plotz self-righteously penned an article announcing that Slate will no longer refer to that team as the “Redskins.”
Plotz explained in the second paragraph: “For decades, American Indian activists and others have been asking, urging, and haranguing the Washington Redskins to ditch their nickname, calling it a racist slur and an insult to Indians.” You would think that if Plotz were really so concerned about offensive language, he would use the term “Native Americans” rather than “Indians.” We have long since learned that they are not from India or the Indies, and yet the incorrect term “Indians” has stuck.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams heralded protests in Brazil "driven by economic injustice," followed by correspondent Mark Potter in Rio de Janeiro detailing the motivation: "Many in the crowds complained about rampant corruption, crime, low wages, and a lack of social services....As Brazil spends billions to build stadiums for next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics."
What Williams and Potter failed to mention was the fact that NBC is a beneficiary of the Olympics, having exclusive rights to broadcast the games. In 2011, NBC's parent company Comcast paid the International Olympic Committee $4.38 billion to continue to cover the Olympics from 2014 to 2020, with goal being "to use the Olympics as a way to raise its number of subscribers and the monthly fees they pay."
And Rabbi Joshua Hammerman thought he had a “Tebow Problem” before. Back in 2011, the columnist at The Jewish Week fretted that the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos might beat his “beloved” New England Patriots in the upcoming AFC championship game. But his wasn’t a fan’s normal pre-game nervousness. It was the hand-wringing of a liberal bigot.
Hammerman imagined that the rubes in fly-over country regarded the “blue-clad Patriots, from the bluest of blue states” as the “Sons of Darkness, with their perfectly coiffed Hollywood quarter back” their “diabolical hoodie-clad coach” and “the most identifiably Jewish owner in sports.” Against Tebow, the “poster boy of the Christian right,” they’d be “playing the role of Pilate.” (In the event, the Broncos lost, forestalling Tebow’s Christian fans from “burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants” in celebration, as Hammerman had warned.)
Jon Stewart is taking the summer off to film Rosewater, a story about the detention and torture of Iranian Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, but “Senior British Correspondent” John Oliver has the helm until Labor Day. While the Daily Show is known for it’s political satire, its hosts have been known to cross the line concerning their antipathy towards conservatives, specifically Oliver’s desire to shoot and kill Tim Tebow. The reason: he’s open about his Christian faith.
UPDATE: The photo has been changed to a University of Hawaii logo.
For outrageous and tasteless photo placement, it's hard to top the one accompanying an article in the Modesto Press about top college football prospect Aaron Zwahlen.
Despite the availability of many photos of the player, at least a few of which are likely public domain, the Press chose to use the following photo accompanying a report that Zwahlen is choosing to do two years of missionary work with his church before he begins his collegiate career at the University of Hawaii (HT to a NewsBusters tipster):
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a business decision is just a business decision. Like the Vikings cutting punter Chris Kluwe. Kluwe is an aging, expensive, mediocre performer, and the Vikings just drafted a new punter.
But to John Becker at the Huffington Post, there must be something darker at work. Kluwe is an outspoken gay marriage supporter. Becker is an “LGBT activist, writer and blogger.” And according to Becker, “word on the street is that the decision to drop Kluwe is at least partially due to his outspoken support for and advocacy on behalf of marriage equality.”
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today, attorney and regular pundit Star Jones compared gay NBA player Jason Collins to a civil rights icon: "I don't think that, say a Rosa Parks, set out to be the person that people will call the mother of the civil rights – civil rights era. I don't think that Jason Collins started out thinking, 'I'm going to be this gay hero.' But if it becomes a movement that equalizes people not based on their sexuality, it works." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer started off the conversation by touting a panel topic from weeks earlier: "I wanna start with a subject that brings us full circle to a subject we discussed here about a month ago. We were asking the question when will a male in a professional major sport in the United States come out and say, 'I'm gay'? We got the answer this week....What's next? What happens? Do we see a lot of other players come out?"
Woe unto you who haven’t joined the rhapsodic hymns to Jason Collins’ heroism and genuflected before the altar of diversity. You have incurred the wrath of Mike Wise.
The Washington Post sports columnist, who is rumored to sometimes write about sports, doesn’t like Christians or conservatives (“Bible-thumpers” to him and Charles Barkley), and he’s not shy about it. His May 1 column was a tour de force, dripping contempt for anyone not enthused that NBA player Jason Collins announced he’s gay.
While Tuesday's NBC Today began by heralding gay NBA player Jason Collins as "a towering figure on the court" and in "sports history," later in the 7 a.m. ET hour, correspondent Craig Melvin regarded NFL quarterback Tim Tebow as an athlete who's "play never really matched the hype" and someone who became "spoof-worthy" due to his "well-publicized faith."
A clip played of Late Night host Jimmy Fallon mocking Tebow with a parody song set to David Bowie's "Ground Control to Major Tom": "Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ." Melvin followed: "On the field, Tebow struggled. His only season as a Jet, lackluster....His football future is uncertain. But Tebow could still cash-in on his carefully cultivated persona."
ABC is nothing if not clear about its priorities. For a month and a half, the network has steadfastly refused to cover the multiple murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, devoting 109 minutes to other trials, along with important revelations about the original names of fictional characters. But when a little-known journeyman basketball player announces he’s gay, ABC’s elite news squad swings into action, lavishing resources and broadcast time on the story.
Leading a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about the possibility of a professional athlete coming out as gay, frustrated co-host Matt Lauer implored: "It's interesting that in 2013, with attitudes towards homosexuality changing so dramatically in this country, there isn't a single major athlete in a major professional sport playing right now who has come out and said, 'I'm gay.' Why is that?...What is it going to take to change that and have someone come out and say it?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer made the same plea on Friday, lamenting that the unwillingness of athletes to announce their sexuality to world "says something about the times we're living in."
On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer accused American society of being intolerant of gay athletes: "There are no openly gay players, but there are lots of gay athletes in major sports, and the fact that they still feel as if they'll be ostracized if they come out is – says something about the times we're living in." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer made the comment in reaction to a story about the son of former basketball star Magic Johnson coming out as gay. In that report, Willie Geist proclaimed: "Magic has been a champion of causes within the gay and lesbian community for decades....with the support of such a beloved icon, there is renewed hope that this will help break the taboo of open sexuality in the sports world....There remain no openly gay players in any of the major professional team sports. But Magic said in that interview yesterday he expects that to change and soon."
If liberals in the sports media have their way, your favorite sporting event will soon be a little more like an episode of “Glee.” Writers and talking heads at outlets from ESPN to NBC Sports are in a full-court press. They want to see openly gay athletes in American sports, no matter what it means for the games, the fans, or the athletes themselves.
On CNN Wednesday, BuzzFeed sports editor Jack Moore called for a gay pro athlete to come out of the closet and be "a Jackie Robinson of this cause."
"It just shows that more than ever we need some major pro athlete to come out of the closet at the height – like while they're in the league," he ranted. "But we need a Jackie Robinson of this cause because we just need an example to show that, yeah, I can still play at the same high level," he added. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Take heart, everyone: the NFL is changing. Football players these days are more tolerant, more willing to embrace social progress. They are moving in the direction of the country as a whole. Such were the conclusions reached by CBS’s Jim Axelrod.
In a segment aired one day before the Super Bowl on CBS Saturday Morning, Axelrod proudly told his audience that players’ attitudes toward gay marriage are evolving. Players like the 49ers’ Chris Culliver, who recently said a gay teammate would not be welcome in his locker room, are a dying breed. What’s more -- and this is apparently newsworthy to CBS -- football players are actually capable of disagreeing civilly and rationally about gay marriage. [View video after the jump. MP3 audio here.]
A Google News search ths morning on "Harbaugh brothers Catholic" (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates and originally omitted items), returned 24 items. A broader search at the Associated Press's national site on "Harbaugh Catholic" (not in quotes) came up empty. This is disappointing, given that both brothers are by all accounts very active in and devoted to the Catholic Church.
The stories found at Google News were predominantly from Catholic-oriented publications, with the most notable exception being one by Matthew Barrows at the Sacramento Bee, whose story comprised 15 of those 24 listed results. Excerpts from that Thursday piece, much of which was about the Harbaugh brothers as youths, are after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Comedienne Wanda Sykes is having a problem deciding which football team to support on Super Bowl Sunday.
She told NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno Friday that despite growing up in Maryland, "I'm gay...Me not rooting for San Francisco is like booing Africa" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Californians will be surprised to learn that the income-tax increase voters approved in November was, according to Doug Ferguson at the Associated Press (HT Steven Greenhut at Reason.com), "the first tax increase in the state since 2004." I had no idea that residents of the once-Golden state have been so lucky in avoiding any tax increases of any kind for so long. (/sarc)
It would appear that Ferguson, in his coverage of golfer Phil Mickelson's mea culpa for having the nerve to observe that California's onerous taxes might lead him to make difficult decisions which might even include retirement, meant to write that California has seen no statewide income tax increase in nearly a decade. But that isn't what he wrote. Maybe I should cut the AP reporter some slack because he's on the sports beat, and in context, one could see that he was probably only referring to income taxes. But I won't, because of the final excerpted sentence seen after the jump (bolds are mine):
Joe Scarborough was a voice in the politically-correct wilderness this morning on the subject of women in combat. On today's Morning Joe, as other panelists voiced unerring if occasionally cautious support for the Pentagon's decision to permit women in combat, Scarborough sounded a stern warning note.
"I'll be damned; if we find out that the Pentagon is lowering standards for politically-correct reasons, then you know what? Then the blood of dead Americans in future battles will be on their hands." View the video after the jump.
There were eight coaching changes in the National Football League during the past few weeks. It must be assumed in the absence of contrary evidence that each franchise's owners made their choice based on who they believe has the best chance to take their team to the playoffs and Super Bowl.
The "problem" is, according to league's human resource people (are those really full-time jobs?) and their eager supporters at the Associated Press and ESPN, all eight new coaches are white. As a result, barely four months after the league earned a "high diversity hiring grade" from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport ("its third consecutive A grade on racial hiring and its first C-plus for gender hiring"), the "Rooney Rule," which requires that teams interview at least one at least one minority candidate for head coaching and top managerial jobs, is not good enough (bolds are mine):
ESPN has parted ways with Rob Parker, a commentator for the sports network who caused a national controversy by saying that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is “not one of us” and only “kind of black” because he is engaged to a white woman and is rumored to be a Republican.
Two veteran DC area sports talk radio hosts, ESPN980's Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban, were suspended, on Tuesday, for making fun of Gabrielle Ludwig, a 6-6, 50-year-old former male college basketball player, who came back to play the woman's game.
According to the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg, the two were suspended for engaging in a discussion last week about the fairness of a transsexual playing against women, an exchange that included the kind of lockerroom jocularity typical of sportstalk radio. Apparently that mockery drew the ire of LGBT activists.
Two days following his controversial comments on the “gun culture” in America, Bob Costas appeared on MSNBC’s Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell to not only defend himself but to double-down on his statement during Sunday night's halftime coverage of Sunday Night Football.
O’Donnell, who announced that he loved the Costas tirade and the Jason Whitlock column which prompted it, provided Costas with the perfect venue to defend himself without answering any scrutiny for the other side of the gun control debate. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
On MSNBC's The Ed Show Monday night, New York Times sports columnist William Rhoden defended NBC sportscaster Bob Costas's controversial comments, made during halftime of an NFL game Sunday night, on the murder-suicide committed by Kansas City Chief player Jovan Belcher, even agreeing to the idea that the NFL commissioner try to ban players from owning guns.
Costas had quoted an anti-gun screed by sports columnist Jason Whitlock, in part: "Our current gun culture ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it." (Video below.)
In a video posted at the Daily Caller by Jeff Poor (HT Hot Air), Fox News's Greg Gutfeld went after Bob Costas's opportunism and hypocrisy on gun rights in the wake of the Jovan Belcher tragedy. He also took on Jason Whitlock's inexcusable characterization of those who believe that the Constitution's Second Amendment means what it says and insist that our government to continue to act as if it does as racists.
The video and a transcript follow the jump (internal links added by me; bolds are mine):
You could see this one coming and hardly a surprise that it came from Ed Schultz.
On his radio show yesterday, Schultz was talking with a caller about Kansas City Chiefs' linebacker Jovan Belcher killing his girlfriend and committing suicide over the weekend when Schultz made a predictable suggestion (audio) --
Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath called out NBC's Bob Costas on Monday's Piers Morgan Tonight for gratuitously inserting his pro-gun control views into a NFL telecast: "As a football fan, I'm not up to that kind of a halftime take. There is a time and a place for it, and I wasn't pleased about that."
Namath also hinted that gun control efforts were ultimately futile because of humanity's unpredictable nature: "I think there's always going to be a problem dealing with firearms, with knives. It's the animal we are that cause the problems." [audio available here; video below the jump]