Imagine if Rush Limbaugh had said it . . .
'Rome is Burning' is ESPN's edgy sports-commentary show starring the eponymous Jim Rome. Jason Whitlock is standing in for Rome this week, and while I don't know much about him, from what I've seen I enjoy his shtick. He's smart, funny and seems to successfully walk the fine line of expressing strong views without being malicious.
Another plus: his physique and bearing remind me of one of my all-time favorite movie characters in my all-time favorite movie - Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari in Casablanca. Judge for yourself.
In any case, in the show's opening monologue, the host riffs on what 'he's burning about.' Among Whitlock's topics today was what he suggests be the top priority for about-to-be-announced new NFL Commisioner. For Whitlock, job #1 is
"Fixing the league's officiating crisis. The new commissioner shouldn't bury his head in the sand and pretend everything is OK with the zebras. It's not. The new millenium NFL player is souped up on supplements and moves at the speed of sound. It's ridiculous to have 50 year-old white guys chasing after 25-yr old black guys."
Whitlock might well be on to something. As Steve Sailer has noted, "over the last six Olympics, all 48 male finalists in the 100m have come from West Africa or its diaspora."
But discussing inherent racial differences has proven to be a minefield for many. For example, Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry recently made a comment along the same lines as Whitlocks's, observing that black football players "can run very, very well."
The result? He was reprimanded by the Air Force Academy and forced to issue an apology: "I realize the things I said were hurtful to many people, and I want everyone to understand that I never intended to hurt anyone." The Academy's athletic director Hans Mueh, issued a written reprimand to DeBerry and stated:
"This is totally against anything the Air Force Academy stands for."
Shall we stand by for Mueh to condemn Whitlock?
Mark Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle.' Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org