During most segments of First Take, a weekday program aired on the ESPN sports network, the discussion focuses on a wide variety of topics ranging from football to basketball and even golf. However, on Friday morning, co-host Stephen Smith addressed the subject of race-related politics.
Responding to a feud between Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown and Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant regarding their knowledge of the black culture in the U.S., Smith declared: “It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever” that black conservatives “are considered pariahs and are ostracized in our communities.”
Back in 2007, The New York Times was delighted when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the TV networks and against FCC fines for fleeting profanities on broadcast TV. "If Bush Can Blurt Curse, So Can Network TV," the Times wrote in its Page One headline.
But in 2011, when gays are outraged that NBA star Kobe Bryant was caught on television during a game mouthing the "gay F-bomb" at a referee, and the NBA assesses an amazing $100,000 fine for this one word, Times sports columnist William Rhoden argued the fine was puny and that Bryant should be forced to sit out the first game of the playoffs. The Times also approvingly published gay activist John Amaechi on its Off the Dribble blog begging Bryant not to challenge the fine. Apparently, some "curse words" have a much deadlier ring:
In a recent interview with USA Olympics basketball team member Kobe Bryant, NBC Sports reporter Chris Collinsworth seemed to question Kobe's patriotism when the player said that he was proud to wear the team USA uniform. Wondering if it was "cool" to be proud of being on Team USA, Collinsworth seemed to surprise even Bryant with the temerity of the question. Why Collinsworth wouldn't think it would be "cool" to be proud of being on the American Olympic basketball team is anyone's guess.
In a portion of the interview, Kobe began to say how thrilled he was to get his Team USA uniform and that he "just stared at it" for a while in awe. Collinsworth followed that heartwarming display of patriotism with a jaw dropping series of questions. Worse, he asked these questions with an absurd smirk stealing across his face, seeming to think that he was about to join Kobe in cynicism over the evil America with his doubting Thomas questions.