Loved the above cartoon. I think it was the only time I laughed from the time the first time federal investigators parachuted onto the property at 1915 Moonlight Road. Gary Varvel took a serious topic and managed to get across a viewpoint in a completely off-beat and inoffensive way.
OK. So it’s not a jury of Michael Vick’s peers. But really. Who’s going to claim Scooby Doo, Droopy Underdog and Astro are racist?
Which leads me to this week’s Tuesday Countdown.
Wrote a column the other day on Michael Vick. Lots of reaction. Lots of reader comments. Lots of page views. These days, I think that’s supposed to be my nirvana. Wish I could tell you it’s been a great last 48 hours. I’ve spent way too much time deleting potential online comments that had been red-flagged for obscenities, etc., by blogging software. Or worse, deleting comments that weren’t red-flagged and reached the public forum for a short time. See, I made a big mistake. I trusted you.
One comment which I allowed was written by somebody named “Mrs. Schultz,” though I’m fairly certainly it’s not my wife or my mother or anybody actually named Mrs. Schultz. It began, “Jeff you created this blog knowing full well how racially divisive it would become.”
And yes, there’s a trace of truth to that. But there’s a difference between knowing something might happen and intending for something to happen. I didn’t want this. I certainly realize that almost anything said or written about Vick since his downfall stirs debate. I also know I could write a column about global warming, a Thrashers’ prospect from Moose Jaw or why it’s good to slightly undercook chocolate chip cookies because it keeps them soft and chewy, and that would lead to one comment, which would lead to another, which somehow would lead to, Michael Vick. (Wrote a Countdown last week criticizing the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s intention to increase its number of games in London. Somebody jumped on and called me racist.)
Back to “Mrs. Schultz’s” point. Yeah, I figured the column would stir debate. But I also was deluded into thinking that, two years after dog carcasses were found and 18 months after Vick checked into Leavenworth, there was a chance most of you were past that. And maybe most of you are. But all I know is I’ve deleted several dozen comments because too many readers – shielded behind fake names and manufactured email addresses — really kind of have a screw loose. Hey, I’m all for opinions. Strong opinions. It’s what I do. But there’s a line. There’s over 900,000 words in the English language. But some struggle to make a compelling argument without lapsing into the same ugly few and invariable spark a race war. Black labs and white lbs get along. They’re the same species. Maybe it’s because the words they comprehend are “No!”, “Bad!” and “Did you take my sandwich?
OK. Last point. I sincerely hope Michael Vick rehabilitates himself. I don’t care if he ever throws another football. Rehabilitation for me is learning a lesson, living his life and raising his children. There’s a chance I’ll write more columns on Vick when news warrants it. But I’m about to shut down the comments section on Monday’s column because I’m tired of babysitting and I’m honestly considering not allowing comments on future Vick columns. To most of you: Thanks for keeping it real and above the line. To the rest of you: I only hope you grow up.
So I was thinking last night after the season-ending episode of “24.” Jack Bauer really only has one bad a year. I mean, who among us wouldn’t be happy with one bad day a year. (Sorry. I needed to break this up before I jumped back into another potential racially sensitive topic.)
(OK. One more intermission.) Love the news about Jon Gruden jumping into the ESPN booth for Monday Night Football. Question: Just wondering how that job interview went. Did his past comments about various stories on ESPN in 2007 ever come up. Example 1: “I don’t watch ESPN. I don’t believe half the [expletive] people on the channel, personally – no disrespect.” Example 2: “There’s a lot of reports out there. I just wish some of these reports were verified. [Chris Mortensen] doesn’t have a [expletive] idea what he’s talking about.” Way to stick to your guns, big guy.
OK. Here we go again. See this picture? It’s a team shot of the Tennessee State golf team, which just won the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship. Yes, “Minority.” The only problem with this is while TSU is an historically black university (HBCU), it’s golf team is historically white. The team that just won the championship has four white players, one black. Actually, that’s progress. The same school won the title in 2005 — and that team was ALL white. Anything wrong with this picture?
3. What’s in a name?
I phoned the school’s coach, Charles “Chip” Taylor. He is white. He said he understands why people would have an issue with this. But he said most golf teams at HBCUs are predominantly white out of necessity. There simply aren’t enough black collegians playing golf yet and most of the best ones attend major universities. So HBCUs are forced to recruit whites in the U.S. and Europe to fill out their rosters. That’s understandable, to a degree. But come on. Can’t organizers at least change the name of the tournament to PGA “HBCU” Championship instead of “PGA Minority”? That would be a more accurate reflection, since it would reference schools, not race. “I understand the question,” Taylor said. “But I’m a 100 percent believer in HBCUs because that’s our heritage and that’s our tradition. They’ll always be around. No, it might not be 100 percent minorities. But they’ll will always have a place in our country.” The lines between HBCU’s have blurred in recent years. More African Americans attend non-historically black colleges. Also, economics have led to changing demographics on campuses like Tennessee State and Morehouse. (Translation: More whites are being recruited and/or finding an HBCU a viable option.) But Taylor thinks this number of black golfers will increase. “I see a huge number of minority golfers in the sixth to eighth grades, and once they get into high school they’ll be recruited.” Then, no more double takes.
DeAngelo Hall, who knows how to make money but can’t seem to recall how to make an interception, took several shots at the Oakland Raiders and owner Al Davis the other day. Now, he might’ve been accurate with almost everything he said. But the fact the comments come from arguably the most selfish player in the NFL, the words rang hollow. Especially these ”Oh, it’s a weight off my shoulders [being gone from there], just that whole situation out there and the way they did things. I’m not knocking it, but it wasn’t what I was accustomed to, what I was used to, and I just started just not caring like a bunch of other guys, you know? It kind of rubs off on you.” Dude, you are not the rub-ee. You are the rub-er.
A recent comment on the Vick blog: “LET YO HATERS BE YO MOTIVATORS, MIKE!” Hey, see that? It’s clean. It rhymes. It’s even brief enough for Twitter. That wasn’t so hard.