America's national pastime is no longer baseball. It's Pin the Tail on the Racist. The latest example is the media's outrageous attacks on Rush Limbaugh regarding rumors – that's right, rumors – that he has made racial remarks in the past. And the NFL, like most big-money operations, quickly jumped on the bandwagon and let it be known that Limbaugh's desire to be included in a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams would be rejected.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a classic corporate empty suit, simply referred to Limbaugh's “divisive comments” as the reason for his being viewed as an unwelcome applicant for a franchise. Translation: Free speech in America is dead – unless, of course, you're a liberal.
Since rumor is all that the shrieking PC crowd has to go on, they have dragged out of the closet the infamous hubbub back in 2003 when Rush Limbaugh was hired to give his opinions on ESPN's “Sunday NFL Countdown” pre-game show. Right out of the starting gate, Limbaugh made the mistake of giving his opinion – exactly what he had been hired to do!
What got him into hot water was when he opined that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated. In a refreshingly straightforward manner, he went on to say, “I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.”
I happen to have seen that little segment, and I vividly recall two things about it. First, immediately after Limbaugh made his comments, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, an African-American and former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, said, “Good point, Rush.” I take Irvin at his word that he meant what he said.
Second, I recall thinking that Limbaugh's comments were positive in that they spotlighted the fact that most white Americans do want to see African-Americans succeed. And that's a good thing. I felt at the time that he should have been applauded for being sensitive rather than reviled for being insensitive. Nevertheless, the Race Police came flying out of the woodwork, and Limbaugh resigned under pressure the very next day.
So, here we are again, bringing up memories of all the “racial” comments made by famous persons who were fired and vilified for being “insensitive.” Two of the more well-known examples that come to mind are Al Campanis, who was general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Jimmy the Greek Snyder, a one-time mainstay on CBS' “NFL Today.”
In an appearance on ABC's “Nightline” in 1987, Campanis said, “[Blacks] may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager.” The left immediately went berserk, and the Dodgers quickly hustled Campanis off their payroll.
Campanis later explained what he had meant by his remark by saying, “When I said blacks lack the 'necessities' to be managers or general managers, what I meant was the lack of necessary experience, not things like inherent intelligence or ability. I was dead-tired after traveling when I went on the show. I got confused. It was like a telegram – you try to say it in a few words, and it's implied differently.”
By all accounts, Campanis was not even close to being a racist. In fact, he was one of Jackie Robinson's biggest defenders when he played for the Dodgers, and once challenged an opposing player to a fight when Robinson was being bullied.
As to Jimmy the Greek, his famous faux pas was when he was purported to have said to a reporter, in a restaurant, “The black is a better athlete to begin with because he's been bred to be that way – because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs. This goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trading, the owner – the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.”
PC and historical accuracy are sworn and everlasting enemies. The interesting thing is that some years later I read a long, detailed article in the newspaper, based on scientific studies, that confirmed that blacks tend to be superior athletes because of their genetic propensity toward large and powerful thigh and buttocks muscles. It was a fascinating, well-researched article that provided scientific answers to a question that has long been of interest to both blacks and whites.
Whites are as much at fault as blacks for the absurd overreaction to both speech and facts regarding race because they are the enablers in a relationship that began as master and slave. As Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Shelby Steele, an African-American, points out in his book “White Guilt,” Americans are hopelessly trapped by the need to feel guilty over the sins of their fathers. Any people of color – including Arabs, Africans and Latinos – must be coddled and treated with an excess of TLC.
I guess it's OK to a point, but it's also demeaning and irritating to people of color who just want to be treated like everyone else. As one African-American acquaintance of mine recently said, “The constant whining and cries of insult only succeed in attracting negative attention and get in the way of those of us who are trying to get ahead in life.”
Fortunately, most people, both black and white, are becoming immune to the constant drumbeat of the racist-gotcha game. Plain and simple, we are suffering from race-compassion fatigue. To borrow from the title of Juan Williams' book: “Enough!”
P.S. Rush: For the sake of all Americans, please sue the butts off the NFL and every blogger and member of the media who attributed false quotes to you.