John Rocker, a Major League Baseball pitcher for six years, is the author of "Scars and Strikes." After retiring from baseball, Rocker embarked upon a successful career in real estate development.More ↓Less ↑
Remember the book “1984″?
Remember the “two-minutes hate”?
In George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “two-minutes hate” is a period of time set aside each day where party members living in Oceania are forced to watch a film depicting their enemies and then express their hatred for them.
Brainwashing, down to a science.
An exact science.
Back in 2000, yours truly was persona non grata of the year for an interview I did with Jeff Pearlman that appeared in Sports Illustrated.
Wherever my name and story has been brought up in the national media (since the interview), almost on cue the Pavlovian response conditioned into the minds of the masses is that I’m nothing more than a bigot for voicing forbidden opinions.
According to our media, “two-minutes hate” in the world of sports has long been for attacking me.
Until Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles came along, that is.
Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s roommate at the University of Florida, Cooper was caught on film using the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert.
Yes, the N-word.
Move over, Paula Deen, there’s a new white person to occupy the chair of pure racial insensitivity that “Seinfeld” star Michael Richards made famous.
There is no word in the English language more forbidden (well, for whitey at least) to speak than the N-word.
More to the point, there’s no need to try and defend Cooper by trying to go the double-standard route and ask why can black rappers, athletes, comedians and actors use the N-word freely in their speech.
Playing that card is stupid.
Riley Cooper shouldn’t have used the word.
Once the video of the incident surfaced, Riley Cooper should have immediately apologized and faced some criticism from his Eagles teammates (the majority of whom are black); instead, Cooper became the 2013 version of Archie Bunker.
ESPN opened every Sports Center segment with an update out of the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice facility, reporting on how his fellow teammates and former players were reacting to the pariah in their midst. What better way to promote the inflammatory sensationalism the media so rabidly craves and which drives their precious ratings that brings those loveable dollars to the network. As if anyone needs to repeatedly witness the fallout. We all understand full well the atmosphere he was to face and will be facing among his teammates. No need to shove it down the viewer’s throats on a tri-hourly basis, but you’ve got to keep feeding that propaganda monster lest it starve.
And then consider the further devotion by ESPN regarding numerous segments on “NFL Live” covering every facet of “N-wordgate,” leaving the viewer under the impression a crime punishable by years in prison had just been committed.
An unforgivable sin.
Back in 1998, Jeff Benedict and Don Yaeger wrote a book called “Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL,” which documented a culture of off-the-field violence and criminal activity that was prevalent throughout the NFL. Taking a brief look at the last few years of NFL off-field drama, I think a sequel is long overdue.
It’s only gotten worse since the book was published, but based on the initial coverage of Cooper’s N-word usage (a new wrinkle to the story has been added, with an investigation now commencing to see if he was potentially the victim of extortion prior to the video’s release), you’d think he had committed the worse crime ever by an NFL player.
And one of his teammates is Michael Vick …
Cooper has been fined by his team, publicly apologized (thereby providing a video to be used for future “two-minutes hate” sessions) and dismissed from team activities to undergo sensitivity training.
Many in the media and people associated with the NFL have called for the Eagles to cut Cooper for his verbal crime.
Never mind that a few years ago running back Peyton Hillis, on his way to a 1,000-yard rushing season, admitted to Dan Patrick that opposing team defenses made fun of him for being white, saying:
“Every team did it. They’ll say, ‘Yo white boy, you ain’t gonna run on us today. This is ridiculous. Why are you giving offensive linemen the ball?’”
This was back in 2011, and Hillis’ comments were only fodder for a chuckle or two throughout the sports worlds. They didn’t create a firestorm of outrage and start an internal investigation by the NFL to determine if anti-white bigotry is running wild in the league.
Instead it was just a lighthearted joke.
The NFL is 67 percent black, with certain positions like cornerback and wide receiver being dominated by black players.
Cooper is a white guy playing a position where he represents a clear minority – so much of a minority that many black players will “joke” with their teammates if a white player does well against them. In an article from the Green Bay Press Gazette from 2006, a cornerback for the Packers admitted as much:
Packers cornerback Ahmad Carroll remembers when he got burnt by a white receiver during his rookie season in 2004 when the Packers were hosting the Titans on “Monday Night Football.” The Packers were torched for three passing touchdowns in the 48-27 loss, but the one play Carroll remembers the most was the 11-yard touchdown pass from Steve McNair to Eddie Berlin.
Berlin is white.
“If I get burned by a white receiver, I’m going to hear about it more than if that’s not the case,” Carroll said. “Anybody who says otherwise is tripping.”
No internal investigation, to my knowledge, was started by the NFL to determine where white wide receivers face some form of institutional bias from their peers and/or racial discrimination from their fellow “employees” of the NFL.
Neither Ahmad Carroll nor any of his teammates were forced to undergo “sensitivity training” for their belief that being beat on a deep-pass for a touchdown by a white athlete was somehow an aberration.
This is not to excuse Riley Cooper for saying something incredibly stupid, but it’s important to point out that the media, the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL have reacted to the situation as if he were a child rapist/murderer.
It’s important to point out that black Rep. Charles Rangel ripped his conservative opposition in the tea party as “white crackers” and Republicans as “terrorists” on virtually the same day the Cooper story was breaking.
Those comments don’t qualify as worthy of admission to “two-minutes hate” sessions, do they?
Riley Cooper, on the other hand, is the perfect representative.