Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Not Saying... Just saying.

I don't want to rain on Josh Hamilton's parade, believe me. His story is inspirational. Overcoming addiction and staying clean is one of the most difficult things a person can do. I applaud him for his efforts and his MVP caliber season this year. His teammates' ginger ale showers after the divisional round and LCS got me a little farklempt to be honest. But methinks he is being treated differently than some other famous athletes who have overcome similar personal demons.

Take Ricky Williams for example. After his suspension for pot and subsequent temporary retirement due to social anxiety, the jokes on talk radio etc. came by the dump truck full. Every Joe Lunchpail in America called him a disgrace and said he should be banned for life. He was a be-dredded, ganja smoking, Rasta punch line. Pause for a moment. Take a breath. Try to imagine a world where Josh Hamiliton is likened to Barney Gumble from the Simpsons in some ham-fisted radio parody. "Throw his drunk ass out the league!" Hard to imagine, right? Why is that? Before you answer, let's look at another comparison.

Ben Roethlisberger rapes two women... ok so they can't prove it and those bitches were probably just looking for money (insert symbol for sarcasm here in case the reader in a nitwit). Perhaps there wasn't enough evidence, but the court of public opinion has convicted celebs for much less. At the very least it reeks of impropriety. As I write he's back after a month long suspension and basically no one gives a crap. Michael Vick comes back from his suspension (if I have to tell you why I don't know why you're reading a sports blog) and every move is scrutinized, every word dissected as if the media were looking for a code word that tells you where the dog fight is going to be.

Now I'm going to just get right to it and if I were Peter King or someone who actually had readers other than my friends I might get crucified. Roethlisberger and Hamiliton are white. Williams and Vick are black. Let's just admit that this type of veiled racism still exists. Perhaps people are doing it subconsciously. Maybe they don't realize why they think the way they think. Personally I hope all four of the athletes I mentioned have learned from their mistakes. As for the media, I don't think they will learn from theirs.


Anonymous said...

So what about all the black athletes given a pass this season for their crimes and inappropriate "personal conduct"?

Here are just a few...

- 1/10/10: Bucs S Jermaine Phillips is arrested for felony domestic battery by strangulation.

- 1/12/10: Jets WR Braylon Edwards pleads no contest to assault charges.

- 1/24/10: Colts DT Eric Foster accused and sued for rape (4/10/10) that occurred in a hotel room during weekend of AFC Championship game.

- 2/23/10: Chargers WR Vincent Jackson pleads guilty to DUI charges.

- 3/27/10: Cardinals LB Joey Porter is arrested for DUI, resisting arrest, and assaulting a peace officer.

- 4/1/2010: Browns DT Shaun Rogers is arrested for possession of a weapon.

- 6/13/2010: Vince Young (misdemeanor assault caught on video.

- 6/29/2010: Bengals RB Cedric Benson is arrested for assault with injury.

Out of 38 players arrested this past year, only 2 were white. Roethlisberger was neither charged nor arrested and yet he is the only one suspended!!

Whether Roethlisberger deserved the suspension or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that players of known guilt and misdeeds have not been dealt with the same severity as Roethlisberger.

Dan said...

They probably should have all been dealt with the same severity as Roethlisberger. The NFL was probably trying to make an example of Ben because he is a franchise quarterback. Clearly if the NFL has a personal conduct policy it needs to be consistent. Goddell is judge, jury and executioner. That can lead to capricious application of the policy. Ben also gets more attention from the media because he has this prominent position. I would assume that if his punishment was more severe that would be the best reason.

My point was more or less how the media and general public choose to portray these situations. There's no media/public attention paid to Eric Foster or Jermaine Philips because no one knows who the hell they are.

I'm not sure what you mean by "given a pass" this season. I cannot recall nor have I researched every player on your list to find out how the NFL did or did not punish them. You can feel free to enlighten me and can certainly look it up myself later. Again my point was how the media portrays these incidents, not the number of black, white or Samoan players involved in each incident. If there are more black players involved in these incidents at least part of the reason has to be pure numbers as there are vastly more black players than white in the NFL.

Peter said...

I think that same bias in other stories about players. Dan we have discussed, along with Joey, the difference in opinion in the media regarding Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia is scrappy and hardworking while Cano is lazy and has lapses in focus.

Clearly they both work hard to be as good as they are, but if Cano makes a mistake he must be lazy because of how easy he makes things look.

Dennis said...

Perception and reality are, of course, two very different things. I don't think anyone can say with a straight face that mainstream sports media treats the behavior of black and white athletes the same.

As for the list;

Phillips is out of the league, playing for the Omaha Knighthawks, I don't see how that is being "given a pass."

Edwards was given a suspended sentence. Given that he was recently arrested again, there is a fair chance he will have to serve at least part of that sentence, after which it is likely the league will suspend him.

Police investigated foster and the DA chose not to press charges, which would seem to indicate there is nothing for him to be "given a pass" for.

Jackson was suspended for three games by the NFL.

Porter had the charges against him dropped by the prosecutor, who did not believe a jury would find him guilty.

Rogers will not face any charges and has been fined by the NFL.

Benson got sucker-punched in a bar.

Dan said...

Dennis with the research assist!