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Sports commentators and analysts are noted for their verbal gaffes, and for "mis-speaking" from time to time.

Generally I cut them some slack, but not this time.

We lamented the woeful coverage of the Olympics by NBC. Sure the commentators were both ill-informed and jingoistic, but they were not responsible for the editorial decisions.

Rightly, they were held accountable for their own bloviating, but it didn't rise much above the level one has come to expect.

In the case of Skip Bayliss I offer no such comfort.

Bayliss is a football analyst on ESPN. He was discussing the Washington Redskins, when he made this remark: WaPo

“Some foolish Redskins fans – fans, foolish, doesn’t that go together, right? – they’re gonna sit back and say, ‘God, RGIII was struggling. He fumbled, he threw a couple of bad passes. Maybe Kirk Cousins is better right now. Maybe we should go with Kirk.’ NO! I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to set up that dynamic.

“I’m going to throw it out there,” Bayless continued. “You also have the black/white dynamic and the majority of Redskins fans are white and it’s just human nature if you’re white to root for the white guy. It just happens in sports. Just like the black community will root for the black quarterback".

In the category of "Breathtakingly stupid remarks on a Sports Channel", Skip just won the Oscar and the Grammy.

That he felt that he could say something like that speaks volumes to the common-place, every day racism that permeates every level of society.

ESPN ... give us a break from this guy. Only then will folk start to get the message.

-

6:35 AM PT: Let me be very clear. The observation that fans behave the way they do is not what I am objecting to.

It is the ascribing of that behaviour to "human nature" that is a gross comment.

It is not human nature to be racist, it is racist to be racist and that is learned behaviour. Excusing it as somehow "natural" is simply wrong.

Originally posted to Every Part of You Belongs to You on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 05:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 05:56:53 AM PDT

  •  I Saw Him Say That Live (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, Mannie

    as a former DC resident and former Redskins season ticket holder I would say to him does he realize why they call DC "Chocolate City?" It is still about 83% African American (I am a white dude).

    Maybe most people at the games are white (they are), cause those are some of the most expensive tickets in the NFL, but most fans are not white.

    Oh and we've been bad for so, so long I am willing to bet if you took a poll of just African Americans in the area they wouldn't care if the Redskins QB was purple, gay, and from Mars if he won football games.

    You know, just saying ....

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:04:49 AM PDT

  •  He says that it's human nature for white (8+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, stevej, Mannie, mapamp, denig, Renee, Sylv, Smoh

    people to root for the white guy? Sounds more like "projection" than human nature. Tell us more, Mr. Bayliss.

    The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

    by Hillbilly Dem on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:12:48 AM PDT

  •  I Should Note One Other Thing (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, Mannie, mapamp, Samer, Renee, BlackSheep1, Smoh

    RG3 was at the top of his class in high school. He got into Stanford on grades alone but didn't attend cause Andrew Luck was there. He graduated from Baylor in three years and was working on a MA his senior year. He is dating the women he has been dating since he was like 15.

    IMHO as a Redskins fan we have NEVER drafted "character" people before (and look at our record BTW). We did here. RG3 is going to be fine and also I know a great role model for the youth of DC!

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:17:16 AM PDT

  •  Come on now... (0+ / 0-)

    Black QB's in the NFL over time have been under greater scrutiny than white QB's and that is a pretty well known practice for a long time.  The whole QB smarts thing prevented blacks from taking the helm long after they were integrated in to the league.

    By the way the WASHINGTON REDSKINS meaning native Americans who are closer to brown than red and for the most part don't like being called "REDSKINS" were the very last team to integrate their roster.  

    Yes most fans are white and yes there is a racial dynamic to who people root for in sports.  

    My question is this...
    Are you arguing that nobody that complains about RGBIII is griping because of some racial hangup despite the NFL's long history of racism towards black QB's?

    Are you arguing that Skip Bayless shouldn't have said what most people recognize as a truth based on the historical evidence of said practice in the NFL?

    Some fans are racist.

    Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

    by mim5677 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:19:15 AM PDT

    •  No (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mapamp, denig, Samer, BlackSheep1, Smoh

      I am arguing that the suggestion that this is "human nature" is wrong. Completely and utterly wrong.

      Racism is NOT human nature, it's learned behaviour.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:26:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rooting for the white guy or the black guy (0+ / 0-)

        isn't racism.  

        Stopping the black guy from being QB because he is black is racism or stopping the white guy from being the HB because he is white is racism.  Rooting for the person that is the same color as you is called ethnocentrism.

        I'm not parsing here either, the difference is easily seen.  People are attracted to things they are familiar with, to people in which they feel they have something in common.

        Skip Bayless is right, it is in our human nature to support those we percieve as one of our own.  

        If you are going to be so specific about your objections you have to concede that he is not talking about racist behavior.  He's talking about something that is truly a part of who we are as humans.

        Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

        by mim5677 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:07:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You have to be taught to be afraid, (0+ / 0-)

        Of people whose skin's a different shade.

        Great song lyrics from South Pacific, definitely won't be heard at the RNCnv.

        Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

        by rreabold on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:15:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      support the commentator? As a long time sports fan who knows many other sports fans his comment didn't resonate with me at all.

      That is not to say that there isn't racism in sport - of course there is and it needs dealing with.

      •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

        I support his comments that it is a part of human nature to support people you percieve as one of your own.

        Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

        by mim5677 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:09:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't give Skip Brainless attention. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, mapamp, Texdude50, Audible Nectar

    That's exactly what he wants.

    He's been trolling on ESPN for years, and I've watched for years in fascination to see how far he'll go in order to get attention.

    And now I know the answer to that question.

    Why someone thinks this clown should be in front of a camera has baffled me for years. What Skip knows about sports could fit inside a thimble, and he comes across as arrogant and awful on a consistent basis.

    If anyone thinks ESPN will part ways with Bayless over this, think again. They knew what they were getting when they hired him, and this kind of nonsense helps ratings.

    He and Stephen A. Smith are possibly the most putrid tandem in the history of television. They're the equivalent of vomiting pus. If you don't believe me, check them out on your own. They deserve each other.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:21:13 AM PDT

    •  I was with you until you added Stephen A Smith (0+ / 0-)

      Don't blame Stephen because E$PN burdened him with a jackass!  

      Stephen has had some very good articles over at E$PN

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:33:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I gave up on ESPN a LONG time ago. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      In fact, it is ESPN that accomplished getting me away from sports television. ESPN, through their unexpert commentary and endless pumping/propaganda (they aren't called the "Eastcoast Sports Propaganda Network" for nothing) I watch less and less sports all the time.

      And I don't miss it.

    •  Skip Bayless is a hater (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie

      of long standing. So he's escaped DFW and moved to a bigger market to spread his shite, eh?

      Ignore him and he'll just get louder, until, like Limpbaugh, he gets the slapdown from a national gig he really needs.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:59:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  correct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, BenderRodriguez

      Bayless is one of those people who would rather be controversial than right. I was already sick of him when he left the San Jose Mercury to go to TV.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:25:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think he has a point to be honest (0+ / 0-)

    Fans won't say it out loud but they will root for a white guy on a basketball team - see for example Brian when he was  on my Celtics. (though part of it was making fun of him). That is not to say they don't root for the black guys - of course they do. I think to dismiss it out of hand is to not recognize the truth.

    •  I don't think he has a point at all (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, mapamp, Cali Scribe

      because of this:

      it’s just human nature if you’re white to root for the white guy.
      It's not human nature, it's racism. It's learned behaviour.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:25:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is bad phrasing but he's not lying (0+ / 0-)

        It is a factual observation other than the bad phrasing.

        •  The bit about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ntonlion

          sports fans cheering on a person of their own color, because of his color, is arguable.

          The bit about "human nature" is not.

          He made a statement that clearly indicates a belief that racism is "human nature".

          That is about as wrong as it gets. It wasn't a factual observation, it was wrong.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          by twigg on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:31:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  ps (0+ / 0-)

          It's "bad phrasing like "legitimate rape" is bad phrasing.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          by twigg on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:33:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Point taken. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            twigg, ntonlion

            That's his view - a wrong view as you have noted. I just am not as worked up about this particular issue. I'll give him a pass for now...but will keep it in mind.

            •  It matters (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ntonlion

              Identifying the issue, and the expression of it is important.

              It matters that we are clear what we are objecting to, in this case not the observation of fan behaviour .... he is probably right about that, at least in part.

              I think that it was okay for him to, as he said "go there", but his reasoning displayed his own prejudice, and that needs some pushback.

              Heh ... I'm not worked up about what one sports presenter said, but I do think it important to demonstrate why he was wrong about that conclusion.

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              by twigg on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:45:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  By only cheering when the white person scores?n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  We used to hear this same kinda shit when (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, mapamp, twigg

    Doug Williams was the QB for the redskins. Sneeky racist comments calling into question if he was intelligent enough to be the QB. It never ends.

    And Skip Bayliss gets paid, as do all other sports dickweeds, to drive eyeball traffic on the demon box and to drive internet traffic on ESPN.com. Their jobs are to stoke any and all non-troversies into a silly variant on entertainment based hollywood type coverage of sports.

    Its tabloid bullshit brought to us decades ago by rupert murdock.

    •  But it's not a good idea to set your house on fire (0+ / 0-)

      just because it will draw a crowd. Now, did anyone bring hotdogs or marshmellows?

    •  I still watch sports on ESPN (0+ / 0-)

      and other stations, but I find myself watching the "talking heads" shows on the network a lot less. (I still enjoy the pre-game shows for local baseball; last night I learned a lot about strike zones from watching Bill Laskey and Vida Blue on the Giants pre game.) When the show becomes less about the sport and more about the personalities, that's when they lose me. SportsCenter itself is still pretty decent most of the time; sure they pay attention to East Coast sports but that's because they get those scores and highlights in first. Lately, that's about all I've been watching on the network other than live sports action.

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:23:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are you surprised by E$PN? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    Do I have to remind you of the Flush Limbaugh E$PN stint where he made comments about another African-American QB?

    E$PN which is owned by Disney (see the history of Disney...not a very enlightened company by any means)

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 06:36:19 AM PDT

  •  He's right and it is human nature. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not a utopian--I think the badness is pretty deeply ingrained in us for solid evolutionary reasons.  It's just as humans we're uniquely able to get past that stuff with intention and effort.

    Mitt Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:02:42 AM PDT

  •  It's not like Bayless said that out of nowhere (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, Mannie

    He seems to always favor the white athlete over the non-white athlete in any debate.

    I invented this example. If the topic is, "Who has been more valuable to their team? Cam Newton, or the (white) third string place kicker for the worst team in the league?" Bayless would say something like, "The backup to the backup kicker is the most important position in the NFL" and follow with a convoluted explanation.

    And that's just based on skill set. When it comes to off the field issues, image, marketability, etc., Bayless is even more predictable.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:28:10 AM PDT

  •  My favorite unnecessary NFL "race card" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    was this doozie from Jason Whitlock back in January:

    Look, we can tip-toe around it, ignore the big beautiful elephant in the room, or we can embrace the fact that Sunday’s AFC Championship contest is soaked in the white-black racial component that has driven American sports passion at least since Jack Johnson whipped James J. Jeffries.
    The argument being that it's Tom Brady v. Ray Lewis, somehow ignoring that you could make the same argument on the other side as Joe Flacco v. Vince Wilfork. . . .

    http://msn.foxsports.com/...

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:44:44 AM PDT

  •  Wow, there goes my nomination (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    for Tim McCarver as worst sports broadcaster ever....

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:50:23 AM PDT

  •  There are others who are questioning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    RG3's future in the NFL -- but it has nothing to do with race, but rather his size. One sports commentator this morning compared him not just to Michael Vick, but also to Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy -- two white quarterback, all four relatively small playing in a league where the players are getting bigger and bigger (whether it's due to better workout methods or better living through chemistry, I won't comment). There are concerns about how much time he'll miss to injuries in his career.

    But that's a legitimate football question at this point -- it has nothing to do with being white, black, or whatever.

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

    by Cali Scribe on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:16:32 AM PDT

    •  Colt McCoy (0+ / 0-)

      is a quieter version of Tim Tebow.

      So actually, is Sam Bradford, but Bradford is a better football player and tends to do his talking on the field.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:26:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I see it as an insult to sports fans. (0+ / 0-)

    Some view jocks and sports fans as less intelligent, and this would support that agument; suggesting that they would be more supportive of one person over another from a superficial and irrelevant characteristic. While I'm not a hard-core sports fan, when I choose to be interested, I root for the TEAM, not any individual. Judging an individual's value to the team should be rooted only in their talents and skills, not their color or even their gender. And who they date when they aren't on the field is nobody's business!

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