Interview with ESPN Columnist, Jemele Hill, Part 1

Jemele Hill.Jemele Hill is the only Black female sports columnist currently writing for a major outlet. It’s very important there is a prominent influx of dissenting minority female voices in journalism so fans of sports get more objective coverage of the games they love. Jemele is very talented, knows her stuff and will be the force formidable for years to come. Because Jemele is alone, she carries the burden of cultivating role models in female youth who aspire to do what she does so well. Open your minds people and allow yourself to see things differently. I enjoy interviewing journalists because readers can get a insider view of the voices behind the pen. I hope you enjoy.

MT: Describe your style and your vision of journalism.

JH: Hmm, that’s a pretty good question. I would say that I always have an opinion on things. I think that’s the most important part of being a journalist. I try to be the columnist that has all the pitches. Someone who could throw the fastball, curveball, lil’ slider and maybe give you a knuckleball every now and again. I think that’s important because anytime you are a columnist and you talk to people one certain way, it’s only a matter of time before you are tuned out and no longer taken seriously—particularly if you are a fastball columnist that always is screaming at people, everything is outrageous and everything is the end of the earth. I think you have to choose your pictches carefully and sort of go with what’s warranted for the moment. Sometimes people need to be yelled at and cussed out, but other times they need to be spoon fed and educated. You have to figure out what it is your audience needs at that moment on that particular subject. I’m a relatively young columnist that’s new in the game. I’m still sort of learning that, but I like to fashion myself as someone that wants to be versatile.

MT: What was your inspiration to become a journalist?

JH: I love writing. I loved two things growing up—sports and writing. I played a lot of sports in the neighborhood and also in high school. I’ve always written short stories and kept a journal. I wanted to become an author, but I couldn’t figure out how to make money. I didn’t know anyone who was an author, or really couldn’t conceptualize what an author was. In high school, I needed an elective. It came down to journalism and personal health. I took journalism because I didn’t want to hear the football coach talk about sex (Jemele and I chuckle). The rest as they say is history. It was a way for me to write, meet people and also stay involved in sports. I didn’t fashion myself as being any kind professional athlete. It wasn’t even available to women then—not like it is now. At least there are a few avenues. I was like wow! This is a way for me to stay connected to a game that I love.

MT: I like to compare journalism to the voting process. I don’t think individuals should complain about the lack of minority voices unless they ascribe to become journalists. Why is there a lack of Black journalists—or for the sake of this conversation, Black women journalists?

JH: That is a good question. I think there definitely should be more. Part of it too is visibility. I flashback to when I was a kid, making choices and figuring out what I wanted to do with my career. I didn’t see anyone that looked like me doing what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I began to see more female journalists—ones that took me under their collective wing and showed me what journalism is really about. Then, I was like OK, I can really do this. Sometimes things materialize when you see it for your own eyes. Then you start believing.It’s kind of a double edged sword. I wrote a column recently about the lack of Black female coaches in college basketball. People assume that there are, because of the Black players, but it’s simply not the case. When I speak at colleges, I tell athletes that just because you are an athlete doesn’t mean that you can’t be a journalist. In fact, it gives you more credibility because you’ve played the game. We have to show Blacks that we are out there and there is money in this field. Once we do this, then we will start to see an influx of younger journalists in the field.

MT: Why the switch from the Orlando Sentinel to ESPN?

JH: It was just a career choice. I was at the Sentinel for two years. ESPN offers a major brand with a national audience. They are a very versatile company—publishing arm, magazine arm, TV arm and a .com arm. I like to fashion myself again as a versatile person who does a little bit of everything. This company matches my talent. I can do some TV work, some magazine work, some column work and some .com work and that really appealed to me.

MT: What are your goals and aspirations?

JH: Well besides ESPN, I would like to do some more TV work and get some more television opportunities. I would also like to write a novel. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist. It’s just a matter of mapping out a plan to make that happen.

MT: Could you comment on Don Imus and his ridiculous comments recently about the Rutgers female basketball team—calling them “nappy headed ho’s” after watching some of their performance in their loss to Tennessee in the Championship Game?

JH: I wrote a column for ESPN.com. I heard about this from a source of mine. She is the president of Black women in sports foundation. She sent me an email asking if I heard about this. I just couldn’t believe it. I know he’s a shock jock and is part of what he does. He’s very abrasive and certainly is not politically correct. I was just appalled because this is the same man that is in the Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. He’s considered a revolutionary radio voice. He’s just a bigot to me. He is always denigrating women and minorities. He’s crude. His crew of idiots has called Venus and Serena Williams animals—saying they belong in National Geographic. I just don’t understand how he’s able to keep a job. I’m really concerned that his listenership continues to surge. I don’t know what that says about either the type of people he appeals to or the type of Americans we are that we are actually listening to this fool. I was very disturbed. I alerted the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) –their watchdog organization. I’m really impressed that they got the ball rolling as fast as they did (Imus subsequently was suspended for two weeks starting April 16th). I think he should be fired. I don’t think there’s any question. He should have been fired a long time ago. I know how corporate think tanks are. I know how corporations work. Unfortunately because he’s so popular, I wonder if that will work. Someone in the NCAA brought up an interesting point. One of his sponsors is State Farm. I’m a State Farm customer. Do I even want to be associated with them if they are backing this guy? State Farm was the major contributor to the NCAA tournament. If I’m Myles Brand (President, NCAA), who put out a statement condemning Imus, I’m having a conversation with Imus today. That’s the next step to get him off the air. You have to hit him in the pocketbook.

MT: Just as a comparison, I recently interviewed Micheal Ray Richardson. The next day, he made some remarks about Jewish people and also some anti gay comments to hecklers. He was suspended during his team’s (Albany Patroons) run to the championship and subsequently fired. This is the problem I have with America. Yes, Imus has done a lot of admirable charity work, but that has nothing to do with the hatred he continuously speaks. Why is this person still on the air? Like you said, it really says a lot about America and the money green. Imus gets what essentially is a two week vacation? Come on! Another thing, I’m sick of these news outlets giving every Black leader of some organization a turn to speak. Where is the outrage from other races? I haven’t seen anyone White saying Imus should be terminated. Until that happens—and not only on this subject—we will continue to have a racial problem in this society. Speak up people! Do you live his comments or do you strongly hold him accountable?

JH: That’s a good and interesting point. It’s one that I’ve thought of and even said to people before. People have to understand that eliminating racism and eliminating this type of behavior can’t always solely be the responsibility of minorities. We can’t be the one always educating, taking up the cause or highlighting racial issues. We need everyone’s help. This is everyone’s problem. This is just not an issue that people of color have to deal with. It affects White people also. I agree with you. It is funny because I was watching Pardon The Interruption, and they were discussing the issues and I was glad to see that it had gotten out that far. It reached the mainstream headlines on ESPN. But I was kind of bothered by something Tony Kornheiser said. I think he is a fabulous columnist and a good sports radio personality. I am not trying to take any of that away from him. I was bothered by the fact that he said that if someone said those comments in a comedy club, it would be funny. I was thinking “No, it wouldn’t be funny” and that’s not even the issue. It is basically a back handed way of saying, “if somebody Black said it on the Steve Harvey show, then it would be okay.” That is not the issue and it tends to be the focus here. It is who is saying it, and Black people are allowed to say this about their own people so why aren’t we allowed to say it? I think those are two separate issues. The issue is people have been fired for less. You look at Steve Lyons and as you pointed out Micheal Ray Richardson, they have been fired for less. He says this routinely. And people give him a free pass by saying, “He is a shock jock, that’s what they do.” That is unacceptable to me because no one else in the mainstream communication career or avenue could ever get away with this. Again, you are right. There needed to be a mainstream voice condemning Imus’ comments. He is an idiot and needs to be fired.

MT: I am not going to hold Michael Wilbon accountable for Kornheiser’s comments. They are friends; they have known each other for years. But, if they didn’t have that relationship, I believe Wilbon—after Kornheiser’s comments—would have dropped a heavier shoe.

JH: Yeah, I do realize that part of their show is good cop, bad cop. They are different thinkers and that kind of lends itself to the structure of the show. I was discussing earlier with other journalists that at some point, yes, African Americans are going to have to address the entertainment icons in our own community in terms of what they say, what we buy, what we consume and how we allow people to entertain us. That is definitely going to need to be addressed, but that it not the issue here. That is a diversionary tactic that people use to excuse people that behave that way. In that particular case, I think the most important point is that it was discussed on PTI because literally there was initially no media outrage until calls were made. It was like a pebble that dropped in the water. Nothing really happened. People had to be forced to react to it, which is also interesting. That is why I compared it to what Tim Hardaway said about John Amaechi. Instantly, it became huge news and I thought this should have been treated with the same seriousness. Tim Hardaway had to sell part of a business he had in Miami because people didn’t want to deal with him. I don’t understand why Don Imus doesn’t get that same treatment.

MT: Yes, one last point about this. I truly feel that we as Americans, no matter what our race, are out to protect our own individual interests and the hell with everyone else. That being said, I think Imus is a brilliant man regardless of his personal philosophy and chose to use that moment to elevate his number of listeners. He doesn’t care what he said. I am sure he speaks like that all of the time. It was a half-assed apology. I think we need to speak out with more conviction when we do speak out. We should get off of this subject because I am getting hot.

Bob Huggins left Kansas State for West Virginia—his alma mater—after one year. What are your thoughts on Michael Beasley and other recruits being released out of their commitments?

JH: I definitely think they should be released, although honestly I struggle with that. One thing is for sure–and some coaches and NCAA officials will tell you this—when you pick a school, pick it because you like the school. Don’t pick it because you like the coach. And that is kind of their philosophy. However, they are naïve to think that young men don’t do the opposite. Of course they pick a certain school because of the coach, who wouldn’t? From that perspective, I think it is completely fair to let them out of their scholarship. If you just look at how many coaches have changed schools since the tournament ended, these contracts these coaches sign mean almost nothing. If the players are going to be held accountable, then so should the coaches. Given the situation that they brought Huggins out of, Kansas State should have been given more than one year.

MT: What are your thoughts on Barry Bonds and the way Major League baseball chooses to approach Barry breaking the record?

I ask this of anyone I interview because Barry breaking the record should be documented and not ignored for history’s sake.

JH: It is tough for a lot of people to want Barry to break Aaron’s record because of the cloud of steroids. It is more or less about Hank. My dislike of Barry Bonds comes from my love of Hank. Aaron is one of the most principled and honorable people that you will ever meet. I don’t think major league baseball deserves better because this is partly their problem, where they had the chance to get serious about steroids, and they didn’t. Now they have to sit there and watch as the most hallowed record is broken by someone that has a heavy suspicion of steroid use. However, considering what a graceful and wonderful player Hank Aaron was, it is hard to see somebody like Barry Bonds break his record knowing everything that Bonds stands for. I know Hank Aaron has said several times that records are made to be broken. He has tried to stay as far away from Barry Bonds as possible because I know that it has to bother him on some level too. He did everything the right way and the type of racism that he endured in breaking that record makes you want to cry. And to see now what it has come to, he deserves better. More than anyone, Hank Aaron deserves more, and that is how I feel about it.

Hank recently stated that he will not be in attendance when Barry breaks the record.

MT: This is my opinion. Last year, I wrote a piece entitled, A Conversation with Bobby Baseballan interview of mainstream America for the scrutiny heaped upon Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds has been hated since early on in his career. I think that America and the media at large choose to use steroids as a scapegoat. For the media to always throw down our throats that Barry is hated this way, hated that way, has nothing to do with steroids. I had the chance to meet Barry and he was cool with me. So why does America choose to hate Barry simply because the media says so? I think Barry’s place in baseball history should be intact because there weren’t any anti-steroid laws while he was approaching the record. Barry Bonds might be surly but I don’t see Major League baseball tearing down the legacy of Ty Cobb—who was a known racist—or any other similarly perceived baseball figure.

JH: I understand that, but the one thing that makes Barry’s case a little different is the record that he is breaking. The players union could have at least put some pressure on the players regarding steroid testing and they didn’t. Bottom line, Major League baseball wanted higher attendance at a time where baseball popularity was waning. They were fully aware that something wasn’t quite right but they sanctioned it anyway, because it brought people back after the strike. The league is basically paying dearly for its own greed. I don’t believe that people should make it out as though Barry Bonds was the only one taking steroids. If people want to talk about putting asterisks on things, well there were a whole lot of players that need some asterisks. So I think that part of it is laughable. One thing is for sure, that even before we knew what we know about BALCO, Barry was arguably—maybe—the best player in the game if not the best player of the generation. Before anybody can pinpoint the physical changes, Barry was not one to buddy up to reporters. Barry doesn’t like reporters all that much and that has certainly influenced the fans opinion through the media. That being said, I still think in terms of Hank Aaron’s legacy, Barry is a disservice to that because of the class in which Hank Aaron carries himself. I think baseball in many ways is getting what they deserve and I know there is going to be a lot of talk about what is going to happen when Barry Bonds breaks the record.

I say Bud Selig has got to be there.

MT: Yes, he’s got to be there. It needs to be documented that Bud Selig was the commissioner of baseball during this era.

JH: He can’t be tough talk now when he wasn’t tough talk five, six years ago. He has no choice but to suck it up and bear it. (Jemele laughs)

MT: I was a big fan of Barry’s father. The media was hard on Bobby Bonds. Barry is no different than Sandy and Roberto Alomar, Ken Griffey, Kobe Bryant and the Mannings–to name a few–in that these players know and have experienced the media spin—especially when dealing with their famous fathers. That adds a lot to what is going on with Barry. This important aspect is pushed under the rug and is something the public chooses to not deal with. This is the way it has been spun. Barry hates talking to reporters and therefore is not a good person or teammate. I’m not excusing Barry Bonds for anything. I’m not a Barry Bonds apologist. I think America and the media needs to look at the entire scope when commenting about Bonds.

JH: You bring up great points, but Barry does not do things to help himself. I believe that he came into the game being having total hostility towards the media. You bring up his father and that is a really good point. He as all these blowups on camera and blows up at Jim Leyland, and totally exacerbates the situation. That’s why to some degree I think he relishes the media situation. It’s pretty well documented that he is an ego maniac.

MT: That’s true, most of the greats are.

JH: I’m not saying that players deserving honor is contingent on their relationship with us. He’s got to understand that he has to deal with things a little bit better. If Hank can take it, then Barry Bonds can take it! (Jemele laughs) That’s my personal opinion.

MT: This is a very important statement. When I interview an athlete or celebrity, I have no problems. If you question an athlete in a not so genuine way, where is the positive? What is positive about asking an athlete something that is so irrelevant—doing so in such an unprofessional fashion—and then writing that this particular athlete is an asshole? The public’s opinion is then shaped by the cynical questions that he has been continuously asked his entire career. I’m not even speaking about the steroid issue. I think that is what needs to be addressed by some of our peers. If you ask a stupid question, then you are going to get a stupid answer. If you are forthright and honest with an athlete, then you will get the answer you need for your story. If you ask an absurd question and get screamed on by an athlete, then it’s your fault.

JH: If you are cussing out photographers in front of everyone, what kind of questions do you think you are going to get asked? People are going to ask you why you are cussing out photographers.

MT: True but there is always an action before the negative reaction and that should be addressed regarding any athlete. They are human just like the rest of us regardless of the money they make. They have good days and bad days.

JH: One player I can appreciate is Ken Griffey. He’s a sensitive guy and I know playing in his hometown did not help matter because people expect more or you and want more of a piece of you. I think it really bothered him at first—especially with the injuries. Now that we see the lens being pulled back on baseball, people have eased up on him a lot. I think it has definitely contributed to how he’s portrayed now. People are ten years later realizing what a good guy Ken Griffey is. You can look at him and see that he did it all natural. He is truly as gifted as we thought he was. At the time—especially with every little quarrel writers had with him—Griffey was not someone we truly appreciated. Those same people are looking really goofy now as cheater after cheater has come through this game. I do agree with you that we the media need to stop taking it so personal when a guy is in a bad mood. People are going to get in a bad mood every now and again. I know I would not be very happy if I was asked 500 of the same questions every single day. There are some sports writers that feel if a player is not buddy buddy with them then he’s not a good guy. Some players want a cut and dry relationship with the media. They don’t want small talk. They want you to ask your question and be done—of course some athletes need to be more mature. I certainly agree with your point. We have to watch how we approach people because they don’t owe us anything.

MT: No they don’t. I think the sense of entitlement needs to be eliminated on all sides.

JH: Yes, definitely. None of us are engaging in brain surgery or ditch digging. Sometimes I figure that’s the perfect phrase for both sides, a sense of entitlement. Just because I carry around a note pad and have a press credential doesn’t mean that you have to talk to me. You do have to give me respect that you would anyone on the street. Certainly that doesn’t mean that I’m entitled to anything other than the function of my job.

Click here for Part 2 of the Jemele Hill interview.

78 Responses to “Interview with ESPN Columnist, Jemele Hill, Part 1”

  1. “I was bothered by the fact that he said that if someone said those comments in a comedy club, it would be funny. I was thinking “No, it wouldn’t be funny” and that’s not even the issue. It is basically a back handed way of saying, “if somebody Black said it on the Steve Harvey show, then it would be okay.” That is not the issue and it tends to be the focus here.”

    You are so wrong it really isn’t even funny. Please do yourself a favor and read Whitlock’s column. A quote: “Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.”

    Now THAT is the truth. And yes, THAT is the issue — there are so many double standards re: black people and their cries of “racism” that it’s laughable. Now, I will just re-post what I wrote over at TBL today:

    Imus said some stupid shit — as he ALWAYS does. I’m not going to defend what he said, only to say that I didn’t think it was that offensive. Really. Was it in bad taste? Sure. Was it racially charged? Absolutely. But does it deserve the absolutely ludicrous media coverage — front page NYT, ESPN.com, CNN.com, etc. — it has received? Not even close. The Rutgers basketball “press conference” yesterday was a disgrace — their coach sounded like Jackie Chiles, “abominable, unconscionable, outrageous, etc.” What a clown.

    Imus should have given a token apology on air, and left it at that. Appearing on Sharpton’s show, begging for his mercy, was pretty stupid. You have to stoop pretty low to offer an apology to Al Sharpton. Tawana Brawley, anyone? Sharpton has his angle, ESPN has their angle, and the New York times has their angle for propping this story up.

    Turn on HOT 97 here in NY, see if you don’t hear “nappy-headed hoes” coming out of your speakers, and much, much worse. Where’s all the media coverage for 50 Cent spewing his hate for black women? It doesn’t exist, because the only targets for these kind of media sensations can be rich, white men.

    Frankly, I am sick of the black community having a heart attack over every potentially hurtful comment that comes their way. Pretty soon, they are going to be like the Islamists, rioting and burning down buildings over a fucking cartoon. Give me a break. Imus insults Jews all the time on his show. Where’s the outrage from the media for those comments? This is America. People say stupid shit every damn day. Learn to live with it.

  2. “Frankly, I am sick of the black community having a heart attack over every potentially hurtful comment that comes their way. Pretty soon, they are going to be like the Islamists, rioting and burning down buildings over a fucking cartoon. Give me a break. Imus insults Jews all the time on his show. Where’s the outrage from the media for those comments? This is America. People say stupid shit every damn day. Learn to live with it.”

    I happened to read your post at TBL.

    I was disgusted then, and I’m still disgusted now.

    What I say to you is this: Al Sharpton does not represent my personal interests, nor does 50 cent, Hot 97 or anyone else that spews anything racially insensitive.

    We are talking about the here and now. Everything else is irrelevant–at this particular moment. I have a daughter and she’s the first person I thought about when hearing this.

    Why are you protecting the interests of Imus?

    What does that say about you or anyone else that uses these ludicrous deflection tatics? Why are you taking this so personally?

    Look, we all need to move on to become this great nation that we always prematurely claim to be. There are problems in every race and EVERYONE should be held accountable.

    Like I said on TBL, Give me some Common, Mos Def, Public Enemy and Talib Kweli and I’m straight. I don’t listen to hip hop pop and I turn it off every chance I get.

    Bringing up anything besides Imus in this context is ridiculous. Deal with him and only him and then we can talk.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. “Why are you protecting the interests of Imus?”

    I said I am not going to defend Imus. What I did say is that I don’t find what he said to be all that offensive. What I’m protecting is the right for him to say how he feels on the air without him having to face this media-driven firestorm that has resulted because of it. What he said was insensitive, to be sure – but it was a far cry from hate speech. Same thing with Richardson – guy shouldn’t have been suspended at all.

    “What does that say about you or anyone else that uses these ludicrous deflection tatics? Why are you taking this so personally?”

    First of all, these are not “ludicrous deflection tactics.” Imus shouldn’t have said what he said, alright. I’m just using his example – and the black community’s “outrage” – to illustrate a much, much, much larger issue. A much more important one. And that is – why do black people choose to selectively be offended by these comments but not by other comments. Whitlock brought up Chappelle – why is it okay for him to make racial jokes but not Imus? Seriously – I want to know.

    Because when you say in your interview, “Where is the outrage from other races?” well, I am wondering the same thing about you. Where is your outrage in Richardson’s comments? Point me in the direction of your post where you ripped him for his insensitive remarks to Jewish people. Because when choose to attack only white people like Imus, you come off no better than Al Sharpton. By the way, I wonder what he and the New Black Panther Party have to say about the Duke case now.

  4. stopmikelupica Says:

    Thank you for bringing up that Bobby Bonds was routinely disparaged by the mainstream sportsmedia, and that is a huge contribution to why his son Barry Bonds is so “combative” with the sportsmedia. This is rarely brought up, mainly because the sports media, the beat writers, don’t want you knowing why Barry is a dick, only that he’s a dick.

    If you grow up watching your father get publicly berated in the newspapers everyday, would you care much for that same media?

    No one ever writes about that, though. At least not in the mainstream coverage of Barry….

  5. “Because when you say in your interview, “Where is the outrage from other races?” well, I am wondering the same thing about you. Where is your outrage in Richardson’s comments? Point me in the direction of your post where you ripped him for his insensitive remarks to Jewish people. Because when choose to attack only white people like Imus, you come off no better than Al Sharpton. By the way, I wonder what he and the New Black Panther Party have to say about the Duke case now.”

    Question for you. Let’s go deeper. Was Kobe allowed to be a victim like these Duke kids? Hell no!

    Yes there is and always will be an outrage when clowns like Imus speak their BS. The same can be said for ANYONE. Do you get that?

    I don’t agree with ANYONE who denigrates another race. Am I making myself clear? Why do folks bring up Sharpton, Jackson, The New Black Panther Party whenever something like this happens, but Kobe is hated in every arena he enters into…you tell me what that is all about?

    Did Kobe cheat on his wife? Yeah, and he paid dearly for it. That should be between he and his wife–period.

    Pac Man Jones…Hmmm…interesting. It’s crazy that Jones,TO, Ron Artest, Barry Bonds, Antonio Davis (for coming to the aid of his wife), and anyone else I fail to mention are usually the first sports stories we hear about every day. Has any of these people committed hardcore crimes that warrant all of this coverage? NO!

    Click the link to my Bobby Baseball article that’s posted in Jemele’s interview and you will understand that Blacks are sick of being constantly called out of our names and also being made the scapegoat for anything that is wrong in this society.

    Imus is the issue here, no one else!

    As far as Richardson, I interviewed him a couple of days before his public fallout. Did he call Jewish people nappy headed ho’s? As far as I know, he gave Jewish people props for their business handlings. It’s like saying Blacks dominate basketball–no harm there.

    What happened to Janet Jackson? Did she committ a hardcore crime? She paid dearly for something that happens in practically every mainstream bar every single night right?

    We all need to pull ourselves up and clean up our collective act and until WE do, BS like this will continue to happen.

  6. SML. Thanks for the comment. That’s why The Starting Five is here :)

  7. MGD says he’s tired of the black community……

    Sucks to be him.

  8. I hear you all day on that KD

  9. Came here from TBL, not bad stuff. Jemele Hill’s work on ESPN frustrates me in that I can’t make up my mind whether it’s good or not. Sometimes it’s insightful and thoughtful, sometimes it seems like she’s picking sensational issues that are of no real value. But she is relatively young and has plenty of years left; chances are that she will develop into a very good writer. So good work on getting the interview, and good luck to Jemele in becoming an even better writer than what she is now.

  10. Thanks Mcbias. Jemele has a great opportunity to become one of the best. I’m sure she will appreciate your comment.

  11. Actually, Mizzo, I disagree. Let’s not hurry to get back to bullshit-as-usual. Imus has, however unintentionally, provided us a much-needed glimpse into society’s nasty underbelly. And thanks to you, MGD. It’s critical never to forget people like you are out there lurking in the shadows.

    Mizzo, great interview. Kudos and thanks to you. And Ms. Hill, you are one helluva writer. From one sports lover (and chick) to another… you’re an inspiration. Write the novel.

  12. The irony of “lurkers” like MGD is that his inability to perform the most basic critical anaylsis, instead taking the path of least intellectual resistance to arrive at an ignorant, slipshod conclusion is the best possible scenario for his POV. Problem is that dude is apparently too stupid to even see that.

  13. Thanks for the love Panger. It’s what we do with this glimpse that will shape our future. We ALL need to get our shit together.

    I hope you keep coming back, Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. I’m sure Jemele appreciates both the positive comments.

  14. Damn KD. I know I couldn’t have said it better than that ;)

  15. Mizzo — very good interview, and it’s interesting to read Jemele’s thoughts in a free-form interview rather than a column. Looking forward to part 2.

  16. S2N, Thanks. Jemele and I had a great conversation. I really appreciate how candid she was about anything I asked her.

  17. Great interview, M.

    Jemele is doing her thing over at the WWL and I’m happy to see it.

    What do you think about Jason Whitlock’s latest article on AOL Sports calling for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to step down?

    Link: http://sports.aol.com/whitlock/_a/time-for-jackson-sharpton-to-step-down/20070411111509990001

    I think JWhit has a point in saying that just like politics, people in power need to be checked every so often to be sure they’re not corrupted by self.

  18. Thanks MR. Jemele is doing her thing. I’m just as happy to see her succeed.

    I interviewed Whitlock right after his departure from ESPN.

    I haven’t been able to stomach his columns in a long time. Like I’ve said before, I’m sure he doesn’t care, but he needs to understand that he does more to separate than bring us all together.

    I think he speaks to Blacks through Whites. The people he criticizes know nothing about him. So who the hell is he really talking to?

    I personally don’t like the Hip Hop Pop he speaks of because it’s trash. I agree with him that it’s counterproductive to anything we all are trying to accomplish.

    I just can’t get with Black KKK statements. What is that?

    In my opinion, Jason speaks to generalizations that enforce racial stereotypes.

    He merely says what Whites want to hear and is the Original Bojangler.

    Go to the hood Jason and express your philosophy.

    DWil has a moniker for Jason. You’ll have to wait for his next post.

    He is one of the most polarizing figures in journalism.

    I want Whitlock to debate me in a public forum.

  19. Good lord, am I really seeing you, KevDog, saying this:

    “The irony of “lurkers” like MGD is that his inability to perform the most basic critical anaylsis,”

    And then offering no critical analysis yourself? Judas.

    Let me just break down MGD’s point here and let’s see if anyone can actually respond to it without just saying “That’s a deflection tactic” and ignoring it.

    Imus is being criticized because of the context of his words. Clearly the words themselves are not particularly offensive, because similar and worse can be heard from other people on FM radio stations and MTV every day…just in a different context.

    You cannot, as Mizzo chooses to ignorantly insist on doing, determine anything about the social acceptability of Imus’s words without putting them into a context of how other people speak. By ignoring the rest of society, a person can paint a picture of Imus’s words as being anything from a harmless non-event to a ridiculously offensive action worthy only of being fired.

    MGD asks: “why is it okay for him [Chapelle] to make racial jokes but not Imus?”

    I have yet to see anyone even tangentially address this. The answers are obvious, so I’m not sure why Mizzo chooses to bring up Janet Jackson and Pacman Jones. Uh, yeah, there’s a double standard…can you explain why? I know Dwil has and probably will again. Just ignoring the question and insulting the questioner isn’t actually an answer, it’s just being a punk.

    And let’s call bullshit on those who seek to call bullshit themselves:

    Kobe Bryant was hated long before he was accused of raping some girl (remember his first All-Star Game MVP?). Saying that him cheating should have been between him and his wife is comically naive. Didn’t Bill Clinton get dragged through the mud for years because of his infidelity? What was the same about both of them? They were both hated already by a large and vocal portion of the population who wanted a justification for why they didn’t like him. I’m sure I can think of more black people that this has happened to than white people (relative to the population), but just spouting off some random example leaves you vulnerable to some asshole spouting off some random examples right back (Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan spring to mind).

    Pacman Jones didn’t commit a hard crime? Wasn’t he the instigator to an action that lead to a guy getting paralyzed? Do you think the only responsible party is the guy who pulled the trigger? Right.

    Ron Artest…I mean, assault, battery, domestic violence, criminal negligence…gosh, those really aren’t hard-core crimes are they? I suppose you’re going to tell me that since he got charged with misdemeanor’s they aren’t really crimes.

    Putting those guys in the same sentence with Barry Bonds, Antonio Davis and TO is an insult to Barry Bonds, Antonio Davis and TO.

    Look, Mizzo, I don’t disagree with you on a lot of points:

    Jemele is an AMAZING writer.

    Jason Whitlock is an idiot who forgot who he is.

    Imus should be fired, and he should have been fired YEARS ago (that guy has always been an asshole).

    Focusing on whether or not Imus’s comments would be treated differently if they came out of a black guy’s mouth in a comedy club IS a distraction. However, neither you in this piece, or Jemele in the interview, explain why it is an unjust or unfair or irrelevant distraction. If the time for discussing what is culturally acceptable on a wider scale is not now, then when is it okay to discuss that? When people aren’t paying attention?

    MGD asks questions in a legitimate manner and you see fit only to insult him and change the subject. Bah!

  20. JFunk, thanks for your comment.

    Jemele is an amazing writer, thank for duly noting.

    Look, I brought up those examples of players because they are shoved down our collective throats every single day. Yes, they should stop committing crimes(the ones that do)–that’s obvious, we all know that. But, why don’t you see bad guy White players ostracized by the mainstream. That’s where the “deflection tactics” come in.

    Whites play with an entitled comfort level and are not lumped in with the bad guys. That’s the point here.

    You would think by the coverage that Blacks make up the only crime in America.

    2% of all Black athletes committ crimes but it’s made to be some kind of epidemic?

    So a grown ass man who has presidential candidates and other luminaries routinely on his show says nappy headed ho’s because rappers do?

    That’s the biggest cop out I’ve ever heard!

    That’s the problem with this society, no one is ACCOUNTABLE for their own actions.

    When I say that I mean Blacks too–let’s be clear here.

    Imagine if TO said something about some lil innocent White girl. Oh my goodness! You know damn well he would be singing soprano before the full statement parted his lips 1695 style.

    It’s very interesting that Ron Artest didn’t get more negative coverage domestic violence than he did for anything else he’s done.

    Excuse me on Pac Man Jones, my point was not to ignore the real victim that was paralyzed. What I’m saying is that his ridiculous actions should not supercede the good that most Black athletes do every single day.

    I dont’ want this next statement to be taken out of context but I feel that I need to say this.

    In arenas and in the media, Blacks don’t treat Whites with such hatred. That is a fact. I’m not saying all Whites. I hope you understand this.

    I don’t understand why people go to games and scream at people like the players affect their lives in some paramount and ridiculous fashion.

    This isn’t the Roman Coliseum. And they call Blacks churlish..goodness.

    Explain that to me JFunk.

    Look when Blacks misbehave they should hold themselves accountable, but so should EVERYONE else.

    Don Imus is the culprit here, not anyone Black. If someone Black messed up, then feel free to call them out.

    Imus is the focus. Do you understand this?

  21. I’ve been amused by the debate about Imus. Here is my favorite logical fallacy that has been floating around:

    Don Imus is bad… but Sharpton/Jackson/Chapelle/Rappers/etc. are worse! Therefore, Imus isn’t so bad.

    Now that is some logic.

    a quick google search of “tu quoque” would do the world a lot of good.

  22. Exactly Ken. Thanks.

  23. “Imus is the focus. Do you understand this?”

    Everyone has pretty much agreed that he said some stupid shit. Ok???

    Now … you’ve avoided this question about 4 different times:

    “why is it okay for Chapelle to make racial jokes [and for you to laugh at them] but not Imus?”

    Thanks!

  24. “But, why don’t you see bad guy White players ostracized by the mainstream. That’s where the “deflection tactics” come in.”

    Ummm … yes, deflection on your part. If some white player had the rap sheet that Pac Man and Tank Johnson does, then you know you’d be hearing about it in the media. Why don’t you give me an example of a white athlete that has done the same kind of shit that those two guys have done. And to take this out of the sports realm and into Hollywood … how do you think Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and all those hot young white women feel having their picture on the front page of US Weekly and People Magazine and Star and all that other garbage? Same shit.

    “That’s the problem with this society, no one is ACCOUNTABLE for their own actions.

    When I say that I mean Blacks too–let’s be clear here.”

    Thank you.

    “In arenas and in the media, Blacks don’t treat Whites with such hatred. That is a fact. I’m not saying all Whites. I hope you understand this.

    I don’t understand why people go to games and scream at people like the players affect their lives in some paramount and ridiculous fashion.”

    I’m not sure it’s a fact, but I agree with you. Could maybe be that most the athletes are black and most the fans are white? Telling me JJ Reddick didn’t hear it when he was at Duke?

    “Don Imus is the culprit here, not anyone Black. If someone Black messed up, then feel free to call them out.”

    Imus has had his ass called out and dragged through a media firestorm. Seriously, what else do you want? I do find it curious that Al Sharpton of all people — Al Fucking Sharpton!!! — has the balls to demand an apology from anyone. That guy has ruined so many people’s lives it’s incredible. If you think Imus shouldn’t have a radio show, I’m assuming you feel the same way about Rev Al? Just so I know you’re playing fair here ….

  25. JFunk. I didn’t do a critical analysis of MGD’s tripe because, like your recent ridiculous attempt to equate Tim Duncan’t skill set with that of Kobe Bryant, it didn’t really seem to be much worth it.

    But I forget, bitch-slappin you white boys gets ya’ll kinda upset, seems your engrained belief inyourselves as “Masters of the universe,” is dangerously jolted when brotha’s have the temerity to dismiss you out of hand.

    So I sit here debating what’s more delicious, exposing publically, yet again, point by point, not only the lack of contextual fabric of MGD’s so-called argument-and BTW, irony doesnt even begin to describe it’s invocation in your petit essay, or to simply let your stew.

    I think I’ll let you stew.

    Be careful now man, don’t let your blood pressure get so high that you blow an aneurysm.

  26. MGD,

    I can see why you are upset by the apparent double standard.

    However, why is it that when Imus does something bad that the debate MUST also include the actions of Al Sharpton and Pacman Jones as well?

    I have to agree with Mizzo on this one: Right now, Imus is the focus.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure Sharpton will do something one day soon that will merit a discussion about his history of conduct.

  27. On point Ken. The negative forces in Hip Hop and everywhere else will get theirs soon…trust

  28. I don’t think anyone, including Whitlock, is clearing Imus of wrongdoing. He should be (and has been) held accountable for what he’s done. Albeit a slow response, MSNBC removed Imus from his simulcast and hopefully sponsors will continue to drop and WFAN will follow suit.

    Whitlock is trying to get people to focus less on Imus as the ultimate, end-all problem. Imus is one of many “shock jocks” who gets his popularity by speaking his ignorance and bigotry. For every Imus there are many, many others waiting in the wings to overtake his old “throne” on-air (Not to mention the countless others without radio time).

    I would like to see a more open forum where Whitlock would sit down and discuss this issue, almost the same as Sports Reporters (I know he was removed from that along with the other WWL departure) so it can be a discussion and not just accusation after accusation.

    In my opinion, Whitlock is speaking through the medium that will access the most people. He’s speaking a lot to those players who are in the league as teammates to the 2% of trouble-making athletes getting all of the airtime. And he’s especially speaking to — and particularly angry at — the media who chooses to cover that 2% with all their resources. I don’t doubt he’s went to hoods, suburbs and all types of communities to speak his message.

    But his method definitely hasn’t been to lead by explicit example. He’s stepped up as the whistleblower, which as we see in most cases, catches the most heat for the ills of the world they call out. What would be a better method for what Jason is trying to do? Sometimes the bold method is the way to go.

    It goes beyond sports and comes back to the consumer, who constantly watches these news shows where the lead stories consist of more wrongdoing than charity work.

    M – I read and thought the interviews you did with both Jason and Scoop at that time Jason left the WWL were wonderful. Best interviews I typically see on any level, through any medium. Another one following this latest controversy would be great. Has he refused it?

  29. I will ignore your “white boys” comment and get to your point.

    “However, why is it that when Imus does something bad that the debate MUST also include the actions of Al Sharpton and Pacman Jones as well?”

    Imus has gotten his. Come on, you really think he hasn’t been the “focus” here? Seriously. You have to be pretty intellectually dishonest to think Imus hasn’t been front and center of this whole stupid thing.

    Now … there is such a thing as a bigger issue, a greater context, etc., that, curiously, you and Tillery are afraid to address. And that issue is that the kind of shit Imus said — the shit that may cost the man his job, that has made him front page “news” on ESPN, CNN, USA Today, NY Times, etc. — is said all the time by all types of people, i.e., Dave Chappelle, to name one of a thousand. But those other people don’t have to incur the wrath that Imus has had to. Yes, it’s a double standard. My question is: why does it exist?

    And if you want to go even further, it’s really an issue about political correctness. Me, I don’t get easily offended. Michael Irvin, Imus, Richardson, Chappelle, 50 Cent, Steve Lyons, whoever — they say some dumb shit, but it really doesn’t bother me. But I have no double standard — those guys equally do not effect me. Tillery and the people who run this blog DO have a double standard — white people say/do dumb shit, it’s all over this place. Black people? Hmmm … they’re awfully quick to defend them. It’s as if they are truly incapable of criticizing their own race. I am eagerly awaiting their post on the Duke Lacrosse boys.

    Now, if you want to continue with all your “white boy” “bitch-slappin” talk, the fine. Really, I’m not sure what the level of intelligence this blog aims to achieve in its comments.

  30. He hasn’t gotten back to me. I’ve tried to get him to do a radio spot with me on Chuck D’s show, but he never replied. This is the fire that he needs to be in to make his voice universally credible.

  31. Yo Poet, where the hell are you?

  32. On the national stage he gets more views, reaches more ears and eyes. You can’t say you wouldn’t love to have his platform though.

    I don’t think he’s misusing it, though. How easy do you think it is to tout the “down with racial hate” flag in a media run by white folks who tend to say that racial inequality is practically nonexistant, when we all know for a fact it isn’t even close. Steps have been made, but progress is slow and arduous.

  33. Why wouldn’t he do a show with me then. If he speaks real, then I’ll respect him.

    “Steps have been made, but progress is slow and arduous.”

    So true. That’s part of the reason why The Starting Five was created.

    We will make a difference! Watch…

  34. M, I respect you and your goal to the fullest. I can’t say I agree with 100% of what’s said, but I love that this is a forum to keep the discussion open so we can make progress.

    I hope he does agree to another interview here. But with that last article where he’s labeled “Mr. Chitlins” I’d be completely surprised he’d agree to it.

  35. Civilized dissent is what everyone, including S-5, should focus on. But then again, these issues dealing with race always know how to strike a nerve after so much history…

  36. Jason has to understand that he is a polarizing figure….a shock writer, if you will.

    He initially was a role model of mine. I will be a man and honestly say this, but the Black KKK, true Hip Hop he can’t cop, sometimey journalistic slop he writes is a huge obstacle in cultivating minority voices in journalism.

    He needs to speak to the people, not the disparate.

    Before The Starting Five originated, I sent out numerous requests. This is a totally different forum than Blacksportsnetwork.com. He should understand this.

    I appreciate your candor. This is what it’s all about. Thanks.

  37. KevDog,

    “JFunk. I didn’t do a critical analysis of MGD’s tripe because, like your recent ridiculous attempt to equate Tim Duncan’t skill set with that of Kobe Bryant, it didn’t really seem to be much worth it.”

    Uh, considering MGD and I are actually asking questions and trying to understand a different viewpoint in the context of this discussion, I’m hard pressed to understand how you don’t think there would be much worth in it. What exactly is the point of this blog?

    “But I forget, bitch-slappin you white boys gets ya’ll kinda upset, seems your engrained belief inyourselves as “Masters of the universe,” is dangerously jolted when brotha’s have the temerity to dismiss you out of hand.”

    Oh no, I guess I don’t really appreciate it when your response to genuine questions is “idiot.” Gee, that’s really silly of me isn’t it? Oh, and I’m not white…but then I guess that wouldn’t fit your particular stereotype of people who disagree with you (and no, I’m not black either! Is your brain going to explode?).

    “So I sit here debating what’s more delicious, exposing publically, yet again, point by point, not only the lack of contextual fabric of MGD’s so-called argument-and BTW, irony doesnt even begin to describe it’s invocation in your petit essay, or to simply let your stew.”

    Let me stew all you want. Somebody ELSE decided to go ahead and address the issue in a manner that actually makes some sense. I guess it was just a waste of time if an Ivy league professor felt the need to weigh in on it:

    http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/hoyas-hos-and-gangstas/

    I guess the conclusion is that you’re just willing to troll around acting like a jerk until someone else writes your point out for you. But hey, thanks for that whole jerk thing…good work!

    Mizzo,

    “Excuse me on Pac Man Jones, my point was not to ignore the real victim that was paralyzed. What I’m saying is that his ridiculous actions should not supercede the good that most Black athletes do every single day.”

    I totally agree with this. I think Dwil pointed out the Notre Dame student earlier this year who was kicked off the team for mary jane. A highly ranked team, the starting point guard, and pretty much jack shit from ESPN (I guess I don’t need to mention he’s white). I think we need a forum where people can celebrate the positives that 98% of atheletes (white and black) do. Maybe ESPN just won’t ever be able to be that place, there are certainly a lot of local features and stories written about athletes in a positive manner.

    “I don’t understand why people go to games and scream at people like the players affect their lives in some paramount and ridiculous fashion.”

    Well, I agree with you on that too.

    “So a grown ass man who has presidential candidates and other luminaries routinely on his show says nappy headed ho’s because rappers do?

    That’s the biggest cop out I’ve ever heard!”

    Nobody (well, at least not me) is trying to excuse Imus’s behavior, instead what I’m trying to say is: Why are you focused on Imus? Is it just because that’s the current scapegoat in the media? Why aren’t you writing articles about Michael Savage or Ludacris? Those guys are saying the same thing as Imus, or in the case of Michael Savage, a LOT worse, and nobody says shit.

    If the ‘Starting Five’ is just going to follow along the coattails of the main-stream media then there’s no point to reading it.

  38. If the ‘Starting Five’ is just going to follow along the coattails of the main-stream media then there’s no point to reading it.

    To each his own…

  39. I’m so bored of Barry Bonds. Seriously. The endless media psychodrama, the utter joylessness, the fact that we HAVE to talk about him just because he’s limping along to Aaron’s record. Barry’s relationship with the media is totally self-sustaining; the media can’t help but report on him, Barry can’t help but act like an ass, and everyone else gets the shaft because of it. I’ve loved watching him play in the past – maybe nobody in the history of the game has had a better swing, better timing, better patience. Even so, it fits in perfectly with Barry’s self-aggrandizing AND self-loathing personality that he felt it necessary to augment his once-in-a-generation talent by taking steroids.

    Gimme Ryan Howard. Gimme Pujols, or Johan Santana, or David Ortiz. Those guys make the sport a pleasure to watch. But let’s leave Barry and his sorry, compromised, half-crippled self alone, can we?

  40. This will be the one time I opine on Mr. Imus and I am doing this to get it out of my system for the one and only time.

    I think the focus is skewered. Instead of focusing on the “nappyheaded” part of his comment, few people are actually talking about the fact that he defamed the character of those women by calling them a slang word for prostitutes. Beside the employment ramifications, if I was one of those women, or all of them, I would file a civil suit on grounds of libel. A court of the people could debate all day on the cultural definition of “nappyheaded”, but the cultural definition of “hos” is unmistakable. If he had called Anna Nicole Smith a “peroxide blond, fake titted, airheaded ho” would he ground to stand on? Perhaps. Because of her sexual history. But I think he libeled the Rutgers basketball team.

    Just my three cents. You heard it here, and here is the only place you’ll hear it.

  41. Thank God Barry did whatever he did to become the incredible baseball player he was from 2000-2005. As a child, I absolutely loved baseball and then the spectacular vision of track and field and basketball athletes took over and it was many years before I was able to appreciate anything baseball had to offer. Then along came Sosa and McGwire to fan the flames and then Barry, with his swagger, his beautiful swing and his arrogant demeanor hitting baseballs a mile whenever the lilly-livered managers and ptichers weren’t afraid to pitch to him.

    I’ve been in public places, gyms, bars, hell, in lobbies of emergency departments when EVERYTHING stopped when Barry came up. Talk about Mighty Casey at the plate! Yeah, he might limp along to Aarons record, and maybe one day A-Rod will pass him. But as far as I’m concerned, there has NEVER, excepting possibly Sandy Koufax pitching the rock, been a more spectacular or compelling sight than Bonds at the plate in those years.

    Jordi-Awesome point.

  42. “But, why don’t you see bad guy White players ostracized by the mainstream.”

    Pete Rose? The 1919 Black Sox? Bill Romanowski?

    I’m not here to defend Imus or his statements. Far from it, in fact. The guy’s an unparalleled asshat, as are those that allow him to spew his vindictive crap on the airwaves. But there is a double-standard and it resides on both sides of the color spectrum. African-Americans can call each other “N”-bombs all day long with no repercussion. But if a white guy does it, he’s splashed across every major news outlet and defaced to the point of being fired, as well he should be.

    But why is this case not the same when Chappelle/Chris Rock/50 Cent/et.al do it?

    And I agree with Mcbias. Jemele Hill infuriates me because I really like a lot of her stuff over at Page 2. But then there’s the occasional column that drives me bananas. Either way, great interview.

  43. JFunk-
    AYo, what’s up!

    Unfortunately, McCann is a bit too effusive and pie-in-the-sky in his “people like Georgetown, now” feelings. It was interesting that, in Georgetown hoops’ first “glory moment” since AI’s days, that the NYT published an article questioning one of the JTIII’s ex-players’ enrollment into the school. Ironically, this was two weeks after I posted a column about the Hoyas and racism: John Thompson III: “The Deal” at Georgetown which spells out the past and present attitudes toward the Hoyas and how they remain the same.

  44. Tillery – cat got your tongue?

  45. MGD Dwil and I are interviewing Scoop as I type. I’ll be back, relax ;)

  46. Two points here:

    1) Anyone thinking that the media is responsible for Bonds’ douche-ness needs to read Jeff Pearlman’s book, Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Makings of an Anti-hero. This is a guy who was VOTED OFF his college team by his TEAMMATES even though he was by far their best player and represented their best hopes to win the NCAA title.

    2) The reason the attention is being “deflected” from Imus is because people like Sharpton are HEAVILY involving themselves in this debate. Once Sharpton goes on every media outlet available, stumping for Imus to be fired, he’s inviting attention. Since he’s up in arms now, why didn’t he do this any other time a Hot 97 or Power 105 DJ dropped an n-bomb while describing someone in negative fashion.

    Gwen Ifill, a former NY Times reporter Imus once derisively called a “cleaning lady” points out in an op-ed piece that Imus’ joke “failed one big test: it was not funny.” Her ultimate response is this: ignore him. Taking away an audience is the worst thing one can do to a shock jock. So she does, while personally striving to have the strongest, most beneficial voice she can.

  47. Ben, I would never tell anyone to stand down when offended.

    Where’s your conviction?

    As far as Bonds, deal with the facts that his father was torn a new one by the media and obviously had an affect on not only his life, but his career. Also, are you speaking of the Hawaii trip Arizona State was on when there was a team vote? Get back to me and then we can talk.

    I’ll stand by my words concerning Sharpton. Is the action at fault here or the reaction?

  48. Hershey of all the Blacks that have been ostracized you bring up three examples that span almost a century?

    Get real.

  49. [...] Interview with ESPN Columnist, Jemele Hill, Part 1 [image]Jemele Hill is the only Black female journalist currently writing for a major outlet. It’s very important […] [...]

  50. There are so many issues I’d like to respond to in this thread but fear I might end up writing an unreadable tome. Instead, this is to respond specifically to one comment with some information.

    JFunk wrote:

    MGD asks: “why is it okay for him [Chapelle] to make racial jokes but not Imus?”

    I have yet to see anyone even tangentially address this.

    I’ll directly address it. More to the point, let’s have Dave Chapelle address it.

    He was on Oprah Winfrey a year or so ago, discussing why he quit his show and walked away from a $50M payday. (By the way, this is why you want chicks here. Who else is gonna watch Oprah for you?)

    Here’s the summary of what he said which I am pasting in here verbatim from her website:

    During his third season, Dave began questioning his work on the show. From the very first episode, Dave’s sketches sparked controversy. But, over time, he says some of his sketches started to make him feel “socially irresponsible.”

    One particular sketch still disturbs Dave today. The skit was about a pixie (played by Dave) who appeared in black face, which Dave describes as the “visual personification of the “N” word.”

    “There was a good-spirited intention behind it,” Dave says. “So then when I’m on the set, and we’re finally taping the sketch, somebody on the set [who] was white laughed in such a way—I know the difference of people laughing with me and people laughing at me—and it was the first time I had ever gotten a laugh that I was uncomfortable with. Not just uncomfortable, but like, should I fire this person?”

    After this incident, Dave began thinking about the message he was sending to millions of viewers. Dave says some people understood exactly what he was trying to say with his racially charged comedy…while others got the wrong idea.

    “That concerned me,” he says. “I don’t want black people to be disappointed in me for putting that [message] out there. … It’s a complete moral dilemma.”

    [http://www.oprah.com/tows/slide/200602/20060203/slide_20060203_284_105.jhtml]

    I recall Chapelle went on to say that he walked away because he didn’t want to be a person who, however inadvertantly, perpetuated racial stereotypes. Further, it bothered him that racists might use his sketches as an excuse for their biases, that it was “okay” to feel that way.

    Thought that might be of some interest.

  51. Dwil…

    Glad to hear your thoughts, and I read your piece on the ‘new-old’ Georgetown (and everything else you’ve written that doesn’t involve tennis). Good read.

    Panger

    Thank you and that’s a fascinating article.

    Mizzo,

    TSF has a noble goal, and I’m sure you’ll ignore the occasional irritable idiot (like me). Ever since I started reading Dwil I don’t think the same way. I’m glad he’s turned me on to the whole crew here.

  52. Thanks J..I hope we all give you something to enjoy. I appreciate your words.

  53. Thanks Panger

  54. My point wasn’t to stand down when offended – it’s that Ifill considered the source, and chose to disregard the comment, responding by not appearing on Imus. She’s in the midst of quite a successful career – what could be better revenge?

    Yes, Imus is an idiot for making that crack, especially because he’s an idiot with an audience. But it’s because, to me, he failed three times – once, by taking the easy out with a cheap joke about the attractiveness of the two teams, twice because said joke was not funny and thirdly because he never acknowledged Rutgers’ success, the latter of which was the focus of the team’s own statement. And when people like Jesse Jackson – captain of Team Let’s-railroad-the-Duke-lacrosse-players – are up there all over this on every media outlet, a double standard becomes evident. Maybe that’s a media problem, because with a large majority of white journalists, issues like blacks using said language is internalized to their own communities. There’s a lot going on here.

    No, I haven’t listened to Imus regularly ever. No, I don’t think racism is cool. I think it sucks. But sometimes I think people forget we’re only 50 years past the Civil Rights Acts being passed. This generation is the first one to grow up thinking black culture is “cool” on the mass market level. Hip hop permeates every ’80s baby’s life. People like Imus – and his audience are being phased out.

    Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think any non-ignorant person who heard Imus first-hand dismissed the comments. You shake your head and think, “Ah boy, what an asshat.” And you move on. The ignorant racists who agree with him, they agreed. Anyone who’s got any kind of “conviction” isn’t going to be swayed by one random comment. Imus calling the Rutgers basketball team by the terms he did demeans their accomplishments and proves he’s got no filter between brain and mouth. I find assuming people to be unable to process on their own to be much more offensive.

  55. This is about Imus, but also the large segment of people that he represent.

    “I find assuming people to be unable to process on their own to be much more offensive.”

    What the hell does this mean? I’ll let you explain this one.

  56. [...] 13th, 2007 by mcclaud With a female black journalist about her job and life. This is the kind of stuff I love to [...]

  57. What I meant was that for this comment – and not any of the long list of others Imus has made on racial or cultural topics – to be the one that gets Imus fired, seems to have at its heart a lack of faith in people’s abilities to discern between journalism and shock-jock “entertainment.” I stand by my belief that most people listening to Imus take him with a grain of salt. Having found him distasteful in my brief experience, I chose not to listen at all.

    Imus apologized on-air pretty quickly and, after that, the situation should have been between him and the Rutgers team – something along the lines of the sitdown that just occurred. Someone at CBS Radio should have held him accountable for that much. The appropriate media coverage would have been to find out the reaction of the Rutgers team, and then go back to Imus to see how he planned to respond. Barring Imus offering inflammatory or uncaring response showing a lack of remorse THEN, there should have been no pomp and circumstance and no extra attention given to a guy that an overwhelming number of people in this country don’t seem to have a taste for anyway. All this hoopla is going to do is serve to earn Imus a fat contract on satellite radio, where his ratings will be huge for the first airing.

  58. With the impending merger between Sirius and XM, their realization that they overpaid for Howard Stern and others, it’s unlikely that Imus will be getting a fat contract on satellite radio any time soon.

  59. eclarkso Says:

    Ben, I would never tell anyone to stand down when offended.

    Where’s your conviction?

    Isn’t this a non sequitur? Standing down in face of offense (call it turning the other cheek), while not your recommendation, has quite a long (and arguably successful) history of practice.

    In fact, I’d argue that it takes more conviction to ignore a slight than to respond to it.

  60. Eclarkso, you make an admirable point. I would say it depends on the context.

  61. Just wanted to say thank you to TSF. I came here from an old TBL link to dwil’s blog. Although I do not agree with some of the things here, I have learned so much just from reading a few articles, and of course the very insightful comments (mostly).

    I hope you guys can keep the thought provoking material coming. I read this blog, and it constantly forces me to rethink my views and opinions on sports and society. I would love to use this in a classroom, but of course some of the language will probably prevent me from doing so, but it has given me ideas for classroom discussions (Social Studies teacher).

    Again, thank you and keep up the good work.

  62. Joe, no thank you. Send me an email..Mike@MichaelTillery.com so we can chat. Our sole purpose of TSF is to make an unique impact on the field. Thanks for recognizing. Keep coming back.

  63. Sorry for the glitched link. Mike@MichaelTillery.com

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