We have to say, we have much pity for any black ESPN columnist who brings up the notion that life for black people might be a little different than it is for white people and has the cojones to enter a chat room about it. It's becoming a tradition at ESPN.com, actually; whether it was the late Ralph Wiley, Scoop Jackson or, most recently, Jason Whitlock, when you write about race and take questions from ESPN readers about it, you're gonna get hammered.
Yesterday, Whitlock wrote a column for Page 2 that brought up an interesting, if seriously arguable, point: When Tyrone Willingham got off to such a great start at Notre Dame, he still struggled with his job security; when Charlie Weis did the same, they gave him a 10-year contract extension. Certainly a thesis worthy of discussion, at least. But, as always happens when anyone pulls the race card, he's being hammered for it (we've been receiving constant emails about it since he wrote it).
The chat is alternately gruesome and fascinating-in-a-snuff-film type of way. A few highlights:
• "There is no way you actually believe that garbage you wrote and feel that the facts you used actually back up your point? If the latter is true then you are a joke and should be ashamed of yourself. CLOWN!"
• "Is this just a publicity stunt on your part? It seems like no one even knew who you were until you wrote this?"
• "Is the reason you are on Page 2 and not the main page at ESPN is because Page 2 is ESPN's tabloid journalism site with which you fit in perfectly?"
• "What has less calories? a salad or 5 bags of chedder ruffles. You are a racist who should try playing uno instead of the race card all the time."
Somehow, Whitlock hangs in through all of this. We're not sure we would have handled it as well. This is why chat rooms terrify us ... even moderated ones.