True Hoop takes on something that we've been kind of eager to sink our teeth into anyway this morning: Scoop Jackson's "Year In Review" column on ESPN Page 2. Jackson has always confused us a bit; his position as Black Columnist at ESPN has, in our opinion, allowed him to get away with continued shoddy research, blatant blanket statements made only to have an effect and, worst of all, the influence he has had on White House crony Paul Wolfowitz. It's like there's a good Scoop and a bad Scoop: The good one gives us well-thought-out columns like his take on the Eddy Curry situation earlier this year; the bad one somehow tries to convince us that the reason Dusty Baker is under fire in Chicago is not because he insists on putting Corey Patterson and Neifi Perez at the top of the order; it's because of a "lynch mob."
We think the problem might be mostly an economy of language. Scoop has a tendency to toss out incendiary language that's even stronger than he probably really believes; we wonder if his editors are tip-toeing around him. A good example can be found in the end-of-year piece. Earlier this year, ESPN's Jason Whitlock wrote a column that, gently, pointed out that Notre Dame's treatment of Charlie Weis might have been a wee bit different than its treatment of Tyrone Willingham. The conceit was arguable, but certainly worthy of consideration, and definitely reasonable. When Scoop tackles the same issue? "Their actions are racist to the core." See what we mean? Reasonable concept that Scoop ends up blatantly overstating the case for. And Scoop, honestly: No one, white or black, is watching "Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith." To call the show "bigger than ESPN," well, jeez, that's just plum crazy. Perhaps he meant "bigger than ESPNews." (During a power outage.)