AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email to let him know what you think of him.
With the latest "controversy" over his comments regarding Gene Upshaw, Bryant Gumbel has once again garnered some unwanted attention. However, as any watcher of "Real Sports" knows, his sanctimonious wrap-up monologues have always bordered on being patently offensive to somebody.
After the whole "I'm not watching these stupid white people ski" (I'm paraphrasing, of course) just before this year's Winter Olympics and the latest black-man-on-a-leash tirade, it's pretty obvious that Gumbel's button-pushing is getting more and more edgy — yet, still eloquent.
So, I'll channel my inner banana-in-a-tailpipe voice for a conversation with my Uncle Tom and place odds on the next Gumbel wrap-up topic that'll piss people off. Marginalize with me, after this jump.
*Author's Note: Gumbel impersonation needed for full appreciation of this piece.
Asian Athletes in American Sports: 4/1
"Yes, of course, sports has been the ultimate melting pot for many years. First it was Europeans, but now Asians are slowly infiltrating every American sport with a new style of dominance. Soon we'll see Asian football players unveiling 'kamikaze' receiving routes, or a more elegant hockey defense that forgoes traditional checking and instead integrates kung fu take-out moves. This might be great for our games, but we should be wary of how much influence we let them have; pretty soon we'll be serving Kirin at Yankee Stadium and our national anthem will be accented by the dulcet sounds of a banging gong."
Black NBA General Managers: 2/1
"It's a shame that great black players cannot make the transfer to GM. Although more blacks in power is a step in the right direction, as we've seen with the failings of Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas, we still have a long way to go when it comes to critical thinking and Economics 101. Sure, athletes like MJ and Isiah can perform rim-rattling dunks and execute graceful passes during crunch time, but until they learn how to stop spending money so recklessly and learn how to do basic math, it does African-Americans a great disservice. We'll still be thought of as second-class businessmen who are just hired to fill a affirmative action quotas or as ringers for our company's pick-up games, unless mandingo players like Jordan and Isaiah can prove otherwise."
Female High School Athletes Playing Men's Sports: 3/1
"Sure, it's great that women have made great strides toward equality when it comes to narrowing the gender gap in high school sports. But we should take a step back for a minute and think about what kind of message this does send to young female athletes. Hey, if girls can play, I'd gladly have them as part of my team on any level. But the fact that you're a starting varsity offensive lineman doesn't prevent you from still looking and acting like a woman. I'm happy you can bench press 300lbs — but how you look in a cocktail dress and pair of heels should also be a top priority."
Gay Athletes Outing Themselves: 1/1
"When Cheryl Swoopes came out last year, it caused a minor stir in the athletic community. There was nary a collective gasp, due to the overriding stereotype that WNBA players have been attending Lilith Fair concerts for years. But it's a slippery slope: As inspiring and brave as it might be for athlete's to go public with their homosexuality, the only thing it could result in is future generations of rug munchers and pole smokers diluting team unity which becomes more and more tenuous in sports every year. Of course there is no 'I' in team, but ,obviously, there is a "MEAT."
New Orleans Sports Fans: 1/3
"I'm happy that the city of New Orleans sports fans are finally returning to normal activities. However, they should remember that in the year since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, there has still been little progress made. When you attend a Saints or Hornets game this year — look at the faces in the crowd. You won't see many 9th Ward survivors, but the same lily-white businessmen who were the first out of the city the day the rains came. No, those people who suffered the most are still floating around in a pup tent through a poop-filled river scavenging for lost belongings. I think it's the duty of all sports organizations to ensure that at every home game, there's a section devoted to the real New Orleans, and not just the well-to-do rednecks that were merely inconvenienced by Katrina's vengeful wrath."