AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
God bless Michael Irvin. The enigmatic former wideout's latest comments on Dan Patrick's radio show about Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo were just mindblowing. Alluding that Romo's scampering ability was the result of his great grandmother having sex with a slave? Brilliant.
Irvin, of course, apologized for his comments, saying he was just brining "a little bit of the locker room talk" to his interview and that this is how he talks to Romo when they play basketball together. Fantastic save! But the best blowback from the whole incident so far was ESPN's lilly-white ombudsman George Solomon being forced to, er, ombud the situation in his most recent column.
In a discussion of Romo's athletic ability, Irvin, a former Cowboys wide receiver and a regular on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, said the quarterback's skills would have had to come from African-American heritage. Romo is white. Irvin told Michael McCarthy of USA Today he was "joking" when suggesting that Romo's distant grandmother "must have pulled a brother out the barn and got down to business" to produce an athlete of Romo's ability.
I'm surprised his whole column wasn't done in smart quotes. You can practically smell the wincing. Solomon loosely compares the incident to Jimmy The Greek's famous racial no-no 20 years ago and goes on to say that Irvin's apology wasn't sufficient. He half-heartedly suggests that The Leader should have punished Irvin a little more if it wants to maintain some kind of ethical standard for all of its commentators. Because, you know, 50 years ago Irvin would've been hanging upside down with a fucking fork up his ass for saying things like that. At least that's what I heard.
But Irvin's remarks got me thinking about the racial make up of the NFL and who else in the league could share Tony Romo's remarkable slow-twitch fibre muscles. Not so many, it turns out. But there are a few.
So for this column, I'm putting on my FUBU sweatshirt, popping in 3rd Bass's "The Cactus Album" and I'm placing odds on the other white NFL players that could be accused of having sexually promiscuous great grandparents who possibly liked to have Mandingo-like humping in the back of a barn.
Flex your over-developed calves with me, and jump.
Matt Jones: 3/1
Every time the guy takes off his helmet, he's obviously white. He looks more like the lead singer of Nickelback than a wide receiver. But there's something sneakily graceful about him, like that Savion Glover guy that always tap dances all the movie soundtracks at the Academy Awards ceremonies. Plus, Matt Jones was a quarterback in college at Arkansas, played basketball and was given the vague "athlete" tag when he went through the NFL combine. You know what that means: He performs poorly on standardized tests.
Scott Fujita: 4/1
Fujita was put up for adoption at birth and stated he has "no idea who his real parents are." Obviously Fujita's athletic ability didn't come from his adoptive parents, who are Japanese, and raised him in ninja-like seclusion. And he's much too quick for a linebacker to be 100 percent caucasian — there isn't a white linebacker in the league who can handle the screen pass or outside running plays any better.
Dan Koppen: 3/1
Here's a fella born in Iowa that obviously hasn't missed a big country meal in a while. And at first glance, one wouldn't think that Koppen could possibly have any traces of African ancestry. But don't' be fooled: This is a man who came in second place in 2005's NFL Bigman Dance Competition. If Koppen lost 150 pounds, he'd be Usher.
Joe Andruzzi: EVEN
He's wide, he's burly, but he's an Italian raised in Brooklyn. If you trace Andruzzi's northern Italian roots you'll remember way back then, uh, Sicilians were like, uh, wops from Northern Italy. Ah, they all had blonde hair and blue eyes, but, uh, well, then the Moors moved in there, and uh, well, they changed the whole country. They did so much fuckin' with Sicilian women, huh? That they changed the whole bloodline forever. That's why blonde hair and blue eyes became black hair and dark skin. Tell me I'm lying? Joe Andruzzi is part eggplant.