Scoop Jackson has once again sparked the ire of, oh, lots of people with this latest ESPN2 column about the Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton. In it, Jackson praises Upton as the one MLB player who can "bring the game back to the hood" while using some undermining and preposterous logic to substantiate his point. Observe:
The fact that Upton's not perfect makes him perfect. His propensity to be lazy (as witnessed in August when he "decided" not to run hard on three different occasions), the fact that Maddon literally pulled him off the field after not running out a double-play ground ball, the meaningless error in the seventh inning of Game 4 that allowed questions about his lack of focus to surface. All display a flaw in him that almost works to his advantage when kids and wannabe baseball players look at him and say "I'm not perfect either, but look, he's still standing."
Now, granted, Scoop Jackson has clumsily attempted to establish himself as the columnist for a hip-hop generation since he's been at Page 2, and that has resulted in many more confounding and marginally offensive columns then positive ones. One of his biggest detractors has been the Kansas City Star's Jason Whitlock, who implored SOMEONE to stop Scoop. He volunteered his email for publication:
"Would someone please stop Scoop Jackson since the ***** editors at ESPN won't? Got damn, I don't read his **** but when he writes stupid **** like this people e-mail me and ask my opinion. This **** needs to be stopped. Read the dumb mother*****'s column and see how he equates black culture with being lazy and says Upton is going to make folks love baseball again.
Cork Gaines, proprietor of the extremely entertaining Rays Index, had a similar reaction to Scoop's piece:
Could you imagine Scoop Jackson's reaction if Peter Gammons had written that paragraph? Scoop Jackson just said Upton is a role-model to young African-Americans because he is lazy. Why in the world would anybody ever look to this as a positive quality. This is insanity! And it may be borderline sociopathic. Good lord Scoop. We don't mean to yell, but did you eat paint chips when you were a kid? Of all the positive things Upton does on the baseball field that are worthy of emulating, Jackson picks laziness as why inner-city kids will gravitate to the Rays center fielder. Jesus, this pisses us off...and we're white!
Well, as we all know, that's just Scoop being Scoop. Still waiting for a response from Mr. Jackson (or somebody from the ESPN dot com side) about the piece, but that will happen eventually. I think. There's apparently a long line. Scoop Jackson Thinks B.J. Upton Will Be A Role Model To Inner-City Kids Because He Looks Ghetto and Doesn't Hustle [Rays Index] The True Meaning of B.J. Upton [ESPN] Photo: Courtesy of The Starting Five