I swear that headline up there is not the result of late night Mad Libs. Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson was on Fox News with conservative shithead Laura Ingraham Monday to discuss a recent article by Jemele Hill. It became clear almost immediately that Watson was expected to share Ingraham’s sneering contempt for Hill’s argument, and when he did not, Ingraham was reduced to blurting out middle-school-grade retorts and awkwardly shuffling Watson off camera. It ruled.
Hill made the case very persuasively for the October edition of The Atlantic that top black recruits should attend and play for historically black colleges and universities, as a way of investing the value of their athletic exploits in institutions that “play an important role in the creation and propagation of a black professional class.” Her case is built on the monetary windfall reaped from athletics by overwhelmingly white schools in the Power Five conferences, largely via the work of black male athletes, and is backed up by eye-popping statistics:
About 30 Division I schools each bring in at least $100 million in athletic revenue every year. Almost all of these schools are majority white—in fact, black men make up only 2.4 percent of the total undergraduate population of the 65 schools in the so-called Power Five athletic conferences. Yet black men make up 55 percent of the football players in those conferences, and 56 percent of basketball players.
Despite constituting only 3 percent of four-year colleges in the country, HBCUs have produced 80 percent of the black judges, 50 percent of the black lawyers, 50 percent of the black doctors, 40 percent of the black engineers, 40 percent of the black members of Congress, and 13 percent of the black CEOs in America today. (They have also produced this election cycle’s only black female candidate for the U.S. presidency: Kamala Harris is a 1986 graduate of Howard University.)
You should read the whole thing. As you might expect, a thoughtful argument in favor of HBCUs reaping a greater share of the billions of dollars of revenue generated by black athletes has once again put Hill afoul of our country’s sleaziest bad-faith media operators. Ingraham, a vocal opponent of the very concept of diversity, suddenly finds herself offended by the notion of black athletes turning down largely white schools and enrolling at HBCUs. In order to lend this new offense the thinnest greasy sheen of credibility, Ingraham invited Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson onto her show Monday night, presumably so that he could speak authoritatively about college athletics from the perspective of a black athlete. It’s clear from how this went down that the very last thing in the world Ingraham expected was for Watson to enthusiastically agree with Hill’s position, backed by statistics of his own:
Ingraham’s desperate refuge is a half-assed remark about “re-segregating the country,” but even that failed to get past Watson, who was in the process of patiently explaining to her how racial segregation is a systemic separation that in United States history was mandated by the government when Ingraham rolled her eyes, shouted him down, and hastily closed the segment. Amazing how she was curious about what a black person had to say on the matter right up until the black person had an opinion different from her own.