A Dwight Schrute cosplayer named Colin Cowherd said some really dumb things about Dominicans on ESPN Radio Thursday. Besides being wrong in several particulars, Cowherd’s musings were insulting and racist. On Friday, Cowherd addressed the rant during his show. Rather than apologizing or satisfyingly explaining his point, he blamed Deadspin for taking his words out of context. (They didn’t sound any better with additional context.) Later on Friday, ESPN announced that Cowherd had effectively been fired:
At first this looks like a brave stand by ESPN, sending a strong message that the four-letter-network won’t pay for and promote ignorant, hateful speech.
The problem here is that according to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, Cowherd’s final day with the network was actually supposed to be this coming Friday, meaning that all ESPN is doing is letting him go a week early. Later this fall, Cowherd is decamping from ESPN for Fox Sports; according to Variety, ESPN fought hard to reach a new contract agreement with him, including offering him a raise on top of his multimillion dollar salary.
Cowherd has been spewing dogshit for years, and, as far as I can tell, he has never been suspended before. (ESPN PR doesn’t think he’s ever been suspended, either.) As soon as he spurns them for another network, though, they suddenly discover the ethics and drop him over what isn’t even close to the worst thing he has ever said. ESPN didn’t suddenly display a moral backbone here; they just saw an opportunity for good publicity.
As a reminder of what ESPN was willing to put up with right up to the point where Cowherd spurned them for a competitor, here are some of the terrible things Cowherd has said about race on ESPN airwaves over the years. If there are any I missed, please let me know in the comments.
Colin blames Sean Taylor for being murdered, even though he admittedly had no idea what he was talking about
Sean Taylor, great player has a history of really really bad judgment, really really bad judgment. Cops, assault, spitting, DUI. I’m supposed to believe his judgment got significantly better in two years, from horrible to fantastic? “But Colin, he cleaned up his act.” Well yeah, just because you clean the rug doesn’t mean you got everything out. Sometimes you’ve got stains, stuff so deep it never ever leaves.
My gut feeling with this story, and we said yesterday, yesterday was not really a day to go out, yesterday was sort of a day, you know, grieving, but we’re past the memorial part. It’s grown-up time, ask yourself realistic questions....Just because somebody cleans the rugs doesn’t mean there aren’t stains. No matter what those commercials, OxiClean, tell you on cable TV, some stains you can’t get out. And if you have bad judgment for 23 years of your life, even if you clean it up, your judgment doesn’t get great over night.
No, all the information’s not in [on whether Taylor’s murder was random]. But I feel pretty confident that my gut feeling, like any of yours, by the way, is right and was right.
Colin questions John Wall’s character and intelligence because he did the Dougie, and says he’s not a leader
Much like I called out Greg Oden, I’m gonna call out John Wall ... Before the game started, he spent 34 seconds doing the Dougie. That tells me all I need to know about J-Wow. Then he opened his mouth later and confirmed it: not a sharp guy. All about him. In that line last night, that 29-point line, when he was out of control, he had 8 turnovers. By the way, Rajon Rondo had 17 assists last night, 0 turnovers. Rajon’s got rings, Wall will never have one.
Oh, I’m gonna get a lot of callers — Colin, he’s just having fun. What he did last night, Rondo never would, Isiah never would, J. Kidd never would, Stockton never would, Nash never would, Magic never would. Point guard is like the quarterback. it’s an IQ-judgment position. The great ones are not about themselves. They’re about the others. Leadership is IQ, it’s not skills.
J Wow’s 37-second Yo dawg look at me I’m the man [dance], and his wild, out-of-control style, everybody else is buying his stock, and it told me all I need to know. He’s gonna end up on the Iverson, Francis, Starbury [side]: great stats, nine All-Star teams, never play with good smart players and an elite head coach. He’s gonna drive people nuts.
You have an opinion on John Wall. Mine’s not yours. I don’t want him as my longtime future. I do think he is an absolute Allen Iverson-level talent. Let me tell you something I’m a big believer in, when it comes to quarterbacks and point guards. Who’s your dad? Who’s your dad? Because I like confrontational players, I don’t like passive aggressive. Strong families equal strong leaders. Talent? Overrated. Leadership? Underrated. And you can say, “Colin, can you just go out and say anything crazy and people email?” That’s not the point. You wouldn’t email if I were an idiot, because you wouldn’t listen to the show. You listen to the show because I make good points. I simply have a different opinion on John Wall than you do. I like the character of Derek Fisher. I like the rebounding and distribution ability of Rajon Rondo. That’s what I like. That’s what I want from my point guards. You celebrate the assists more than the buckets. I don’t like Derrick Rose, he’d rather score than distribute. That’s not who I want as my point guard. I know he’s great. So don’t confuse “John wall isn’t good.” John Wall is an A+ talent. I don’t think he’s ever going to be an A+, win championships point guard. He was turnover prone in college, he is turnover prone in the NBA. He played a terrible NBA team last night. Watch him against the Celtics … not a terrible team, but not a great team. Watch him against the Celtics, watch him against the Lakers, watch him against the Orlando’s defensively. Watch his numbers. You can like him, and be part of the hype-fest, all I’m saying is don’t like the Dougie, don’t think smart guys do that, not my cup of tea, not my kind of leader, I like distributors not scorers. That’s my opinion, and maybe I’m wrong.
Colin thinks Roger Goodell is a good disciplinarian, and a father to black football players
But the dirty part of the narrative, as Doyel points out, is “oh, black players are getting harsher sentences.” Here’s something that’s interesting if you look at basic metrics or numbers in this country. Seventy-one percent of African-American men, no dad at home. No disciplinarian. Fathers are often the louder voice, the disciplinarian. Many of those kids don’t grow up with a dad, raised by moms, sister, aunt, nieces, uncles, whatever. They go to college where they’re stars, and basically even their college coaches, as we saw with Ohio State, pretty much let the stars run the program.
The NFL is one of the first places where many star places finally see discipline. Finally have an authoritative male figure [that says] “Buck stops here, I will make all the calls, you will not get an opinion.” It doesn’t happen in high school football. It doesn’t even happen for stars in major college football. If you look at basic numbers ... It’s amazing to me, Greg Doyel points this out, how often there’s a sense among NFL players that Goodell is racist. He let Vick back in. Into the league, after a felony! For the record, Donte Stallworth, vehicular homicide, let back into the league, quickly!
Colin abuses statistics to make a nonsensical argument about black players and Ray McDonald’s arrest
Now it should be noted, in a league where about 70% of the players are black, they were arrested nearly ten times as often as white players. Some say that’s profiling, others say, according to statistics, there is a disproportionate rate of poverty and single parent backgrounds in the black culture. I am reading that from a study. Are you comfortable talking about this? Oh, you’re not. So let’s let Ray McDonald, this thing start. Keep going. Are you com-for-ta-ble talking about that stuff? Because people aren’t comfortable being uncomfortable. Because if we now say, “let’s get really harsh on arrests,” I’ve got the numbers here. Are you comfortable? I’m going to read the last 20 guys arrested. Rodney. Antwon. Ahmad. D’Qwell. LeTroy. Are we comfortable denying minorities jobs in America? A lot of people aren’t. This is a real issue. Even now. “Oh Colin, don’t talk about this.” This is what we have in society. WE just treat the symptoms. We have no interest eliminating the cause. We have no interest taking hard line stances. We don’t. We’re not interested. In medicine, athletics, sports. But this is going to be an issue. If we decide today, one-and-done, we are disproportionately going to affect, oftentimes, I’m looking at the numbers here, African American players. Are we going to be comfortable with that? Because you better be ready to tackle that issue, denying minorities in America, jobs.
Colin likes Oregon because of all the white people
How about wonderful people, mostly white, that drink lots of beer and wine. Don’t screw with Oregon
Great people. NBA team. Seahawks up the road. Unbelievable wine. The coast. Oregon’s like a four-seed—Oregon’s really nice.
Colin thinks baseball is simple because Dominicans play it
I mean, the Marlins put a general manager in their dugout. People freaked out. You know, like, “Whoa!” It’s baseball. You don’t think a general manager can manage? Like it’s impossible? The game is too complex? Like, I’ve never bought into that. “Baseball’s too complex.” Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is not been known, in my lifetime, as having, you know, world-class academic abilities. I mean, a lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds, and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball’s like any sport. It’s mostly instincts.
Colin Cowherd’s warped takes and improper use of statistics aren’t just limited to race-based spewings, of course. He’s also said dumb shit about concussions; said women can’t survive in business because they can’t compartmentalize; threatened to quit if ESPN2 started running e-sports; blamed people living in the Midwest for being unemployed; vocally ogled Kate Upton; initiated a DNS attack against The Big Lead; and stolen material from a University of Michigan blog. Yet it wasn’t until he had already turned down a new contract offer that ESPN decided his speech was objectionable.
I’m not buying it.