Keith Olbermann, aging smear merchant, attacks class act Yankee because he’s the anti-Jeter

Keith Olbermann JeterOn Thursday night future Hall of Fame Yankee Derek Jeter played his last game in Yankee Stadium, and he delivered the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. He went out a hero, and then handled himself with class — something he has always done — which is why aging smear merchant Keith Olbermann recently directed a seven-minute ESPN-flavored version of his “Worst Person in the World” routine at the shortstop.

Here is an excerpt:

“For all we know, Jeter will sprout wings and be taken up to Mount Olympus to play shortstop  in the Big League in the sky. […]  How many times did Derek Jeter lead the American league in any offensive production category? The answer is three. Twice in hits, once in runs scored. No batting championships. No stolen base titles. No leading the league in doubles. Well, how many times did Jeter lead the Yankees in any offensive production categories? We’ll give you the big eight: doubles, homers, RBIs, stolen bases, batting average, on base, slugging, OPS — 17 times.

Over 19 season, 152 guys led the Yankees … it was Jeter only 17 times. […] How many MVP awards did he win? None.

Congratulations to Keith Olbermann — he was able to go through a guy’s 19-year career on one of the most successful franchises in baseball history and find a slew of statistics to slime him with as he exits the league. In telling fashion, Mr. Olbermann went out of his way to ignore Jeter’s character, his leadership on and off the field, and his statistics as seen through the prism of an era forever tarnished with steroid use.

Sports Illustrated clears a few things up for Mr. Olbermann:

From 1996 to 2009, Jeter hit .318 with a .388 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage and averaged 152 games a year at shortstop, one of the most physically demanding positions on the field. Other players could play at that level for a month or two, or even a year or two. Very few could do it for that long.

And if you view Jeter in the context of his era, you can appreciate that he was a special player. For a long stretch of his career, baseball did not test for performance-enhancing drugs. It’s pretty obvious that some of the players who out-performed Jeter were juicing. We don’t know for sure that Jeter refrained from using steroids, but there has never been a hint that he used them. It’s fair to imagine that, if baseball had tested for PEDs for Jeter’s entire career, his numbers would look even better than they do, relative to his peers. …

Ripken is the best comparison for Jeter — not just because they played the same position (though Ripken moved to third base late in his career), but also because they are admired for reasons that go beyond their stats. Ripken’s numbers (.276/.340/.447) were not the best of his generation. You could reasonably argue they are not as impressive as Jeter’s (.310/.377/.440). But Ripken was a Baltimore icon, had his amazing Iron Man streak and won a championship with the Orioles. If he were asked to throw out a first pitch in Baltimore in the upcoming playoffs, you would expect a thunderous standing ovation. Baltimoreans are willing to overlook his flaws and his down years, because he is theirs.

Jeter was a consistently terrific player, he was extremely durable, he almost always represented his franchise well and he played for five championship teams. He also apparently didn’t use PEDs at a time when so many players did. That helps explain why he is beloved, and why so many people have found ways to make money off his retirement tour. But don’t let the business distract you from the game. Derek Jeter was a great player.

That is what one calls fair journalism — something Mr. Olbermann has never taken much stock in.

The truth of the matter is that once again a man who spent years perfecting the craft of personal destruction is only running from himself. Keith Olbermann attacks Derek Jeter’s sterling professional career with one team by using Photoshopped angel wings and insults for a very specific reason: everywhere he goes there are burned bridges smoldering in the distance years after his departure. There will be no extended celebrations of Keith Olbermann’s career because, quite frankly, so many people do not like him. He is weirdly-obsessed with statistics because his character and integrity are lacking. Derek Jeter’s leadership skills are ignored because Keith Olbermann is not a leader. Only a man with deep-seated psychological issues would allocate that much air time to bashing Derek Jeter as he closes a marvelous chapter of his life.

Keith Olbermann is the anti-Jeter, and deep down he knows it.

When the NFL became a religion, America created sportscaster priests like Cris Carter, Bob Costas

Cris Carter cryingThe National Football league brings in roughly $10 billion in revenue per year. By 2027, it expects to up that to $25 billion. As USA today reported in February, that would put the NFL on track to haul in more money per year than the domestic gross product of “dozens of small countries.” At some point in time professional football became a weird religion for millions of Americans, and now the rest of us are forced to endure lectures by the High Priests of Sportscasting whenever the athlete-gods expose themselves as mere mortals.

If Americans didn’t idolize the men they watch each Sunday, then the world would not be forced to endure former Vikings receiver Cris Carter throwing his own mother under the bus on national television. In response to Adrian Peterson’s indictment on child abuse charges, Mr. Carter melted down on ESPN.

ABC News reported September 14 (while taking out the exclamation marks):

“My mom did the best job she could do raising seven kids by herself, but there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong,” he said. “It’s the 21st century — my mom was wrong. She did the best she could but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me and I promised my kids I won’t teach that mess to them.”

A healthy culture enjoys the on-field exploits of their favorite player and gleans important lessons from what they bring to the game. A healthy culture admires the drive and dedication it takes to become one of only a handful of individuals in the world who can perform a particular sport at an elite level. An unhealthy culture creates shrines to its teams, hangs on star players’ every word via countless social media accounts, and dedicates more time to fantasy football each fall than actually playing catch with children.

Having to watch Cris Carter cry on national television while Mike Ditka uncomfortably fidgets in his chair is a sign that American culture has derailed. When Keyshawn Johnson looks like Mike Meyers after Kanye West said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a live broadcast, then it is time for football fans to reevaluate the the importance leather balls and the men who carry them hold in their lives.

Hannah Storm emotionalESPN anchor Hannah Storm also gave a Cris Carter-esque sermon to viewers September 14, taking the NFL to task for the way it reacted to Ray Rice cold-cocking his wife in a hotel lobby. It was nice, and perhaps even appropriate, but a society with a working moral compass does not need to witness emotional testimonials from shaken sportscasters.

If things were as they should be, then individuals would realize that the NFL has a lower rate of domestic violence than the general population, silently reaffirm that they will always be their own harshest critic, and then vow not to put up with halftime lectures by guys like Bob Costas on the so-called need for strict gun-control legislation.

Bob Costas GunsWhen I tune in to watch sports, I do not want to hear wide receivers lump in people who occasionally spank their kids with those who leave children black and blue and bloody with a switch. When I want to see how my local team did over the weekend, I do not want to hear announcers go into extended diatribes — no matter how heartfelt they may be — about domestic violence. When I’m watching Monday Night Football, I do not want to listen to a sports pundit imply that millions of Americans are rotten people because they advocate on behalf of rights codified into law by the U.S. Constitution.

If the American people want to do the NFL a long-term favor, then they should turn off the television more often on a Sunday, buy less merchandise, and take their favorite players off the moral pedestals.

Stephen A. Smith pulls out intellectual machine gun, fires back at ‘Uncle Tom’ bomb throwers

Stephen A Smith

For his attempt to try have an adult conversation on race and the dangers of trying to police a man’s private thoughts, Mark Cuban found himself attacked by professional race-baiters and the perpetual victim crowd. That in turn brought out ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who tried to defend him by, interestingly enough, trying to act like an adult. The racial bomb throwers then happily turned their attention towards the First Take host.

What happened next was marvelous. If you haven’t seen Mr. Smith whip out an intellectual machine gun and mow down his would-be character assassins, please do. It’s worth every second. I’ve included the bulk of the text, but it’s really something that needs to be watched.

The ESPN host said May 23:

“’Stephen A. Smith is a sellout,’ ‘Stephen A. Smith is an Uncle Tom,’ ‘Stephen A. Smith ain’t black,’ ‘you ain’t one of us’ — these are the kinds of things that were said to me yesterday. When I say I don’t give a damn … that does it no justice. I stand by everything that I said yesterday tenfold, 100-fold. And I don’t care who in the black community disagrees with me — I’m not interested in their disagreement on this particular issue because they are not looking at the bigger picture here.

Mark Cuban in the same breadth that he talked about walking across the street from a black dude in a hoodie followed that up with talking about the white dead who is bald-headed. … Everybody wants to ignore that. … I don’t want to say everybody because I’m not speaking for everybody. … We want to pounce on him making this statement and alluding to black folks or talking about somebody in a hoodie that happens to be black. … He talked about the prejudices that exist in all spectrums by all of us. Are we going to sit here and literally act like we don’t have any prejudices? Like we don’t feel a certain way about certain people or certain people’s appearances and how it makes us raise our antenna and make you a bit suspicious? Of course it does.” …

So what Mark Cuban said was 100 percent right. It’s just that simple.

But the bigger issue that needs to be discussed — it’s the big elephant in the room and no one wants to touch on it because white folks are scared they’re going to be labeled racist, black folks are scared they’re going to be labeled sellouts. See, I tend to look at things a bit differently.

I look at our unemployment rate consistently being double that of folks in white America. I do understand that to some degree there’s a level of racism we all have to overcome — and I get all of that. But that doesn’t mean every single issue is race-related. Sometimes it is about how you represent yourself. It is how you present yourself. When I alluded to walking around with your pants hanging down your behind — that’s trifling. That’s just trifling! And it’s counterproductive. When I talked about how you’re sitting there and the first words out of your mouth are ‘NawhatImasayin’ … NawhatImean’ — no the hell we don’t! You haven’t said anything yet! That’s a reality.

When I talk about not having a command of the English language — and still you want a job, and you want to have a career — but you don’t want to get your education, you don’t want to go out there and pound that pavement. Everything is about the sprint. It’s not about the marathon. It’s not about you putting forth the necessary effort and due diligence over the long haul to get the things that you need — that’s a reality in our community. … I’m trying to educate you about the minefields that await. The stereotypes and the perceptions that you can’t feed into if you want to move forward in life. …

When we talk about the American dream, you know who I think about? Myself.

Hollis Queens, New York City, left back in the fourth grade, grew up poor, the level of education that I had was a public school system, I ultimately graduate from high school, I go to a historically black institution like Winston-Salem State University, I graduate with honors, there is no journalism program, I still graduate with honors, I still beat out thousands of people to get an internship that ultimately transitioned from a career at the New York Daily News to the Philadelphia Inquirer to CNN and then Fox Sports and ultimately ESPN. And I’m on national TV everyday getting paid pretty well, I might add. …

This is the road you gotta climb. Everybody can’t be Jay-Z. That’s one in a billion. Everybody can’t be Shaq and Kobe. That’s one in a billion. But you can be Stephen A. Smith. Educate yourself. Work hard. Do what you have to do. Pound that pavement. Be about the business and understanding what you have to do to work through the political mine fields that wait for you in every step of our lives. That’s what I’m talking about, and people don’t get that.

Do you see that? Look around and you will see the consciousness carcasses of a million race-baiters taken down in one sitting.

People do not like what Stephen A. Smith has to say on this issue because he speaks the truth, and those who do not wish to hear the truth will scream and yell and writhe in pain to avoid having it sink in.

What struck me most about Mr. Smith’s instructions for success was the importance he placed on viewing life as a marathon instead of a sprint. He couldn’t be more correct. But when a guy like Smith spells out his life history, critics then say things like, “Stephen A. Smith is just full of himself. He just wants an opportunity to brag about how great he is.” Why do I know that? Because when I’ve tried to have similar conversations with people and I pointed out all the things I’ve needed to do to get to where I am today, those are the types of comments I’ve received from the America’s woe-is-me foot soldiers.

When I was in the military, one of my favorite NCO’s was a guy named Sgt. Farrow. He’d say, “What, you think this is Burger King? You want things your way right away?” to certain soldiers. It reminds me of millions of Americans who want their professional life to be as easy as going through the drive-thru window at a burger joint. People have high-speed internet, “Instagram,” instant text messaging, constant Twitter streams and Facebook feeds that flow, flow, flow … and then they try and convince themselves that if their professional goals don’t manifest overnight it’s because some nefarious (probably white) force is out to get them.

One of my favorite recent examples from my own life came when I logged in to Twitter and found out that a guy added me to his list “fast-rising bloggers.” I laughed and thought: “Sure, if you consider four years fast…”

douglasernstblog Twitter lists
I’m a “fast-rising blogger” … if you consider four years fast.

The point is that success typically comes from the slow and steady accumulation of many small victories. At some moment there is a tipping point and all those hopes and dreams manifest — seemingly overnight to the outsider who hasn’t experienced the long hard slog.

I do not always agree with Stephen A. Smith, but on this issue he is on the mark. Some of his more intelligent critics would be wise to take a step back, reevaluate their personal attacks and then take a page out of his book. It’s a blueprint for success.

Kudos, Mr. Smith. You knocked this one out of the ballpark.

RG3 isn’t a ‘cornball brother’ — but Rob Parker is a cornhole loser

When sane people look at Redskins quarterback RG3 on the field their mind turns to his athletic prowess. When ESPN analysts (of all people) look at RG3, they analyze how authentically black (whatever that means) he is. Sad.
When most Americans look at Redskins quarterback RG3 on the field their minds turn to his athletic prowess. When liberal ESPN analysts look at RG3 they analyze how authentically black (whatever that means) he is. Sad. (Image: AP)

When I look at RG3 I see an American. I see a very talented American. And that’s how every other sane American sees him. Unfortunately, we have liberal writers and analysts with megaphones who are race-obsessed losers who can’t seem grasp the fact that men like Robert Griffin III might want to be defined as an individual instead of a color.

On [ESPN’s] First Take show this morning, [Rob] Parker said, “my question, which is just a straight honest question, is [Griffin] a brother, or is he a cornball brother?”

Parker, a columnist at a handful of outlets over the years, has a history of stirring the pot when it comes to race issues in sports. He teeters back and forth between evaluating how “black” Griffin is – “kind of black,” “not really down with the cause” or “not one of us,” but it’s the evidence that prompted his hand wringing that’s so disturbing. “We all know he has a white fiancé. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican, which, there’s no information [about that] at all. I’m just trying to dig deeper as to why he has an issue.”

For Parker, having a white fiancé and potentially being a Republican is “an issue.”

RG3 doesn’t have “an issue” — Rob Parker does. He has the same problem that Al Sharpton and Chris Matthews have, in that they when they think about race they get that same creepy look in their eyes that you’d expect to see from balding overweight slouches who go to strip clubs alone because they have serious emotional problems.

I was talking to a Hispanic friend of mine today who brought the story to my attention and said: “When I was a kid I wanted to be the best student in the class. I wanted to be the best athlete on the team. I didn’t want to be the best Hispanic. I never thought like that!” My reply: “That’s because you’re normal.”

I told my friend that it was hilarious that conservatives have to hear about racist “dog whistles” from men like Rob Parker, when the fact is liberals say outright racist things in front of everyone and nobody blinks. Can you imagine if Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin were talking about a white athlete and said: “He’s not one of us”?  What if they called a black athlete a “cornball brother”? There would be hell to pay. It would make it into 2016 presidential ads. MSNBC heads would melt down on air and reporters would ask RG3 if Rush should be fired. The president would be asked to weigh in, and Bob Costas would make a special announcement about race-relations in the United States on “Sunday Night Football.”

The funny thing about ESPN is that its management always talks about how it doesn’t want to wade into politics, but it seems as though the definition of what is and isn’t permissible on air all depends on what side of the ideological fence you sit. Until conservatives get online and start calling out the media for its double-standards on the latest and most popular social media platforms, jerks like Rob Parker will, more often than not, get away with such nonsense.

What is “the cause,” Rob Parker? The last time I checked, it was supposed to be about creating a world where people are judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. Apparently not. In Rob Parker’s world, having a wife of a different race still raises eyebrows. But yet we’re supposed to believe conservatives are the ones who are looking to recreate the worst aspects of our past? Excuse me while I laugh.

The other night I was talking to my wife and I told her that sometimes I can’t help myself when I’m in a debate and a liberal who knows nothing about my personal life goes to the “you hate women and minorities” schtick. I tell them them that “my wife is going to be really surprised when she finds out.” This led to a discussion about whether or not it was appropriate to use her race as a hidden intellectual switchblade of sorts. My conclusion: Yes. Sparingly.

If lowlifes like Rob Parker out there are going to use RG3’s white fiancee as a litmus test for whether or not someone is “down with the cause,” and if his ideological allies want to accuse conservatives like me of being racist (a charge that is almost impossible to defend against), then I reserve the right to expose their stupidity and bigotry by smacking them over the head with my mixed-race marriage.

Up until this point in his career, RG3 seems to have carried himself with dignity and poise. I firmly believe that he will respond to this current mess with the utmost class, even though Rob Parker is beneath him. Regardless, I will say what RG3 is probably thinking: Rob Parker, we are all dumber for having listened to you. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Defending Brent Musburger: Liberal rags go for gold in 200m race-baiting

Today, Iranians still practice their shot-putting skills by hurling rocks at women. Spike Lee recently used his Twitter feed to spread the New Black Panthers’ message of vigilante justice — until it turned out he got the wrong address and nearly scared an elderly couple to death. And yet, The Nation feels the need to target Brent Musburger. Telling.

If there was a gold medal to be had for the 200 meter race-baiting competition this year, it would be a photo finish between The Nation and Deadspin, both digging in to kick up Brent Musburger quotes from decades ago — the perfect liberal guilt trip of a beloved sportscaster just before the summer Olympics. The Nation was first out of the gates, demanding he “apologize” for comments he made 44 years ago about John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s clench-fisted medal stand protest at the 1968 Games. Too lazy to do their own research, Deadspin drafted the lead runner, piggy-backed off his liberal tripe and then lunged for the tape with a tired cliché (i.e., Musburger belongs to an “old boys club”).

Instead of covering Iranian men who practice their shot-putting skills by stoning women, Dave Zirin spends his time sifting through the sands of time to smear Brent Musburger. Here’s some of what he found:

Smith and Carlos looked like a couple of black-skinned storm troopers, holding aloft their black-gloved hands during the playing of the National Anthem. They sprinkled their symbolism with black track shoes and black scarfs and black power medals. It’s destined to go down as the most unsubtle demonstration in the history of protest.

But you’ve got to give Smith and Carlos credit for one thing. They knew how to deliver whatever it was they were trying to deliver on international television, thus insuring maximum embarrassment for the country that is picking up the tab for their room and board here in Mexico City. One gets a little tired of having the United States run down by athletes who are enjoying themselves at the expense of their country.

The 60’s were a tumultuous time in American history. There was race and war and cultural upheaval, drugs and sex and all sorts of other madness, sprayed with high-powered fire hoses and washed away with hallucinogenic drugs. You had the dueling visions of Martin Luther King (recently assassinated) and Malcolm X fighting for the hearts and minds of black America, itself an extension of the disagreements between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois.

In one corner you have men who sought to work within the system to gain acceptance and respect, and in the other you had (in many ways) a rejection of the system and a predilection for in-your-face confrontation. A large percentage of black culture was decided upon during the 60’s, and the pivot was much more Malcolm X/Du Bois and a lot less Booker T. Washington/Martin Luther King — a conversation The Nation and Deadspin would rather not have because it’s one where they can’t avoid intellectual body blows. It’s much easier to insinuate racism and demand apologies than to have honest, frank discussions on race.

Let’s talk about W.E.B DuBois and Booker T. Washington. Let’s talk about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Or, if we’re The Nation and Deadspin … let’s not. It’s so much easier to play race-baiting games and demand apologies.

The point is, one could make the argument that Musburger erred in referencing Nazi shock troops to describe John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s form of protest, but he should never apologize for believing:

  • An awards ceremony at the Olympic Games is generally the wrong forum to take up a political fight.
  •  A philosophy of in-your-face defiance might actually fan the flames of racial animus instead of extinguishing them.

Perhaps this Olympic Games, two male swimmers will make out on the medal stand in support of gay marriage. Perhaps an Olympic sympathizer with “the 99 percent” will take a massive dump off the high dive. Perhaps a critic of President Obama’s relentless drone attacks on Pakistani tribal areas (that put Bush’s to shame) will crawl into a giant body bag during the national anthem. Who knows. And years from now Tom Cruise will narrate an ESPN awards show moment just for them, and we’ll clap and laugh and pretend it’s all so much more clear cut than it really is.

Or perhaps not, because if every Olympian who had a cause that was near and dear to their heart held a creative protest, things would get really weird, really fast.

Instead of looking exclusively to the past, let us return to 2012 and ask the question: What has become of the philosophical offspring of Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party? One could make the case that they exist as … The New Black Panthers — guys who resort to vigilantism and 10k bounties on the head of a man going through the justice system (i.e., George Zimmerman). They have friends like Spike Lee, who uses his Twitter account to foment lawlessness, only to have to apologize soon afterward because he mistakenly encourages violent dopes to harass innocent elderly couples.

To liberals, it’s always 1868, or 1968 or any racial flashpoint that allows them to act as if the United States is static, stuck in a level of bygone bigotry like it was Han Solo in carbonite. And when their racist-baiting puzzle pieces don’t fit, they smash them together like a little kid, hoping to will it so.

There is something sad about a society that goes around demanding apologies from people with the fervency of a meth head looking to score, and there’s something even more depressing about publications that spend their limited time and resources trying to destroy a good man with a sterling career — all for the sake of racial politics.

Think all of this isn’t relevant to today? Perhaps. But then again, our own President was “constantly reading” Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man back in college (indeed, a classic and a thought-provoking book). But I digress…

This isn’t a time for Brent Musburger to issue an apology. However he handles it, I’m sure it will be done with class.