Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Unfortunate: Rush Limbaugh caused a firestorm on ESPN on Sunday. I didn't see it, but I read that he was criticizing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb for being a mediocre player, when, out of nowhere it seems, Rush said McNabb received high expectations because the media is trying to make blacks look good.

Mr. Limbaugh, What does race have to do with it?

Part of the reason this caused such a big fuss is that conservatives get in big trouble when they make comments about race. This is getting much more attention than when liberal sportscasters bring up race out of thin air. I hear shaky arguments all the time about how the NFL is racist. I can't find a hyperlink, but I remember that when Emmitt Smith was renegotiating his contract with the Dallas Cowboys, people were accusing Jerry Jones of playing hardball because Emmitt is black. Everyone knows that Jerry Jones isn't racist -- he's just an all-around jackass. Many of these racial accusations are completely arbitrary. Calling somebody a racist is a serious insult, and such accusations shouldn't be made lightly. That's why Rush shouldn't have accused the media of looking mainly at the color of McNabb's skin.

Yes, as a society we should be able to freely talk about race. We need honest discussions about social issues, like the high proportion of blacks and Hispanics living in poverty and receiving a substandard education. Only by talking openly about race can we identify problems and solve them. But it's wrong to demean a person by saying he's held in high regard more because of his race than because of his accomplishments. Comments like that only increase social tensions and cause people to feel wary about other races.

This is football for God's sake. It's my favorite sport, and I want to be able to enjoy it without having it infused with politics and social rants.

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