Couldn't agree more. Berman is one of the top 10 (wait...let's double check ESPN's roster...), top 5 talents ESPN has. In fact, I propose a White House petition to bring back, back, back, back, back the Berman/Jackson NFL Primetime.
I hate people who cry racist. They are jerks. And unfortunately, they've apparently multiplied ever since Barack Obama was sworn into office. If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me refer you to a sample conversation:
Person A: Obama's policies don't make any sense. We don't have any more money to spend, and this health care bill will bankrupt this country.
Person B: You just hate Obama because he's black!
If you just slammed your first on your desk and yelled, "Ugh, yeah, I'm sick of this crap!" then you're probably a sensible, logical person. If you're shaking your head and laughing, "Walt, you're obviously racist against black people!" then congratulations - you're a jerk of the week!
I'd be ignorant if I proclaimed there aren't any racists out there who actually do hate Obama because of his skin color, but most people who disagree with his policies simply think they're asinine and myopic; not because they're coming from a black man.
To put it bluntly, people who cry racist at the first sign of disagreement are idiots with no imagination. It's their only counter to whatever someone else says. They've run out of intelligent arguments and now have to resort to personal attacks to prove their point - which is clearly a sign of narrow-mindedness and immaturity.
I'm bringing this up now because of feedback I received for my 2010 NFL Celebrity Mock Draft. Most of the responses were positive, but there was one "turd in the punch bowl" who didn't like what I had to say. Here's his first e-mail:
I really enjoy your site and I think you offer some really excellent analyses of the NFL. Nevertheless, your celebrity mock draft borders on downright bigotry. Why is it that the black celebrities are portrayed as stupid, ineloquent, and illiterate? And why is Ricky Martin, just because he is gay, portrayed as lisping and over-sexed?
This mock draft at times racist, xenophobic, and homophobic. You should really be ashamed of yourself and post an apology on your site directed to all people who are something besides heterosexual, white men. You may think that what you did was light hearted and funny... and in some respects it is... your caricatures of NFL analysts like Mayock and Billick are good as are your characterizations of the coaches and Al Davis. But when you are left with nothing about the individual's character to make fun of (Russell, Queen Latifah, Martin, Morelli) you resort, pathetically and sadly, to prejudicial, negative stereotypes. It's fine to criticize individuals and make fun of their personal flaws, but you do not do this... rather you make fun of their race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
I used to think you were a good draft analyst with a good sense of humor, now I think you're just an unprofessional jerk. Perhaps if you were more professional you would have more prestige and respect in your industry.
See what I mean? In that celebrity mock, I didn't make Obama or Greg Gumbel sound stupid. In fact, aside from JaMarcus Russell, who is a borderline vegetable, the person I ridiculed the most for his intelligence was Tom Cable, a white coach. Yet, no mention of him from Jerk Who Cried Racist. Pretty convenient, huh? Here was my response:
I think you're being overly sensitive here and you're clearly overreacting.
I made Tom Cable sound more stupid and illiterate than anyone else in the celebrity mock draft. Why did you not complain about him? Sounds like you're displaying reverse racism to me, to be honest.
Ricky Martin admitted he was gay, so I made him talk like Mr. Slave on South Park. If you have a problem with this, you should send a letter to Matt Stone and Trey Parker; that passage was a salute to South Park.
Of course, there was a response back. I want to break down his next e-mail into different sections to show you how hypocritical it is:
Regarding Tom Cable, I assumed you were making light of his past issues of physical violence which are well-known. But I will say that yes, looking back, it is also offensive that you make him out to be a woman beater for no reason.
It is offensive that I made fun of Tom Cable for being a woman-beater? Wow. I guess women-beaters deserve respect now, huh? That's it! If a guy hits multiple women, we are hereby disallowed to make fun of him! Woman-beaters are sensitive and their feelings must be preserved! All hail woman-beaters!
The main point here is that I don't think that you are being an "equal opportunity offender." You make only a handful of the white men out to be misogynists (for no good reason), but make the majority of African-Americans out to be idiots.
Reviewing the celebrity mock, the only black celebrities I ridiculed for their intelligence were Emmitt Smith, JaMarcus Russell and Shannon Sharpe (and Sharpe only because it's impossible to understand him, so not really). As for the white people I ridiculed, I can count Tom Cable, Chris Mortensen, Todd McShay, Eric Mangini, Al Davis, Terry Bradshaw, Walt Coleman and Dick Stockton. By my count, that's nine white people and three black people. I must be racist against white people! Don't tell the KKK because they'll torch my house!
I am not trying to play the reverse racism card at all... I am just implying that you are exploiting negative race, ethnic, and sexual stereotypes and trying to play them off as humorous, when people who are of these statuses would definitely take offense.
And yet, the only person who sent me negative feedback about this was a white guy. Interesting.
If you don't think people should be offended, we can disagree about that, but to ignore the fact that people are/will be offended by these depictions is arrogant, insensitive, and disrespectful of others, especially when these stereotypes are used or have been used in the past to discriminate against these groups. I just think this celebrity mock is a serious misstep that you need to reconsider. Don't issue an apology, but at least take it down.
I did offer this guy some advice: "Try to lighten up, and don't take things too seriously. Not everything's about race."
A perfect response, in my opinion, to jerks who cry racist.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 2: People Who Cry Stereotype
Speaking of this whole racist crap, there was an NBC reporter last week, some chick named Norah O'Donnell, who drew heavy criticism with the following statement: "All black people are good athletes."
Three thoughts about O'Donnell's statement:
1. Miss O'Donnell has obviously never heard of Byron Leftwich, Stanley Hudson or Steve Urkel. Not all black people are good athletes.
2. I wish all white people were good athletes. If that were the case, I could be a good athlete instead of some 27-year-old white dude with a 9-inch vertical.
3. What's the big deal, and why does anyone care?
Seriously, there is absolutely no reason anyone should be making any sort of fuss about this. That statement wasn't racist; if anything, it was a compliment. If someone came up to me and said, "All white people are good athletes," I would respond, "Well, that's not true because I run slowly and can't get off the ground, but thank you, I appreciate those kind words."
O'Donnell was an idiot for saying something irrelevant and untrue like that because it only got her into trouble. But it wasn't a racist statement; it was a stereotype. There's a major difference there. Racist statements are meant to be hurtful, while stereotypes are true for the majority of the group they reference.
To quote Adam Carolla, "People wouldn't use stereotypes if they weren't true." And to prove Carolla's theory, I've decided to make three stereotypes of my own that are not true. Let's see if people catch on and start using these stereotypes:
1. All white people are great dancers. You don't believe me, eh? Well, go to any club. You'll see two things there: One, Ben Roethlisberger accosting a helpless woman. And two, great white dancers. It's true. Every single white person has great rhythm. Our movements are always completely in sync with whatever music is playing. If only every race were so gifted at dancing as white people are!
2. All black people suck at basketball. If there are 10 guys on the playground, and one of them is black, it's a lock that he'll be picked last. Name one black person who was ever good at basketball. I'm just asking for one name. Can't think of anyone, eh? That's what I thought.
3. All Asians suck at math. To use an example Carolla contrived, if your life is on the line, and the only way you could survive is if a kid of your choosing gets a math problem correct, which race would you pick? Obviously not the Asian kid. Ask any Asian kid what 2 plus 2 is, and they won't know the answer. Go ahead and try it.
See how stupid that is? No one would ever say those things because they aren't true. And while ALL black people aren't good athletes, most of the NBA players are black, and nearly all of the skill-position players in the NFL are black - just like most (not all) white people suck at dancing, and most (not all) Asian kids kick a** at math. It's just the way things are.
Somewhere in this country, Jerk Who Cried Racist's head just exploded.
JERK OF THE WEEK NO. 3: Ben Roethlisberger and His Accuser
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but Ben Roethlisberger is a douche.
Roethlisberger signed a $102 million contract two years ago, yet he's parading around every bar across America and seemingly accosting every single female in sight. He's a hero in Pittsburgh and one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, and yet he's seemingly being accused of rape every two seconds. Kids look up to him, yet he's throwing his career away by carousing around with his awesome security team - a group of police officers and bodyguards who have the uncanny power of tossing drunken women into bathrooms to await their sexual encounter with "Big" Ben.
But that's all been said before. The nicknames have been repeated, "Ben Rapelisberger," "Ben Rapeyoursister," and so on.
Roethlisberger is a jerk, but I want to talk about the other jerk in this Georgia story - Roethlisberger's accuser.
Now, before you defend that "poor" woman who was allegedly raped, consider the following facts from the police statement:
1. Before anything happened, Roethlisberger asked this girl and her friends to go back to the VIP area with him at this Georgia nightclub. They agreed.
Really? What did you think was going to happen? Did you think Roethlisberger was going to write you poems about how beautiful you are in this sleazy VIP section? Did you think he was going to talk about how awesome of a football player he is? Did you think he was going to break down football film with you? How na�ve and stupid can you be?
2. Roethlisberger provided shots for these women at the bar, and they took them.
And this is how the girl got really drunk. This reminds me of the old witch from Hansel and Gretel who kept feeding Hansel all of the food so she could later (spoiler alert) cook him alive. If Hansel didn't eat her food, she wouldn't have been able to cook him. And if this girl didn't take all of those shots, she wouldn't have been so disoriented during her sexual encounter with Big Ben.
Instead, this chick accepted Roethlisberger's VIP section invitation and proceeded to drunk all of his alcohol. And to top it off, Roethlisberger had been accused of rape before! Seriously, what did she think was going to happen?
To recap, if you want to avoid getting raped by superstar athletes:
1. Don't go to the same bars and nightclubs they attend.
2. Don't go to their VIP section if they invite you.
3. Don't drink all of their alcohol.
This sort of stupidity can't be tolerated. While Roethlisberger is a douche, this woman is a complete imbecile. In fact, I say this woman needs to learn a lesson. I say she must receive the same punishment Roethlisberger gets.
Let's say this woman is a waitress at Applebee's. If Roethlisberger is suspended for four weeks, this woman should be suspended from Applebee's for four weeks. If Roethlisberger is suspended for eight weeks, she should be suspended for eight weeks. And if Roethlisberger is traded to Buffalo, this woman should have to work at an Applebee's in Buffalo.
Avoiding NFL superstar rape is easy, per the outline I provided above. This woman clearly needs to understand these methods, and I think working at an Applebee's in Buffalo after an 8-week suspension would really enforce those guidelines.