Stupid is as Stupid Does
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by Laramie Boyd
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If you're going to say something stupid, something controversial, and have a choice between
a "sexist" remark about women and a "racist" remark about minorities, something that could alter, if not ruin, your whole life, make
sure you say something "sexist" rather than "racist." On what basis do I believe that to be true?
Let's do the math. There's Donald Sterling, a white man who owns the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, comprised of mostly black
players, who made "demeaning, racist" remarks, in private, to his mistress who is a minority, then took swipes at the great Magic
Johnson. His lady friend secretly taped a conversation between her and Sterling, aired the tape, and as a result Sterling may lose
ownership of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, which is worth billions of dollars, plus he is to pay a fine of millions of dollars,
and is also barred from attending National Basketball League games or having any other connection to the league. The tape revealed
how Sterling told his mistress not to bring black players to the games or spend a lot of time with them.
Then there's Stephen A. Smith, a black man working for the sports station ESPN, who made "demeaning, sexist" remarks, in public, over
national TV, involving a National Football League player, Ray Rice, who assaulted his then girlfriend but wife now. Based on video
evidence, Rice was suspended for two football games. In what appeared to be a statement somewhat supportive of Rice, Smith said "Let's
make sure we don't do anything to provoke wrong doing," or anything "that would provoke an attack," obviously implying to some women
that Smith believed Ray Rice was not totally at fault for his assault and so was partially justified in the assault. Afterwards, Smith
said "It was not what I was trying to say." He was given a one week suspension from his sporting news program on ESPN.
So, Sterling loses millions of dollars and his property, The Lakers, for a racist remark made in private. Smith gets suspended from
his program for one week for a remark made publicly that seemed to some as a justification for domestic abuse, and Rice, the actual
abuser, gets a 2 game suspension from football. In another incident, Josh Gordon, a professional football player, was suspended from
playing for one full year for marijuana use. I wonder if even Albert Einstein could figure out how all these facts add up. Apparently,
in the eyes of professional sports in this country, telling someone, in a private conversation, that you don't want them to spend
a lot of time with black fans or bring them to games, is worse than publicly stating that women who are abused can be the cause of
their own abuse? And what seems even stranger, a football player smoking marijuana is judged a worse offense than a player physically
abusing a woman.
Michelle Beadle, an ESPN2 host, immediately took umbrage to Mr. Smith's
defense of Ray Rice. She wrote, "I'm not aware that I can provoke my own beating. Violence isn't the victim's issue. It's the abuser's."
It was remarked that ESPN frowns on their employees attacking the comments of other broadcasters, but "didn't announce any punishment
for Beadle." Wouldn't that have been a corker, Beadle getting castigated for stating her disagreement with a comment by Smith, who
was suspender for his comment?
By the way, the Rice-Smith "sexist" story appeared on the
back page of the sports section in the Desert Sun paper in Palm Springs. Slightly less coverage than the banner headlines given the
"racist" story of Donald Sterling.