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26 October 2005

Comments

Cam

I think the big problem here is not so much what he said, but what he implied. Case in point: 'Sure, coach; we're "programmed" from the womb to run from the police and steal purses'.

Now Fisher Deberry never said anything remotely close to this. He just made empirical observation, the same observation that any sport loving American has made in the last fourty years: that a disproportionate amount of African-Americans are exceptional athletes.

To deny this would be incomprehensible. So perhaps, the problem is in his wording. Yes he made a sweeping general statement that seems to suggest that all African-Americans are fast, but anyone who takes an honest look at this knows that what he was trying to say was that at one end of the spectrum, the end reserved for the ridiculously fast and talented, african-americans are disproportionally represented. It would be disengenious and flat out wrong to suggest otherwise. And I don't think any reasonable human being can object to what he actually said.

But I think the reason why we are not allowed to mention this obvious fact is because of the implication that black athletes are more talented, but are less intelligent. As a Canadian, I find this disheartening and disgusting, but I don't live in a racially charged country like the United States.

So yah, I guess what he said was racist. But anyone who has watched american football, basketball, or track for the last half century knows that he is right.

But are we supposed to ignore such an obvious fact? Are we just supposed to pretend that it isn't true because the same argument may be turned around to say that african-americans are less capable intellectually?

As a Canadian, sometimes I just have to laugh at the racial controversies, and politics stirred up in the States. Why can't we say that blacks are better athletes on average? Why can they not be celebrated? When will they ever have an honest discussion about race in the United States?

Who knows.....hopefully soon.

Jimmy

I pre-ordered "Hung" from B&N last July, and am expecting delivery by UPS tomorrow. I eagerly await Rod's review. I swear, he has a way with words that makes you want to read whatever it is he's reviewing. Even items that he might review less favorably beg to be read simply to see first hand what it is about them that cools Rod off. (A difficult enough task in itself)...when you're hot, you're HOT!!

Bernie

I have to take issue with Cam's assessment of these comments. What DeBerry was suggesting by saying Blacks are "programmed" was that somehow we are genetically predisposed to have speed, in other words, we've been bred to be fast, much the same way one breeds a race horse.

The fallacy of his aspersions and Cam's assessment is that by inference he is suggesting Black athletes don't have to work at their technique. This is the insult and inaccuracy. Perhaps he needs to realize that while some Black athletes are indeed faster than their White counterparts, it is because they have a stronger work ethic when it comes to training for athletic competition. It isn't programming, but preparation.

About 20 years ago when the predominantly Black LA Lakers and the predominantly White Boston Celtics were the top teams in the NBA, we heard similar buzz words. The Celtics were "hard working" and "lunchpail carriers" suggesting they earned their success through sweat and determination. Conversely, sports reporters liked to refer to the Lakers as "show time" suggesting it was all fun and games for them and all they had to do was show up to be successful.

DeBerry and everyone else needs to wake up to the fact that the best Black athletes got that way not through "programming" but dedicating themselves to being the best.

RC

Ugh! People what does it mean to be "black"? Are we talking 50 Cent or Will Smith or Adam Clayton Powell! Hello! The majority of African Americans are mixed-race. So, how can anyone make any broad categorization about us from a homogeneous genetic basis.

It's like the crap about blacks not having enough fat on our bodies for bouancy required for swimming! Have you looked at Monique, Cedric, Aretha, Chaka, etc., etc.

And, hey, what about the whole quarterback crap or golf or this or that.

In the 1940s, the most successful ethinics in basketball were Jewish!

michael

He may or may not be a racist, but what he said certainly isn't. The so controversy he stirred up with his statement just shows how far this country still has to go in terms of honest discussions on race. We are all not the same, and there are different physical characteristics among all ethnic groups. To deny that blacks dominate and excel in certain sports goes against all logic and history, both past and present.

At no point did he say blacks were mentally inferior, but the projection is telling. I see no reason why he should step down or even apologize. Who did he offend?

We as a community have more than enough problems without having to create false issues that distract from the bigger picture.

It's interesting how black men never seem to tire of the false stereotype that we're all hung to the knees, but say we run a little faster and all hell breaks loose.

kenny

In the movie "The Longest Yard" Chris Rock said the exact same thing - "If you want speed you got to get the brothas". Now how come nobody made a fuss about it? It's not racist because Chris Rock, a black man said it? I am so sick of the double standard black people employ.

Jeff

You quoted ESPN as saying he should retire and that critics are saying show hiim the door. Why don't you talk about the black espn columnist and the black sportscenter anchor that said they were not offended by the comment and believed he was speaking the truth? They both believe the majority of black athletes are faster than the majority of white athletes.

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