Athletic Ability

irvin.jpgThis is kind of old news, but I thought this on espn.com was funny...that a joke like this one would create a big controversy.

Michael Irvin (ESPN commentator and former Dallas Cowboys receiver) joked on ESPN Radio that...

Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo's athletic ability must be the result of an African-American heritage.

Irvin later apologized for his comments...

"They were inappropriate and insensitive. My whole thing, what I always try to do, is give people a first-hand knowledge of what it's like in the locker room and how we as players joke around with one another," Irvin said.

"Generalizations about heritage are inappropriate even in jest, and what Michael said was wrong," ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys told USA Today. "We have spoken to Michael about it."

The Big Lead has a transcript. Based on that, I can see why Irvin's statements were a little more inflammatory than than they would seem based on the ESPN story:

"… [there must be] some brothers in that line somewhere … (laughs to himself) somewhere there are some brothers … I don't know who saw what, where …. [maybe] his great, great, great, great Grandma ran over in the hood or something went down … (laughter)"

Dan Patrick, sensing disaster, jumps in and says, ‘that's the only way to be a great athlete?'

Irvin comes back with, "No, that's not the only way … but it's certainly one way … [maybe his] great, great, great, great Grandma pulled one of them studs up outta the barn [and said] ‘come here for a second' … back in the day …(more sinister laughter)"

Comments

A white guy would've been fired, or sued for those type of comments...

In some cases, double standards are reasonable: I can make fun of myself in ways that it would be inappropriate for someone else to make fun of me. This was simply a joke in poor taste (regardless of the race of the joker) but with no malice, and I don't think it should be given any more weight than it deserves.But, unfortunately, you're probably right...

On slate.com Robert Weintraub answers the question: Why are sportcasters always making racial gaffes?