by Lavern Merriweather
I’ll admit, I’m not the world’s biggest hockey fan. I’ll pretty much only watch it if there is no other sport being broadcast on TV that day or night. And the only reason I watched the Stanley Cup 2 years ago is because my hometown team the Chicago Blackhawks were it in to win it, which they did by kicking the a** of the Philadelphia Flyers in the finals. On the rare occasions, however, when I do watch hockey games there is something that really troubles me and that is the level of violence that is not only accepted but treated as entertaining and even funny by white males in the media. That’s odd considering that those same white males in the media will damn near trip over themselves to criticize and chastise any group of black male players that even so much as looks at each other cock-eyed.
I’ve seen it happen a million times before. If some hockey players, i.e. white males, get into a fight or brawl, white male sportswriters will call them ‘real men’ and praise their supposed a** kicking abilities. Not so with black athletes who get into a fight or physically assault someone. They are called ‘thugs, losers, hoods’ and my personal favorite ‘ghetto’. It’s what I like to call the Gold Chains and Cornrows Syndrome. By that, I mean that those two things are symbols to white males in the media that terrifies them about young black men along with rap music.
Many of them, especially annoying old fart Rick Telander, will use every opportunity they can in their columns to complain about the loud profanity laced music they hear in the locker rooms ‘assaulting their ears’. I’ll bet my last 20 bucks not a one of those withered coots has any problem with all the profanity in most of the Holly-white movies that they watch or when they would catch an episode of HBO hit “The Sopranos” (that and all of the killings coupled with a barrage of misogyny). It’s like the old saying, “If it ain’t white, then it ain’t right”.
I can’t even remember how long ago the infamous showdown between NBA player Ron Artest and fans from the stands of Detroit was. What I do know however is that the media will never let us forget that it happened. Yet, they don’t seem to mind forgetting that LA Dodger player Chad Krouter got into a fight in the stands with a fan of my other hometown team, the Chicago Cubs. I am always fascinated by the fact that when I or any other black person in this country cries racism, white people, particularly those in the media, will tell us that we are only imagining things or playing the race card even when they have given us nothing in their argument to suggest otherwise. I say that because Artest is black and Krouter is white. So, I’m just playing a delusional card even though you are being blatantly racist and hypocritical?
Another example is the punch heard round the world of then-player Kermit Washington and now-Suns coach Rudy Tomjonavich where Mr. Tomjonavich suffered a nasty fracture to the face and was almost knocked unconscious. As terrible a thing as that was to happen it was also 35 f**king years ago yet pinheads like Telander, Rick Reilly, Mike Lupica, etc. keep bringing it back up and rehashing that moment as much as they can! What they probably WON’T bring up is the vicious blow to the back of the head by one of the biggest thugs to ever disgrace the ice in hockey: Marty McSorely, in 2000 against then-Vancouver Canuck.
It should be noted that McSorely is white and I personally feel that is the main reason why the media gave him a virtual slap on the wrist in their describing the very ugly incident with him and Donald Brashear, one of the few African Americans in the sport. Even when the providence of Vancouver had other ideas, since they prosecuted McSorely and rightfully so, he was also later suspended indefinitely from the NHL and has never played a game since. As if their lack of verbal outrage isn’t bad enough there is even a joke among white males in sports that goes, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out instea”’ Well, hardy har har!
Yeah, that’s real amusing coming from the same folks who acted similar when Chicago Bull and celebrated bad boy Dennis Rodman kicked a photographer in the crotch during a playoff game in 1997 that he pulled out a gun and shot the guy! I can vividly remember that when I used to watch NBA games as I was growing up, that 3 of the biggest, most out of control jerks in basketball were Danny Ainge, Bill Laimbeer, and Kurt Rambis. All three players were white males and did some very horrendous things on the court, yet very rarely got as admonished as many young African-American male players do today, if at all now that I think about it.
For people who seem to ‘expect’ that kind of thing from young black males, they don’t seem to want to allow any leeway when it comes to how harshly they attack them. You act like they are just born thugs who don’t know any better one minute, yet sing a much different tune when it comes to crucifying them in the press. I thought we were supposed to be a little more understanding of people who are ‘ignorant’. Unless, what they really mean is you can take these uncivilized animals out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of those uncivilized animals. Well if that’s the case, then they must be from the same ghetto as those real men hockey players you are so in love with.
Last year several NASCAR team members from the pit crews of two race car drivers got into a nasty brawl which led to several fines and those same members being temporarily banned from attending races at the track. I guess those NASCAR people handing down suspensions don’t share a lot of white males in the media’s half-a**ed selective ideology of punishing athletes who behave badly and neither does the NHL. That’s something we should all be grateful for.