Did Fox’s Gus Johnson on Saturday compare a black Ohio State player to a gorilla?
Yes, he did. Twice.
What happened to Johnson afterward?
What should have happened?
But first, Boy Sherman, set the Way-Back Machine to circa 1963 when Ch. 9’s “Million Dollar Movie” regularly entertained NYC kids with “King Kong” and “Mighty Joe Young,” both starring giant gorillas we went ape for.
I never considered the race of either. Race? They were gorillas. Their religion? Politics? Never crossed my mind. Financial condition? Judging from King Kong’s climb to the top of the Empire State Building, I figured he was the more upwardly mobile of the two.
This past February, Gary Dolphin, the radio voice of University of Iowa football and basketball since 1996, was suspended for the rest of the basketball season for what the school determined was a racist comment.
As Iowa, at home, lost to Maryland, Dolphin complimented the star of the game, Maryland’s Bruno Fernando, a black center now with the NBA Hawks, for controlling the inside game like “King Kong.”
Given that Dolphin is not a kid — he’s 67 — and would have long ago revealed himself as a racist, his choice of imagery lent itself to a good metaphor:
King Kong, at the apex — cheap pun — of the skyscraper, grabbing or swatting those airplanes dispatched to knock him off. Fernando, 6-foot-10, after all, finished with two blocked shots and 11 rebounds — five of them offensive. He had a monster game, whatever monster one would logically choose.
But benefits of such doubts are selective, often predicated on fear rather than fairness. So Dolphin was yanked, apologized for what he described as his “unintentional” insensitivity, and “racist” was added to his permanent record.
Yet, in the end, which party was racist, Dolphin or the university, the latter so eager to equate or conflate a black player with a gorilla? It seemed Iowa applied bad, simplistic straight-addition anthropological math to punish and humiliate Dolphin.
Fernando does not look like a gorilla. But by suspending Dolphin, that’s what Iowa implied while sustaining a racist stereotype.
Now to this past Saturday’s Penn State-Ohio State game on Fox, called by Gus Johnson, a black man. Twice Johnson called OSU’s 6-foot-5, 265-pound star defensive end Chase Young, a young black man, “Mighty Chase Young,” as per Mighty Joe Young.
Pretty clever. And intentionally clever. Still, he compared Young to a gorilla! So why was this any less racist than Dolphin’s “King Kong”?
Or maybe it wasn’t racist if spoken by a black broadcaster instead of a white one? Or maybe both were racist. Or, more likely, neither.
Johnson, to my knowledge, hasn’t received even a mild rebuke for such a characterization of Young, and on a far larger stage than Dolphin’s.
And Johnson got what he deserved: nothing. He said nothing wrong. He and Dolphin have that in common, except only one was ordered to walk the plank. That’s not social justice, that’s lunacy — the kind that leaves us all diminished as fair-minded humans.
And between the two episodes, Roger Goodell hired Jay-Z, grown rich and powerful rapping vulgar sexual degradations of women and referencing black men as the N-word, to be the NFL’s Minister of Social Justice.
It remains mystifying — frustrating, aggravating, unconditionally sad — that those who claim to pursue racial equality think it can be attained through inequality.
Jimmy G doesn’t like pressure — who knew?!
Great, unsolved TV mystery: What turned NBC’s Chris Collinsworth into a raging windbag?
During Sunday night’s second quarter, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed a short pass while Packers linebacker Kyler Fackrell dragged him to the ground.
Collinsworth: “Even when they’re not blitzing, they’re showing blitz. That’s because the M.O. for Jimmy Garoppolo has been: He doesn’t do well under pressure.
“Maybe it’s the knee injury, whatever the case, but he has been getting blitzed this season at 40 percent. [Packers defensive coordinator] Mike Pettine knows it, and he knows the reason why so many of [Garoppolo’s] mistakes, so many of his interceptions, have come when people are able to get some pressure.”
Fascinating. That makes Garoppolo a rarity. Most NFL QBs, especially those guiding 10-1 teams, absolutely love to throw with defenders about to nail them. They live for it! Collinsworth discovered that Garoppolo is unique, the one who doesn’t enjoy it, the one who throws interceptions when hurried.
And though the Niners were in the process of winning, 37-8, Collinsworth repeated his discovery of this rarity.
MSG gets it right, finally
The Garden has done the right thing and rescinded its “offer” to have Knicks and Rangers ticket subscribers buy tickets to be distributed among poor kids during the holidays. MSG now says it will donate its own game tickets at no charge to those who already pay a fortune for tickets.
Some civilizations died off from lead poisoning. Ours is threatened by the growing madness of genuine pigskin gibberish. Saturday, after Michigan State’s Elijah Collins ran for 8 yards, Fox Sports 1’s Evan Moore explained it: “He stuck his foot in the ground and got vertical.” And let us all say, “Nurse!”
Naturally, Mike Francesa’s latest threat of retirement signaled another endless Jamboree of Me. It’s a pity all those stars he claimed to know so well died just before he first made the claim or they’d have added their salutes. As Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice, said of her father, “He wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral.”
Real professionals, not actors: Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins on Sunday, was unavailable to take the final snap as he was busy taking sideline selfies with fans.
Say, what did ESPN give as Duke’s win probability at home against Stephen F. Austin? Turns out it was 00.00 percent. So SFA was paid to make the trip to be destroyed yet won.
The Mavericks and Rockets played for first place in their division Sunday. Houston lost at home, 137-123. Lost what? A basketball game? Hardly. It was an 88 3-points-shot farce, the home run-or-strikeouts Rockets finishing 10-of-44.
Hurray for context! After noting that Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor surpassed Herschel Walker for all-purpose yards in three seasons, Fox’s Tim Bando, the crafty veteran, added that Walker’s Georgia teams played fewer games per season.
NCAA student-athletics continue to produce our leaders of tomorrow. Toledo’s basketball roster lists 14 players. But only 10 played Saturday at home against Northwestern Ohio, and the five starters played between 25 and 30 minutes. Had to. Close game. Toledo won, 100-41.
Reader Ken Van Durand: “Duke has three wins in MSG, this season … same as the Knicks.”
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