Elmhurst Pub Roundtable

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Bryant Gumble

So, apparently, Bryant Gumble was on his HBO show the other day and made the comment that the best athletes in the world aren't at the winter games. He went on to say that this was the case because the teams at the Olympics are about as black as a GOP convention. HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!

Here's the full quote:

"Bryant Gumble on the Winter Olympics"And finally tonight the Winter Games. Count me among those that don't like 'em and won't watch 'em. In fact, I figure when Thomas Paine said, "These are the times that try men's souls", he must have been talking about the start of another Winter Olympics. Because they are so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like try not to be incredulous when someone tries to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone
says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of Blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a psuedo-athlete waits in what's called a "kiss and cry area" while some panel of subjective judges decides who won. And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sports writers pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon, and all those other events they don't understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years. Face it, these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February. So, if only to hasten the arrival of the day they're done, and we can move on to March Madness, for God's sake, let the Games begin."

How does he get away with this? Let's change some of the words around. Would a white commentator get away with saying, "Count me among those who don't like the NBA and won't watch it. So try not to laugh when someone calls these the greatest athletes in the world, despite the paucity of whites that makes the league look like the Democratic National Convention/rap concert/whatever,"? No. Rush Limbaugh was fired for saying less about McNabb (BTW, it now looks like his points are accurate). Why is there no outcry? Why don't people care? This is the double standard with regards to race that makes people angry. A white commentator would not be given any sort of second chance on this. A black commentator says it and it flies under the radar.

This is tantamount to saying that white athletes aren't as good. Are the greatest athletes in the world in Torino? Probably not, but they are the greatest athletes in their sport. Is it our fault that there are fewer black athletes that don't want to ski, skate, luge, or curl? Some of it may be economic. How many lugers do you see coming out of urban areas or even non-mountainous areas like Boston, NYC, etc.? But a lot of it isn't for lack of opportunity, as there are programs anyone can join where they will help you out and train you. Also, the definition of sport and athlete are two different things. I think skaters, be it figure, speed, or hockey, are athletes. I don't think figure skating is a sport because of how subjective the scoring is. They have since redefined the scoring system to at least give plausibility to the technical marks. Artistic is just that obviously. But is this any different than being judged by a panel of writers and pollsters in order to determine who are the two best teams in college football? The athletes compete, the writers judge. Simply because something like curling is not popular in the US doesn't make it a non-sport. But, then again, these are all called Olympic Events, not sports. So does that definition matter?

Bryant Gumble has made this a racial issue. It's not. We can't force people of any race to be steered towards one sport or another. Gumble has demeaned the athletes that compete in these games, saying they are not the best. Sure, there may be football players that can strap on a pair of skis and do what these olympians do. But there may also be skiiers that can swing a bat real well. Skiing has a circuit, as does bobsledding and luge. There is open competition in all these arenas, called World Cups. How does that make these people not the best in the world? Explain that one. I'm tired of giving these people this sort of forum to make comments like that. Stop playing the race card. Appreciate these for what they are. And don't constantly cry for more racial equality. The opportunity is there for participation in all races. I'll close with this, Gumble should suffer the same fate as Rush Limbaugh and be fired.

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