Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Melba Toast

Here's what bugs me about Deadspin (and I suppose all of the Gawker media sites, really):

Rick Chandler links to what figures to be a controversial article about race and Tyler Hansbrough by CBS' Mike Freeman -- blockquoting a passage and everything -- and then winds up with this:
Please forgive me if I stay out of this debate and just continue eating
this melba toast. I hate controversy. But I will say that Sportsline may be
rethinking their little "Tell Mike your opinion" link below his byline.

I realize that the whole "let's point out this controversy, step back, and unleash our commenters' snark" is Gawker's thing, but just once I'd like to see something resembling an engaged and intelligent opinion from those guys on a subject other than easy targets like ESPN. For all of the supposed elevation of the sporting discourse it has brought, Deadspin spends an awful lot of time acting like that eighth grader who won't raise his hand for fear of looking like a nerd.

Having said that, I suppose I'm obligated to offer my view. Short, because it's not baseball: Freeman is right about how we view our Great White Hopes. To suggest that Tyler Hansbrough is the toughest or most focused college basketball player in living memory is pretty silly, especially considering that his college career is still, you know, happening. Is it racist for Freeman to say such a thing? I don't think so, even if some of the explanation for Hansbrough's treatment is due just as much to his school as it is to his race.

Ultimately, what's happening with Hansbrough is no different than what has happened with David Eckstein and his scrappy forefathers, and you can bet your bippy that he would be described very differently if he was a Tyrone instead of a Tyler.


Nate said...

Sadly, I lost my bippy in a poker game in Reno back in ought three. Spot on analysis otherwise. Though at some point, criticizing Deadspin for failing to criticize a high uncritical Sportsline posting becomes just a little too meta, y'know?

64cardinals said...

I don't know. Seems to me I heard quite a bit about Greg Oden and Michael Durant last year. Maybe Hansbrough got the nod because he actually stayed in school and is getting an education, instead of using college as a 1-year audition.

Sounds like Scoop Jackson would write.