Archive | July, 2009

The Mouse Attack on Black America: ESPN casts Black Athletes in a Negative Light

25 Jul

By Gary Norris Gray

For the Chris Murray Report

It is very sad to see the changes in television sports network programming and the way they currently report the news; with a specific reference to ESPN.


Provocative stories sell, sex catches your attention; a racially-tinged story sells; football player Adam Jones making it rain at a strip club is a story. Oh — for those who don’t know what “making it rain” means, throwing money at scantily clad women.


Michael Vick’s arrest and imprisonment for dogfigting. Michael received his first day of freedom on Monday July 20, 2009; and lastly, the murder-suicide of Steve McNair by his white 20-year-old girlfriend.

The recent reports of McNair’s blood alcohol count last week, which had nothing to do with his death, only sought to further defame McNair.

All of these men are African Americans and they were the lead stories on this network. What scares me about this kind of reporting is that other local news networks are beginning to follow suit. There is a constant droning drum beat coming from the studios of Bristol, Connecticut against African American athletes.

For those who don’t know what The Mouse means, it’s ESPN, which is owned by the American Broadcasting Company and the Walt Disney Corporation– thus “The Mouse.”

Do your homework for the next two weeks. Listen to the words of each broadcast on The Mouse, then make your own decision.

The drum beat is loud and clear.

The Mouse is fulfilling its agenda on America airwaves constantly attacking prominent African American athletes. This covert action by this network is not fair, or right. Why? It’s because Americans get most of their sports news from this network. It is not fair because there is not an objective equivalent television sports network to rival or refute The Mouse when they are incorrect.

ESPN has a monopoly in the television sports industry even to the extent that their own ABC local stations only give the scores of their local teams. Now that is complete power and complete control. Undoubtedly, there is a need for a web site similar to Black Athlete Sports Network. Writers would be unable to write an article like this and most newspapers or magazines would not print it.

In the past, race and sports were not an issue. Sports fans could enjoy watching their games without thinking about anything political, it was fun. Well, my fellow Americans “The Mouse” has drastically changed that.

Now it’s about steroids, contracts, conduct, and the way you look or what the Black athlete did after the game. Too much information, just too much information. Just report on the score of the game and the strategies of the game, please. The most recent example is Brett Favre, former quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. The 40-year-old Favre should have retired two years ago. This year he is trying to tender another contract with the Minnesota Vikings. This was a non-story until The Mouse created this story this spring and they praise him every week.

When the Mouse airs a story on a white athlete it’s seldom reports a negative comment. Can you imagine what The Mouse would be saying if Brett Favre were African American?

A Black Favre would be a self-centered egotistical player, A Black Favre would not be a team player, and A Black Favre would be aloof in the locker-room. Actually, Brett Favre could be called all of these things but you will never hear this from mouth of The Mouse of Bristol, Connecticut.

The current Favre story just makes many football fans frustrated. Come on now lets be honest; would a professional football team want a 40-year-oldquarterback black or white with a recurring shoulder injury, playing on artificial turf?

As John McEnroe would scream, “You cannot be serious!” Yet, Brett Favre is the little darling of The Mouse. Most knowledgeable football fans know that Tarvaris Jackson, who is Black, should be the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings this year, not Favre.

Jackson can run faster, throw farther and is much stronger than Brett. Also, Jackson carried the team to the playoffs last year while Brett Favre and the Jets stumbled into an early winter vacation.

NFL statistics state that Brett Favre is only nine games away from surpassing Jim Marshall-an African American defensive lineman who also played for the Vikings, for the most consecutive games played. Interestingly, there are probably bonuses in his contract if Favre breaks the record.

This network has not been honest.

The Mouse gave a pass to Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps  who was  caught smoking a bong this past winter. The Mouse gave a pass to WNBA Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi who was  drinking and driving this past week, in addition it gave star quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots a pass twice, one having a baby out of wedlock a few years ago and the other the shooting incident last summer at a wedding party in the islands.

Now think about this – if any one of the three incidents mentioned above had been committed by an African American athlete what would “The Mouse” broadcast?

The drum beat would be loud and clear.

This year before the NFL National Football Draft, The Mouse reporters were grading players. When a black player was the subject, the African American player was incompetent. These reports would state that the Black player can’t do this or he can’t do that. Or he is too selfish, too short, does not understand pro style offenses or defenses, or that he simply can’t catch the football. A lawsuit is not far behind.

The NFL teams listen to this nonsense and usually drop the African American player down in the draft to the lower rounds, costing this player hundreds of thousands of dollars. When that same player mentioned by the Mouse should have been drafted in the first round, the team drafting this player saves big money.

The constant drum beat goes on and on, Black athletes are not good enough and yet they keep playing and keep winning games.

While this phenomenon has being ongoing since ESPN’s existence, clear evidence of this came to a head in 2003 when the Mouse hired Rush Limbaugh to fill the set on “NFL Countdown” Sunday mornings. It would not be long before Limbaugh would speak his mind.

Limbaugh stated that Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles was an overrated Black quarterback and that the liberal media was babying these new Black quarterbacks and they are not good enough to start.

Rush overlooked the clear fact that McNabb took the Eagles to two consecutive NFC East titles, two straight National Conference Championships and two Pro Bowl appearances to that point in his career. So what was your point again, Rush? And The Mouse knew that he would pontificate on the issue of Back quarterbacks. The Mouse did not expect the national reaction to his comments. Limbaugh would resign a week later.

In Major League Baseball, The Mouse started this scenario seven years ago with Barry Bonds and the BALCO Steroid Scandal in the Bay Area. Bonds became the poster boy for The Mouse and steroids. The year that Bonds went for the home run record the Mouse wanted to broadcast many San Francisco Giant games to keep track of Bonds chasing Henry Aaron’s homerun mark but whenever The Mouse showed up at A.T. & T Park, Bonds was a no-show.

Let be it said that Barry Bonds did this on purpose as a silent protest of the way he was being portrayed on this network. Barry Bonds never forgot the way the media treated his father Bobby Bonds and wanted no part of this circus.

The Mouse finally got wise and stopped broadcasting Giants games resorting to network cut-ins when Barry Bonds would come to the plate. The Mouse never questioned Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig nor have they questioned the owners, trainers, or managers about their knowledge of steroid use by the players. Major League Baseball continues to pick and choose which player will be outed from the secret and confidential 104 player list.

The drum beat has been steady and constant through the years. Another example could be Harold Reynolds, a man that has earned the respect of the fans because he is a knowledgeable man; an African American male that played professional baseball.

Reynolds had been broadcasting the College World Series for The Mouse for many years. During one of the semi-final games, Reynolds made a statement that there were not many African American baseball players on college diamonds and that it troubled him. Within that same year, Reynolds was released by The Mouse because of an alleged sexual harassment complaint by a female employee.

This drum beat continues. On ESPN2’s First Take, columnist Skip Bayless makes outlandish statements to get a response from the guest panelist. If the guest is Black and gives a logical, intelligent and forthright answer to the question, he would not be seen on the show again, but if he played the game with Skip Bayless would be invited to return. Bayless continues to disrespect LeBron James by calling him prince instead of king which he is known. Bayless does not like Kobe Bryant, calling him a selfish and self-centered player. Kobe has won four NBA Championships. Bayless has called Shaquille O’ Neal lazy and Shaq is the only center in the NBA that has stayed healthy for the most of his career. Shaq also has four championship rings, Mr. Bayless.

Bayless has been critical of Donavan McNabb, and Terrell Owens. The last time I checked neither player has played on a losing team.

Bayless has also criticized Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, and Sammy Sosa for steroids use; all of these men are of color. When was the last time Mr. Bayless criticized Mr. Mark McGwire? Didn’t Mark also take a performance-enhancing drug? The drum beat continues with the show called “Around the Horn” A show of competitive banter with four guests from different newspapers across the country. Anyone who watches the show one can decipher a pattern. The African-American guest wins showdowns only on Thursday or Friday. For 14 weeks, this has happened with a few exceptions.

The drum beat marches on with “Pardon the Interruption” or “PTI” hosted by Michael Wilbon an African American. During the 2009 Wimbledon Championships in London, England, Mr. Wilbon stated that he would not watch the remainder of the Women’s Finals after Russian blonde, blue-eyed bombshell Maria Sharapova lost in the quarterfinals.

Hold up, Wait a second – didn’t African Americans Venus and Serena Williams play in the finals and didn’t the the Williams Sisters win the Doubles Championship for the fifth time? How very discouraging hearing this from an African American man. There was a void of praise for his African American sisters of great talent.  It is incomprehensible how self hatred is imposed on Blacks by Blacks. The Mouse exploits this with their Black reporters.

The drum beat continued last week with the airing of the 1979 Disco Demolition Night at Old Comiskey Park, Chicago. When will this nonsense end? How can The Mouse continue to insult the intelligence of African Americans, as well as other American sports fans?

My question to the Mouse and the American Public is: why did the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Police Department never pressed charges against station WLUP, the disc-jockey, or the participants for the destruction of property back ? What if African-Americans had an anti-soft rock or hard rock night at any ball park that promoted the destruction of records by Aerosmith, Abba, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, etc? There would have been tear gas in the Chicago air. Baton swinging men in blue hitting anything human that moved. Chicago jails would have been filled with Black people. White Middle America would have been furious.

There is an obvious double standard in this country and there always will be because we don’t respect each other. Americans dishonor each individuals’ talent or special skills. The Mouse uses this wedge to their advantage as they advance their hidden racial agenda; all to gain ratings as they play to the basest of stereotypes.

On Sunday July 19, 2009, the Mouse maybe called a temporary truce by airing a feel-good story about recent nominee to the Hall of Fame Jim Rice, of the Boston Red Sox. Rice is an African American. Rice saved the life of a nine-year-old boy’s life after he was struck by a line-drive foul ball.

Rice jumped into the stands, grabbed the boy and took him to the Red Sox’s training room where the team doctor examined him and treated him for a fractured skull. The young Red Sox fan was then transported to the local hospital for a speedy recovery. Rice’s actions saved the youngster’s life.

These are the kinds of stories the Mouse should be broadcasting. Don’t hold your breath because this was a once in a life time moment. It is so easier to trash somebody or trash a culture. America loves a train wreck no-matter how bad it looks, no doubt the continuous Drum Beat will return Monday morning.

Broadcasting the ESPY’s Sunday night July 19, 2009 with Black host Samuel Jackson does not give you a pass because within 24 hours it will be business as usual.

Just as expected The Mouse’s slow drum roll started again on Tuesday afternoon July 21, 2009. This Network spent a half hour on the aspects of dog fighting and the life after jail with Michael Vick. However, The Mouse did not spend a second on the latest breaking story of the day the alleged rape charge of Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback Big Ben Roethlisburger in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

This past Wednesday afternoon reporter Lloyd Vance stated that ESPN sent an email to all sports news agencies to crush this story. Can Janet Jackson sing “CONTROL”? Thursday morning, three days later the smoke had cleared The Mouse decided to mention it.

This was after the report that Lake Tahoe Police would not be pressing charges. Again, if Big Ben were African American it would have been the lead story all week long instead they (The Mouse) crush the story not knowing the outcome.

Like my parents stated many years ago you can’t change a dog’s spots(pun intended) and The Mouse will always play this nasty game with African American athletes.

ESPN please stop the hidden racial hype, you maybe gaining ratings,  but you are distorting and destroying young African American lives with this antic.

Sotomayor’s Truth Speaks Volumes

20 Jul

By Wendell P. Simpson
For the Chris Murray Report

I have to wonder when the truth stops being subordinate to politics.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court should have been a cakewalk, but it wasn’t. That’s because (surprise) conservative Republican members of the Senate selection committee had some misgivings about Sotomayor’s ability to adjudicate based on the law and not on her personal, subjective views (read ‘liberal bias’).

Let’s ignore, for a second, the utter absurdity of Republicans castigating anyone else for having a biased agenda, or the fact that there was no basis in the record of her decisions that justified their enmity. The inquisitors based their concerns mostly on a 2001 statement the esteemed jurist made that suggested a wise Hispanic woman’s experiences might enable her to make better jurisprudential decisions in some cases than a white man.

I guess that left the congress of poor, disadvantaged white men feeling a little marginalized, and Sotomayor was oh-so-delicately denounced as a reverse racist and an activist jurist.

The Republicans, in trying to censure Sotomayor, took the kindler and gentler approach. They knew they had to walk on eggshells—they certainly didn’t want to further distance a Hispanic constituency that had already flagged them for Obama.

But Sotomayor hedged anyway, cautiously distancing herself from the remark, calling it a “rhetorical flourish”.

Now we all know that people of color are always forced to make concessions to the truth, but that was one sister Sotomayor did not have to make, because here’s the pragmatic truth: in an America that’s 30 % non-white, 35% non-Christian, 6% gay, and 54% female, there are a whole lot of ‘truths’, and a whole lot of experiences white men aren’t going to know a whole lot about.

Sotomayor knows something about those perilous, uneasy corners of America that don’t show up in travel brochures, tourists’ maps or real estate brokers’ handbooks. She’s experienced an America where there are no manicured lawns, no three-car garages, no Rotary Club, no champagne liberals, no country club, Polo shirt-wearing scion of social privilege wiling away their off-hours on the golf course, and no soccer moms in sparkling new hybrid mini-vans transporting their brood to and from the neighborhood’s state-of-art recreation center.

She knows something about the jungle, all concrete, broken glass and instinct, where mother wit is often the only line of protection between you and an inglorious demise; where poor Puerto Rican, Dominican and African-American mothers are forced to make something out of nothing; where a bag of rice, a satchel of beans, a half pound of day old ground beef and a box of Hamburger Helper become a family’s feast; where everyday, women of color fend off poverty’s disrepair with a screwdriver, a wrench and a ‘don’t-f*ck-with-me’ attitude and mend the egregious harm visited by an indifferent world with a box of Band-Aids, a mother’s kiss and a prayer.

She knows that her man is often the last one hired and the first one fired, or denied promotion because of the color of his skin, and that the only thing standing between succor and an explosion of long-repressed rage is her tender touch and her knowing, understanding, tempering whisper.

She’s heard the awful wail of sirens announcing to the neighborhood that one of its own has fallen by violence or drugs or police brutality; she knows that a job—any job—is the difference between survival one week and homelessness the next; she knows that for far too many people, there no bootstraps, only tenacity and determination. She knows all of the things that Clarence Thomas has either forgotten or chosen to run away from.

But more importantly, she knows that justice sometimes turns, one way of the other, on an accent, a name, gender, or belief in an ‘alien’, unpopular religion. She knows that Obama’s remarkable ascension has not spelled the end of discrimination or inequality, and she knows, in her gut, in her heart and in her mind, that the law isn’t inflexible, intransigent or inexorable, but moved by the zeitgeist, the popular whim, and the jurisprudence of sages with the courage and the wisdom to do the right thing.

That’s why we’ve seen in our history Supreme Court decisions as varied and polar opposite as Dred Scott v. Sanford and Brown v. Board of Education.

There was no reason for Sotomayor to be remotely apologetic about the truth as she sees it, because, in the end, justice is about empathy—and a wise Hispanic woman who knows all those things will be able to deliver lawful and just respite to those who occupy the forgotten places where less astute white men, for far too long, have dared not tread—or even bothered to notice.

Dios bendiga al pueblo y Dios bendiga hermana Sonia Sotomayor!

In his own words: A Conversation with Negro League legend Buck O’Neil

18 Jul

Buck_O'NeilBy Chris Murray

Editor-in-Chief of  the Chris Murray Report

When I was a sportswriter/columnist with the Philadelphia Tribune back in 2005, I wrote a series of articles on the plight of African-Americans in baseball. One of the stories that I wrote focused on the impact that former Negro League players had on Major League Baseball once the game was integrated. One of the people that I interviewed for this series for this series was legendary Negro League manager the late John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil (born:November 13 1911-died: October 6, 2006).

O’Neil was Satchel Paige’s roommate on the road during the course of their barnstorming throughout the country. He shared the stories of Paige’s exploits in a number of documentaries including Ken Burns acclaimed PBS series, “Baseball.”

Among baseball historians and well-wishers, he was the unofficial ambassador of the Negro Leagues. O’Neil was the griot of the Negro Leagues who regaled Americans, regardless of races, with the tales of Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, and “Cool Papa Bell. Even beyond Negro League Baseball, O’Neil was a student, if not a professor, of baseball history in general.

And by the way, O’Neil wasn’t bad as a player either. In the 1942 Negro League World Series against the Homestead Grays, he batted .353 as the Monarchs came away with a four-game sweep. He played in three East-West All-Star Classics. He also won the All-Star game four times as a manager. O’Neil also won four league titles as a manager of the Monarchs.

In 1956, O’Neil was hired by the Chicago Cubs as a scout. Two of the three his prized pupils—Ernie Banks and Lou Brock became legends and Hall of Famers. Joe Carter, another O’Neil recruit, hit the decisive home run to help the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series. O’Neil was also the first African-American coach in the major leagues.

I had the pleasure of meeting O’Neil back in 2004 at a Black Tie dinner to raise money for a Negro League monument in West Philadelphia. During that dinner, O’Neil showed the people gathered at that event his ability to bridge the gap between by having them hold hands while he led everyone in song. During the course of that discussion, he had nothing but good things to say about his experiences in the old Negro Leagues.

My interview with O’Neil took place on August 15, 2005 for the Tribune’s Blacks in Baseball supplement. We talked about the impact Negro League players had on baseball once the game was integrated, but we talked about other subjects as well.

In the craft of journalism, we like to write glowing prose about interesting people we interview. But there are also times when it is necessary for us to get out of the way and allow our sources to have the floor. And so to quote the Staple Singers, let us get out the way and let the gentleman do his thing. Buck O’Neil in his own words:

What Jackie Robinson and other Negro League players brought to Major League Baseball:

“Actually, Jackie Robinson took Negro League baseball to the Major Leagues. It was a different brand of baseball. Babe Ruth came, Babe Ruth hit the homerun. That changed baseball altogether, everybody was waiting for somebody to hit the ball out of the ball park. But in the Negro Leagues, you hit and run. You bunt and run. You stole the bases. You did these things and so this is what Jackie took the major leagues. Yeah, see they hadn’t seen anything like Jackie Robinson. Uh-huh. Jackie changed the way they played baseball. I remember the time before Jackie Robinson, a guy was on third base, the pitcher was going to wind up and pitch. But after Jackie, they had to come to the set (stretch) position because Jackie would steal home and would catch them winding up there. That changed baseball.”

On the intensity that Negro League ball players brought to the game

“They sure did. Didn’t nobody want Jackie to beat them and so they had to change the way they had been doing things. They used stand back, way back in deep shortstop. Uh huh…deep second base, third base, first place. Jackie came and the Negro League ball players came and you had to take a couple steps in because we brought quickness to baseball, that we brought to basketball, we brought to football ….uh huh. We brought a quickness that hadn’t been known in baseball.

“Negro League ball players going into the major leagues, he had to be better. If he wasn’t better, there ain’t no way for him to take a white boy’s job. You (MLB) were taking the cream of crop. You’re going to take the cream and that’s just what was happening. You were picking the best athletes in the world.”

“The Black ball player was accustomed to hustle. They wanted to be and they had to be the best that they could be to compete at this level because the whole country put their arm around say a Lou Gehrig. But that wasn’t the same thing with a Jackie Robinson, or a Frank Robinson and a Larry Doby.”

African-American ball players and the importance of education and historically Black colleges:

“The Negro League Ball Player…this was an intelligent man. In the major leagues, during my tenure, one percent of major league baseball players were college men. The major leagues wanted them right out of high school. Soon as the they got of high school, they put them in the minor leagues. In the Negro Leagues, 40 percent of Negro Leaguers were college men, man. We always spring trained in Black college towns. That’s who we played in spring training. We played the college ball club. When the college season was over, they would come and play baseball in the Negro Leagues. When the season was over, they’d go back to school, go back to teaching. Oh man, that was the Negro League Ball player.”

Why the American League was slow at bringing in Black baseball players:

“The Yankees didn’t need no Black ball players, Boston didn’t need no Black ball players, they were filling up the ball parks. They filling up the ball parks. … They were slow in doing it, the American League was drawing the people. If you think about it now, before integration the American League was winning the majority of the All-Star games, but when they come and put that Black power in there in the National League, (American League) couldn’t beat them.”

Jackie Robinson, Philadelphia and Southern players: “Of course, you had a lot of Southern players on that Philadelphia ball club. When you think about it, the majority of the baseball players at that time were from the South. These are white guys and they were strictly segregationists. …

We’re (Kansas City Monarchs) playing in Yankee Stadium and Branch Rickey called me and said ‘Buck come out—[this is Jackie’s first year]– and bring the team to see Jackie.’ During batting practice, I went down on the field. I’m talking to Pee Wee Reese and the second baseman and I said, ‘is Jackie going to make it? And they said, ‘we’re going to see that he makes it.’And these are Southern boys. You know down there in Cincinnati they’re booing Jackie and that’s when Pee Wee came and put his arm around Jackie’s shoulder. That stopped the booing and he’s a Southern boy.”

On Robinson congratulating the 1950 Phillies for winning the National League Pennant after their harsh treatment of him:

“Jackie was so much bigger than many of those people. Another thing, too. What you got to realize and a lot of people don’t realize…the people that was booing Jackie wasn’t baseball fans. This was the Klan. This was the haters who might not have gone to a ball games in their life. That’s what they came to do—Hate. But the real baseball fans, can you play?”

His concern about the lack of Africans-Americans in baseball and his view of how it happened:

“Of course, but we’re changing that now because of the RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) program and they’re bringing baseball back in the inner city. They moved baseball out of the inner city to the suburbs. When I came along, all of the churches had baseball teams and baseball leagues. In the inner city, all the kids played baseball. They played baseball and baseball was actually a way out for the Black kids. What happened was the Black kid started taking over basketball, taking over football, so they wanted a spot for the white kid, so they moved baseball out of the inner city and they put up basketball courts in the inner city so kids can shoot the baskets and they can shoot baskets all night long if they wanted to. It kind of backfired on them because now the Latin kids are taking over baseball and the kids from foreign countries are taking over baseball. I remember the times when the middle infielders were white kids—5-foot-10, 170 pounds. The middle infielder, the centerfielder—that’s the Latin kid now because he brings that quickness and that strong arm to baseball. That little white boy was good, but what he’s doing now he’s going to soccer and things like that. When you look at ball clubs now, the winning ball clubs, you see these Latin players on the team.

“Right here in Kansas City, we’ve got 400 kids playing baseball and softball in the inner city. They got 1,000 kids in New York City doing that, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, St. Louis. Wait until about 10 years from now, you’re going to see a lot of Black kids back into Major League baseball.”

The hostility that young Black players faced in the minors in the South during the early years of integration:

“It was terrible, it was terrible. Jackie played in Montreal. That was a different story than playing in Savannah, Georgia. What these guys had to put up with was tough. But we had the same spirit that our forefathers had when they got out of slavery. You know what I mean. This was baseball. We are the greatest survivors that ever lived. They learned to survive even before they integrated baseball.”

Don’t Believe the Hype: Countering the Madness of Sports Media

10 Jul

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

After observing the coverage of this week’s events in the sports world by the mainstream media, I now know why I believe that sports journalism is headed down the path of day-time talk shows like Jerry Springer.

Watching the talking heads on networks like ESPN or reading other pundits on websites like FOXNews.com is just like watching a bad car crash, you want just want to see how bad it’s going to really get.

But when you hear the symphony of overly sanctimonious media pundits spouting their mindless, biased rhetoric to go along with their endless clichés, I also feel compelled the shut if off completely because it’s often nonsensical.

This week, I was watching coverage of Manny Ramirez getting ejected from the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0 win over the New York Mets this past Wednesday. Ramirez struck out on a ball that was clearly out of the strike zone. Of course, Manny threw his bat and his elbow pad in disgust and was immediately tossed out of the game by umpire John Hirschbeck. Of course, the ESPN punditry chided Manny for not helping his team by being ejected—even though he drove in three runs and never mind that Hirschbeck’s call was clearly wrong and wreaked of anti-Manny bias in the wake of his recent suspension.

In other words, Ramirez is on double-secret probation for the rest of the season and for that matter the rest of his career because of his possible use of steroids and for the way he left his former team, the Boston Red Sox. If Manny blows his nose the wrong way, you can rest assured some pundit is going to cry outrage.

Then there was that magnificent purveyor of hot air FOXNews.com columnist—Jason Whitlock whose most recent rantings have said Serena Williams and her 11 Grand slam in women’s are an example of “under achievement” and that folks should stop calling the late Steve McNair a “hero” for fooling around on his wife in one breath and then condoning it as a “man thing” in another breath. Wow.

The problem that I have with all the hot air that I see, read, and hear in sports is that it has nothing do with keeping the public informed, but instead it’s about showmanship. It’s about getting people on a panel so they can yell and scream at each other. It’s about who can be up and arms with some faulty premise that is outright racist, sexist or offensive enough to get people going so the  big networks can rake in all the ratings. It screams for you outrage, so you can keep watching .

Back in 2007 when Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy headed ho’s”, Comcast Sportsnet had me on as a guest on Daily News Live to discuss the issue with Whitlock, who saw it as C. Vivian Stringer making herself a martyr of some sort. Of course, I said Imus’s comments were not only racist, but obscured what Rutgers had to go through to get to the National Championship game that season.

The exchange between Whitlock and myself was heated to the point that it became a sound byte on Comcast’s daily newscast- Sportsnight. At the end of the broadcast, I got a big high-five from the host of Daily News Live—not because of the good points I made to counter Whitlock’s silly arguments, but because it was good theater, compelling television. About a day later, one of my friends called me and said that he got a call from another friend to click on Comcast to see the fireworks between me and Whitlock.

Another thing that adds to the show is the creation of good guys versus bad guys. In the whole steroids scandal, the mainstream media demonized the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and even Roger Clemens as cheaters, but failed to report how performance-enhancing drugs was a problem through out the sport and that those who run MLB looked the other way and indeed profited from it.

Even with steroids allegations against McGwire and Clemens, Black and Hispanic steroids users Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa are the most vilified in the mainstream media. It’s easy for middle America to hate these guys and you all know why. When you see their images, it’s like the character Goldstein in George Orwell’s 1984 whose image would spark two minutes of frenzied hate.

The bottom-line here is that what you see in the mainstream media today amounts to nothing more than pontification and innuendo. It is all about rhetoric and very little context. It’s not there to inform or to analyze, but to entertain and get ratings, web hits, and boost circulation. In short, there are too many pundits and loudmouths and not enough good reporting. It’s all about the spectacle and the self-serving, self-righteousness of some talking head. Don’t be surprised if you see sports columnists engaging in fisticuffs on one of those panel shows. That will be the next big thing under the sports big top.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the mainstream media is not going to change unless it becomes profitable for them to change or unless people simply stop watching. As a journalist, I don’t get too upset over some of the nonsense that I see in the mainstream media because I have the power of my own outlets including my own blog to counteract the misinformation you see at the so-called major media outlets.

And in this vast information superhighway of the websites, blogs, and podcasts, the major media outlets aren’t the only places where you can get your sports fix. There are plenty of media outlets on the web whether you’re talking about Black Athlete.com or Dave Zirin’s Edge of Sports that often challenge the party line of commercial media.

Even if you’re not a journalist, you can always flood the networks, websites and print media outlets with letters and emails to express your displeasure with what you’re seeing or reading.

If you decide to start your own media outlet because you’re fed up with what you’re getting or not getting from the major media outlets, go after the stories the mainstream won’t touch, challenge their rhetoric not by sanctimonious grandstanding, but by coming out with the facts and reporting things in their proper context.

You don’t have to call anybody names or talk about their mommas in the process because the weight of truth always trumps misinformation and misplaced outrage.