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.