Colin Cowherd Addresses John Wall Criticism
This morning, after issuing a half-apology for his 2010 comments on John Wall's maturity yesterday, Colin Cowherd attempted to clarify how, no matter what you say about the NBA, it will be viewed through a racial prism. He suggested that his controversial conclusions on John Wall -- which were based on a dance he did before his first home game -- had nothing to do with race.
I make comments about John Wall, [which] have nothing to do with race -- it's a racial story. If I made them about Colin Kaepernick, who cares? I made them about Vince Young. Who cares? But the NBA adopts a dress code and David Stern was suddenly called a racist. You are always dealing with race.
On one hand, yes, Cowherd probably didn't intend for his take to be perceived as having anything to do with Wall being African-American. But to say that he's “not a sharp guy” because he did a 10 second dance from a hip-hop video is, implicitly, racial -- if not outright racist.
That's like labeling someone an idiot for wearing their pants below their hips, or saying someone can't read because they're wearing a flat brimmed hat. These are cultural symbols -- not objective indicators of intelligence. Cowherd undoubtedly jumped the gun when he labeled John Wall as one of "the have-nots" that "never get it"; not because Wall was one of the haves -- he lost his father at eight years old -- but because Cowherd's steadfast rules on what makes people successful are sweeping generalizations occasionally informed by racial stereotypes.
"I have been watching sports since I was 8 years old," Cowherd continued. "There are things I know. The NBA and race gets people all worked up."
Ya, that's because when you watch the NBA, you have to reconcile your preconceived notions of what a "smart" person looks like with the moral imperative to avoid judging players based on the fact that they may not dress, dance or speak like you. It's the only sport where fans have to watch black athletes express themselves as human being. That's what gets people worked up -- not the sheer amount of "African-American stars," as Cowherd thinks.
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