Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bryant Gumbel or Rush Limbaugh?

"Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don’t like them and won’t watch them ... Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts 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 pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin."- Bryant Gumbel on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel


Thank you for your opinion concerning the Winter Olympics. I must agree that the ancient Greeks probably didn't spend much time ice skating or skiing. True enough. It is probably also true that the ancient Greeks didn't have a kiss-and-cry area. I wish we didn't either. (To be fair, those who were the earliest developers of football didn't know what hashmarks or the forward pass were, either, but let's not confuse the issue here.) Sure, there are some events that aren't all that interesting. I don't like any event that relies on judges to decide the outcome. So, there are some events I don't watch.

But let's get something straight. Most of the athletes in the Winter Olympics are not black because most of them come from countries that don't have too many blacks as their citizens. According to the CIA Factbook, most countries that send athletes to the winter games don't even have a percentage of black people listed in a breakdown of their ethnic groups.

So, Bryant, I ask you: if a country doesn't have black people living there, how are they possibly supposed to include them on their Olympic team?

But I suppose it would be more to the point to talk about the United States instead of the world in general since I suppose your comments were directed more at us than anyone else. Do you really think that the US Olympic team discriminates against any ethnic group? Do you really think they would sacrifice a chance at a medal just so their could be one more white face in the games? C'mon, Bryant. That's just dumb. The Olympics, at least in my lifetime, have always been about making political statements and inclusion more than anything else.

Remember Rush Limbaugh and his comment about Donovan McNabb? All he said was that he thought McNabb was overrated but the media gives him a pass because he is black. Wow! What an outrage! Fire the guy! Rush was hired by ESPN to stir things up. When he did, ESPN fired him. Your comment is more inflammatory than his, yet I doubt HBO is pushing you out the door. I wonder why?

But I digress. If you were trying to get people riled up, if you were hoping to boost your ratings/coverage, then kudos to you. The time I spent writing this piece is the most time I have thought about you or any show that you are/were on since you got caught mouthing the f-word about a conservative guest you interviewed on the CBS morning show a few years ago. But if your opinion about the Olympics and their ties to the GOP is you actual opinion, then you're an idiot.

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