Friday, June 23, 2006

Look at the singing Chewbacca!

I spotted this on the Huffington Post today. It's a YouTube video of a fight during what looks like a junior high basketball game where one of the kids lays a hard foul in the back of another kid as they are going down the court and the other kid clotheslines him in the throat, knocks him to the ground and starts pummeling him. Adults rush in and pull the kid off after a few punches.

Because it's between a black kid and a white kid, the comments on this post are filled with some awful racist trolling. Here are a few examples:
Clear evidence of Black hatred, and the cheapness of life with Afro-Americans. That boy would have been beaten to death, if not for people rushing in to stop the brutality.Caucasian Hating Liberals privately enjoyed it, and do gymnastics to blame whitey.
Liberals have brainwahsed Blacks into believing, their violent actions can be justified, by making excuses for violent Blacks.
By: CaptainAmericana on June 23, 2006 at 10:31am

It's good to see the black race is no longer taking crap from whites. Everyone saw the cheap shot the white player took, the black player reacted to a threat from a white racist. Note to whites: We're sick of your shit and not going to take it anymore!
By: mountainbiker on June 23, 2006 at 10:20am

The trolls know that crap like this gets everyones panties in bunch, particularly about the terrible role models in hiphop for African American kids and the video games for our suburban white kids and how our sports hero's don't measure up to the icons of yesteryear blah blah blah blah...

Stories like this drive me nuts. There often is an apriori assumption here that there is a golden age of civility in sports that existed where sportsmanship reined supreme and nothing uncivil like this ever happened. You see it's that OTHER GUY that is ruining everything. Insert your favorite race/class/political/gender OTHER GUY here.

In regards to this video, let me tell you a story. Where I grew up in the wilds of suburban North Jersey, I attended a Private all boys Catholic high school. It was among the premier sports powers in the state, as Catholic schools often are since they often can recruit in everyone's else's district (A rant for another time). Our big rival was another all boys Catholic school further upstate. Prior to my freshman year there, the schools had been banned by the State Athletic league from competing against each other in any sport for seven years. Yes, Seven freakin years, no basketball games, football, track, you name it. WHY you ask? Because during a basketball game between the schools a brawl broke it during the game that engulfed the entire arena and turned into a riot. Lets review: Two private, relatively expensive Catholic schools, where you had to pass a test to qualify to gain entrance, got into a brawl so big they had to be banned from competing. The punchline of this story is that it wasn't the players who started the fight, it was the Parents.. DOH!

Brawling in sports is nothing new. Whether or not our world today is less civil, our culture more coarse, or tolerance for violence too high is a legitimate debate certainly. But grasping onto events like this, as folks often do to prove their pet theories about culture, race, video games, or whatever is specious to say the least. The belief in a nonviolent golden age in sports is exaggerated. If there has been a change, it's not the kids, it's the parents. In this instance, the truth is Basketball is a contact sport where the players do not wear pads. You get hard fouls, you give hard fouls, it's part of the game. Occasionally, guys lose it and they retaliate way beyond the level of provocation. It's always been that way. I've seen guys get coldcocked for pushes in the back that I would barely register. This happens in all sports. The kid in the video lost it. It doesn't matter in the least what their color was. If you want to blame someone, blame the refs for no whistle for an obvious foul. This stuff often occurs when they lose control of the game or are not competent enough to keep the contact from escalating.

This is a small example of the phenomena. The Duke rape case is another. Everyone jumped on their preferred ideological bandwagon, egged on by the news channels that use stories like this for entertainment purposes. I'm looking at you Nancy Grace. So our discussion about race hinges on kids games and criminal accusations, but school test scores, or incarceration rates, or the crisis in providing health care to the uninsured is boring policy nuance that causes people to switch over to American Idol? Look at the singing Chewbacca!

Do we have to cede the debate to the racists and the manipulators? Can we just look behind the curtain and say, fsck you Wizard, I'm not buying that today? A kids fight is just a kids fight, not an excuse to get your race war on. I won't judge a criminal accusation in the Duke case until I know more of the facts. I'll refrain from using the tragedy at Columbine to justify my political agenda. The disappearance of nice blonde girl in Aruba is a tragedy, maybe I should get concerned about all the missing girls and boys here in this country who don't look like Barbie. I won't take the bait offered by greedy media programmers and venal politicos who regard me as a easily manipulated dufus who salivates on command.

Okay I'm done.

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