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Tim Tebow and the Idiotic “Race” Argument

I’ll be honest. I started writing this piece on Sunday with an entirely different beginning. After the Willis McGahee fumble, I really thought this was going to be a post-mortem piece for the Tebow phenomenon. But we all saw what happened in the waning moments in that game in Denver yesterday. Instead of a look back at why this guy is such a story, now I get another chapter.

Frankly, I’ve grown a bit weary of the the “he sucks/he doesn’t suck” debate.  But what I do find curious are the lengths people will go to detract from what this guy has accomplished.  There’s a lot of theories as to why so many people have such a hatred of Tebow, but there’s two which really stand out in my mind.

The first is to me the most credible.  Tim Tebow offends the “fantasy football” crowd’s mentality; the one that says a quarterback has to be a guy who throws for three hundred yards and 3 touchdowns every game.  There’s really no question that Tebow doesn’t look like a “conventional” NFL quarterback, and he sure as hell doesn’t play like one.  But there’s also no questioning he puts up a stat which fantasy geeks don’t count: wins.

I don’t understand this mind-set, but at least it doesn’t offend me like the second one does. If it wasn’t bad enough that the race-baiting clowns at ESPN have to ascribe the Tebow phenomenon to racism,  they are giving creedence to other black misanthropes who make me ashamed I share the same race with them.

The worst I’ve seen so far is by a guy who calls himself  Chauncey DeVega. Honestly, I can’t tell if this guy is just a bad satiricist, or a genuine race-baiter like Stephen A. Smith; you know the type, the guy who thinks every bad thing that’s ever happened to a black person anywhere at anytime is always an example of racism.

Chauncey, or whoever you are, if you are aiming for satire, you missed.  You simply aren’t funny; in fact it is your incessant playing to stereotypes (including your profile pic of Fred G. Sanford holding a can of malt liquor) that reeks of an unimaginative mind. Even your own self-description smack of part irrelevant college student meets the Black Panthers.

Chauncey DeVega is a race man in progress and occasional polemicist. He is also a resplendent purveyor of negro wisdom and collector of Black wit. Holder of the sacred chalice of the Ghetto Nerds. A believer in Black Pragmatism and the glories of the Black Freedom Struggle.

I had never read such utter rubbish; that is until I read the meat of his article on Tebow.

I am a Patriots fan. I loved watching Tebow get owned by Tom Brady. I also believe that Tebow is grossly overrated, and his popularity is a function of Christian Dominionist born again shtick and the “novelty” of a white quarterback with a “black” style of play. In many ways, Tebow is the Eminem of the NFL, with the latter being imminently more talented. Alternatively, we can suggest that Tebow is to black quarterbacks who play at HBCU’s as white girls who are “thick” are to black women with the same physiques. One is “exotic”; the other is “ordinary” and “typical.”

This is really why I lean toward Chauncey being a race-baiter. In one paragraph, he’s managed to both piss on the graves of those who died in the name of the Civil Rights movement while turning a discussion about a football player into on of divisive racial stereotypes.  Chauncey, I’m not sure which professor at whichever community college you attend filled your head with crap like “Christian Dominionist,” but suffice it to say that tack misses a couple of major points which you ignore at your own peril.

By offering the supposition that somehow Christians are anti-black not only ignores the reality that many of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement were (and in many cases still are) in fact Christian clergy. But worse than that, it does so with the same sort of generalist thinking that leaders like Rev. Martin Luther King were rallying against in the first place. King’s vision of a world in which people are judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin would also be a world in which you would not be able to take the intellectually lazy way out of this discussion by simply playing to stereotypes and blaming everything on race.

Not to mention, if you haven’t noticed, Christianity fell out of social acceptance in this country about 20 years ago. The broom of “political correctness” swept all things Christian from the public eye; turning America into country where people lose their jobs for saying horribly offensive things like “Merry Christmas.”

So, not only is the stereotyping of Christians wrong, it doesn’t make any sense.  If you doubt that’s what you are doing, Chauncey, consider this.  Nothing makes the stereotyping of a group of people more effective than salting that accusation with some loaded “code” words.

In all, the ESPN round table hits on a number of issues, and while they over read “racism” and “racial resentment” into the Tebow debate, the panelists are spot on in that a black quarterback who played like him would not get any of his shine.

I’ll give you credit here; you don’t just hide behind some vagueries, you come right out with it.  Your assertion is that Tebow is only getting “shine” because he is white; but take the inverse argument: Would a black quarterback get as much criticism?  The answer is no, and there’s a specific reason. Nobody else wants to get “Limbaughed.”

Remember the short-lived tenure of Rush Limbaugh as an ESPN football analyst? Regardless of your opinion of Limbaugh, anyone who has ever listened to him would agree that he is controversial. This, of course, is exactly why ESPN hired him. Of course, the minute he says something controversial, ESPN sprints into hand-wringing mode and essentially forces him to resign for doing exactly that for which he was hired. Not to mention that the comments he made about Donovan McNabb and the NFL are as true today as they were when Limbaugh said them in 2003.

“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,” Limbaugh said. “There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

There is only one racial code word in that quote. What is there is honest criticism of a black football player.  I’m a black man, and a life-long Eagles fan, and every word Limbaugh said was true. McNabb did get a lot of credit for the performance of the Eagles that he didn’t deserve.  Despite that, Limbaugh got fired for being a “racist.”

But wait…there’s more from Chauncey; it’s the final nail in the coffin that says he is every bit the racist blowhard he accuses others of being.

Is Tebow the great white hope? And what does this tell us about race and sports–what should be the greatest of all meritocracies where none of these questions of identity ought to matter–but where the real world offers no such comforts?

Did you catch the code word in there? It a subtle one, yet it is powerful and  Chauncey used it in a way designed to conjure images of real racism from the past.  It was part of Obama’s campaign sloganeering as he ran one of the most racially-charged campaigns in presidential history.  It’s the one code word Limbaugh used it to describe the attitude of a media who wanted a black quarterback to do well. And Chauncey used it in the most vile and self-serving way to hark back to a day when black athletes were geniunely mistreated.

That word is “hope.”

It reminds me of the time LeBron James tried to blame racism as the reason for the  backlash against him following the infamous “decision.”  James hoped the world would throw a ticker-tape parade for him taking his talents to South Beach.  Instead, when he got criticized, he pouted and cried racism.

“I think so at times. It’s always, you know, a race factor,” said James, according to a CNN transcript. James personal adviser Maverick Carter said he thought race “definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure.”

Why does this matter? Because for one, Chauncey and LeBron have something in common. They either don’t know or don’t care that being a middle-class adult black male in America today still isn’t an easy thing.  Its bad enough that I have to deal with a country full of liberal white do-gooders who by definition devalue everything I do through their inverted racism known as “Affirmative Action.” Its bad enough that I have to watch black people who should know better continue to deflect responsibility for their own actions on a daily basis. But the worst part is when I watch guys like Chauncey and LeBron stoke both those fires by selfishly and needlessly injecting race into a situation where it was not part of the original problem.

The fundamental problem here is that even as misguided as most of the things white liberals “have done for blacks” are, it still makes them believe that they have carried a lot of water to douse the flames of past injustices.  So, when guys like LeBron and Chauncey or that charlatan Jesse Jackson start painting everything with the racist brush just because they didn’t get your way over something, it lessens the meaning of the word “racism.” If guys like this continue to do this, soon the word will be meaningless; white people are already starting to tune out to it. In other words, white people are getting tired of reaching out to the “black community” and getting called names for the effort.

LeBron, America hates you because you acted like a douchebag, not because you are black. Chauncey, Tim Tebow gets as much flack as he does “shine;” the “shine” comes from the fact that he a “circus freak,” there’s never been a guy this fundamentally bad who wins, not because he is white. But the bottom line is this. Save the racism charges for when they are relevant, and when you make them, make sure they make sense.  Otherwise, you’re doing more harm than good.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

12 comments on “Tim Tebow and the Idiotic “Race” Argument

  1. I’m glad you wrote about this, man.

    I was watching First Take that day and heard Kordell gripe about his not getting enough chances, along with many other black quarterbacks.

    I wanted to say… Vince Young anyone?

    Or how about Michael Vick, who clearly has the talent level to warrant being a starting quarterback, but if anyone got a second chance at $100 million, it was Vick.

    Kordell didn’t get his a) because he sucked and b) because he couldn’t sell tickets or jerseys.

    As a Gator alum, I’m glad to see a kid like Tebow get the gig as well as the insane pub he’s getting.

    Personally, I thought yesterday’s was one of the most exciting games of the year. Would that game have attracted the ratings it did (highest in 24 years) had Orton been their quarterback, or would Denver even have had a shot in the game?

    Probably not, but we watched, football fans and non-football fans alike because we never know what we’re gonna get with Tebow.

    Haters, put aside the hate and just watch the football games. Or maybe just watch it on your black and white TVs where color won’t be as much of an issue.

    Like

  2. brief22
    January 9, 2012

    Race has absolutely nothing to do with Tebow’s popularity. Last year, Vick was just as popular.

    Like

  3. chauncey devega
    January 9, 2012

    This was forwarded to me. Appreciated.

    Thanks! I am always pleased to be part of the enlightened discourse that passes for intelligent conversation in the right-wing/sports/talk radio media sphere.

    Good stuff. You don’t “get” what WARN is about and that is okay, but do come around to hang out. You also take yourself too seriously and lack a sense of humor.

    Community college? Now that was just a bit of aspirational projection on your part 😉 You and I both know that you didn’t even get that far.

    How can you not love Redd Foxx by the way?

    As long as the Pats win, and hopefully McDaniels will be an asset in that regard, I am at peace.

    And yes, the Christian Dominionist crowd is pulling for Tebow, the folks who eat up all that saved, Christian ID mess are a cult–as though God himself/herself/itself gives one iota about a football game. Talk about mass psychosis.

    Like

    • JW
      January 10, 2012

      Right wing? Nice volley on the “community college” cheap shot…taken in the spirit it was intended.

      Thanks for the invite, but I’d already read a lot of your work; there’s a reason why I picked you as the example in this case. See, contrary to your belief, I understand exactly what your site is about. Feel free to explain it to me if you feel I’m wrong.

      Oh, as for the sense of humor thing…that tells me you didn’t read anything beyond this post before you made another of those generalized statements you seem to be so fond of.

      Like

  4. Jsportsfan
    January 9, 2012

    I’ve heard much more criticism of Tebow than praise. In fact the only that has praised Tebow from Day 1 is Skip Bayless and that is over the top. Very well written and passionate column about a very delicate subject. Kudos for giving me something to think about as always. And yes Lebron is a douche!

    Like

  5. Blog Surface
    January 9, 2012

    This Tebow phenomenon is crazy. In all honesty, I still don’t buy in for some reason. Maybe it’s the “numbers” thing that you mentioned JW or maybe it’s even his skills as a QB. It just boggles my mind that he is as productive as he is showing. I might not be a Tebow fan but I know how hard it is to win in the NFL, which is why you gotta respect the man and give him some credit.

    Great post JW.

    Like

  6. J.B. Knox
    January 10, 2012

    I actually feel a bit bad for Tebow in some ways for what the Media has done to this story and how they have blown this good or bad, far out of control.

    1) He didn’t cause this to spiral out of control. ESPN or should we say TSPN has done this. I watch every episode of First Take and NFL Live, their coverage and love of Tebow and the credit given to a religious figure are the reason’s for the hate.

    Try doing this after the Pats game if you have Satellite TV. PIP ESPN and the NFL Network. You will notice a drastic difference in the coverage. The NFL Network will certainly have far less Tebow coverage, They will praise him if they should but have held steady in their criticism’s or praises. They will still have an interview with Justin Tuck of the Giants, Brees of the Saints etc.. It is baffling to me that a sports show such as ESPN First Take is 2 hours long and 1 hour and 45 minutes of it regurgitates the same questions about the same player while subbing panelists on the fly as if they play for the Oregon Ducks offense.

    2) Michael Vick has never been as popular as Tim Tebow is right now, not even close. Heck the Nielsen Ratings have proven this time and again. Tom Brady didn’t even receive this much coverage until after he won his 2nd Super Bowl and now he has 3 and may go down as arguably the GOAT QB if he wins his 4th Super Bowl this year, yet after this Super Bowl all of the talk will be centered around whether Tebow has earned the right to start next season or not.

    3) He has been given a serious amount of undue credit in my opinion. He is after-all a 1st round pick. They treat him like he is an un-drafted Superstar who is performing miracles. CMON people he hasn’t performed a miracle yet. The need for every 4th quarter comeback other than this Steelers game has been directly caused by his inabilities to play the game well in the first 3 quarters of those games.

    4)Did Marc Bulger get this credit when he took over for Kurt Warner? No. Did Brady when he took over for Bledsoe, Not for years after. Heck even Trent Dilfer had similar stat lines in 2000 and all that talk was about the defense, yet he was a game manager that didn’t turn the ball over yet won.

    5) I’m not sure how much racism is actually playing a part in this. Yes I agree with some of what Kordell Stewart had to say. He was forced to play other slash-like positions before he was a QB and did have better numbers than Tebow has had, in fact he lead the Steeler’s to the playoffs as a Starter if I am not mistaken. The thing that Stewart fails to recognize in his argument for race on the subject is that the Steeler fans weren’t chanting his name and begging for him to start as the Broncos fans have.

    6) I do feel like their is a religious factor involved in this and the fact that he gets supported for “Tebowing” is another baffling thing to me.

    “When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

    That is directly taken from the Gospel of Matthew, so the fact that he is being praised for his love and praise of the Lord, confounds me.

    All in all, it is as if he is a fad. Any player given this much air time will fall under the same divides as Tebow has thus far in his young career, but his post-games are starting to sound very scripted to me as if he is on a count to mention the Lord’s name a certain amount of times or something. I think that is what Chauncey was getting at when he mentioned “Christian Dominionist”

    Like

    • JW
      January 10, 2012

      Perfect point about Tebow’s being a first-round draft pick. Do you really think we would be talking about any of this if Tebow were a 5th rounder?

      Like

  7. J.B. Knox
    January 10, 2012

    The fundamental problem here is that even as misguided as most of the things white liberals “have done for blacks” are, it still makes them believe that they have carried a lot of water to douse the flames of past injustices. So, when guys like LeBron and Chauncey or that charlatan Jesse Jackson start painting everything with the racist brush just because they didn’t get your way over something, it lessens the meaning of the word “racism.” If guys like this continue to do this, soon the word will be meaningless; white people are already starting to tune out to it. In other words, white people are getting tired of reaching out to the “black community” and getting called names for the effort.

    This part of your article was very well said and I couldn’t agree more on the subject. It is such a slippery slope to deal with on both sides of what should be an invisible color-line, yet will never be invisible, unfortunately.

    I recall in my younger days growing up in South Boston, having rocks thrown at the windows on the bus I was sitting in for getting on a mixed -raced bus on my way to school. This of course was close to 10 years after the buses were desegregated there. And the people throwing the rocks were my own friends and their family members. So my reluctance to help and even communicate with friends I had of a different color was greatly affected by this.

    In the end you have to say that race is a factor in this debate. After all if people are debating the subject and are separated on the issue, then it has in fact, become part of the issue and thus deserves part of the blame whether it is 1% to 99% of the people feeling this way or 50%-50%. It is a shame that it is part of the discussion, but again TSPN is to blame on this one. By the way, Rob Parker is an absolute idiot

    Like

  8. JW
    January 10, 2012

    “It is a shame that it is part of the discussion, but again TSPN is to blame on this one. By the way, Rob Parker is an absolute idiot” – perfect point. Stephen A. Smith falls onto the idiot list as well…and don’t even get me started on Skip Bayless.

    Like

  9. sportsattitudes
    January 10, 2012

    Wow. Wow because I didn’t even know this kind of discussion was going on around Tim Tebow. Most talk about him off the field “stopped” at the chapel door in my experience. I’m just watching a guy play football and enjoying the enthusiasm his play generates. Have not thought about what color he is, what “color he plays like,” etc. I can’t identify. I do know discussion of his exploits is totally out of proportion, but so was coverage of the Miami Heat…the Philadelphia Eagles, etc. I never stop to dwell on why because I normally (now) don’t watch any “discussion” television. I try to just tune in for the actual events in most cases. One hour of pre-game for any event is all I can take anymore. Media saturates whatever stories they find sticky. I don’t look for the reasons. I try not to get stuck on what they are selling, whatever the reason.

    Like

  10. chappy81
    January 10, 2012

    I actually haven’t heard many race comments about Tebow, but then again when the talking heads start up a conversation about him (which is always) I try to change the channel. It just feels like he isn’t worth my time unless he’s playing in a game that day.

    I think the only reason I like Tebow at all is because he’s won me a decent amount of money on bets this year. I am happy that he’s going to be starting in Denver next season, it’ll give the Raiders a better shot at choking away the division again next year.

    Like

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