Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jemele Hill

Continuing my rant against the self-promoting media types, Jemele Hill was suspended by ESPN (yes, ESPN) for making comments comparing the Boston Celtics to Adolf Hitler.

Part of the column read, "Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It's like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan."

"Jemele has been relieved of her writing and on-air responsibilities for a period of time to reflect on the impact of her words," an ESPN spokesperson said in a statement.

Interestingly enough, I did a little research and found my own comments about Hill just last year on Packerchatters. Seems like just yesterday I said:

It's the "Jim Rome-ification" of the media, especially ESPN. Listening to some of these announcers get assigned to "rant" is very, very tiring.

"Quick, go type up some negative article and rant on it. That's what our readers and fans have come to expect."

That's why I've never been a Rome fan. He lives on the rant. His AOL keyword is "rants". Why would you make that your keyword? I mean, that's his shtick? How can you find something to rant about every single day? You have to look and search and sometimes exaggerate (if not lie about) your true feelings...why? So you can keep the commericals coming.

This lady looks like she's just looking to be the next Stephen A Smith, another wanna-be if I ever saw one. Ignore her and maybe she'll go away.

But, she didn't go away, and she continued her shtick until it finally bit her in the butt. After getting on a soapbox and decrying Don Imus for some rather stereotypical comments about the Rutgers basketball team, she turned around and returned the favor with her own offensive remarks. If you read the rest of her article, it certainly puts the "Hitler" reference in a rather racial context:

Admittedly, to some degree it was about race. Detroit is 80 percent African-American, and as my colleague J.A. Adande stated in a fantastic piece on the Celtics earlier this season, the mostly white Celtics teams of the past had a tough time being accepted by black audiences. Boston was viewed by African-Americans as a racially intolerant city. Boston was the home of the infamous Charles Stuart case -- in which a white man murdered his pregnant wife and blamed it on a black suspect who didn't exist.
She goes on to then say it isn't about race then why mention it in the first place? And why mention one of the biggest white supremacists in the history of mankind to describe rooting for the Celtics?

On ESPN, she offered a quasi-repentant apology:
"I deeply regret the comment I made in a column Saturday. In expressing my passion for the NBA and my hometown of Detroit I showed very poor judgment in the words that I used. I pride myself on an understanding of, and appreciation for, diversity - and there is no excuse for the appalling lack of sensitivity in my comments. It in no way reflects the person I am. I apologize to all of my readers and I thank them for holding me accountable. This has been an important lesson for me and illustrates that, like many people, I still have a lot of growing and learning to do."

This is amusing for a couple of reasons. For one, on her own blog, instead of taking accountability for her words, she lashes out at those who criticized her, pulling the most low-brow of journalistic defenses: "you don't spell things right, so your entire opinion must be wrong".

Times like these, you know who has your back and who doesn't. I'm extremely grateful that I have a strong support network. I've gotten some great emails from people I really respect.

Everything else on this matter will be addressed at a later time.
But just a couple of things I'd like to point out before moving on to that Game 6 atrocity (for the Lakers). 1. It's H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E. If you're going to call me that, just wanted to make sure you have the correct spelling. 2. If you're going to call me a racist and want your point to stick, it kind of levels the argument when you follow it up by calling me the n-word. Just a little bit.
No mention of the people that thought she might have been a hypocrite or a racist and didn't misspell anything or used the n-word. That's one of the most glaring straw man attacks I've seen for quite a while: attack the most ridiculous of the opposing points and have it somehow debase the entire argument.

So, what do you think are her real feelings: the apology, or the blog?

Second point: Jemele isn't exactly known for her acceptance of others' apologies.

Jock Apologies Are Really Sorry
Pettitte's apology was a joke
Apology to Duke lacrosse players not enough
We're not buying it, Roger

So, essentially, do we expect her apology to be sincere? Accepted? She keeps threatening to address the "rest of this issue" at a later time.

It's time to stop giving this lady so much attention. I'm not going to wait for "a later time" to see what else she has to say. ESPN has as much culpability in this situation as she did, because they approved the web article and posted it for all to see, likely because they, too, love that Jim Rome/Stephen A. Smith/Don Imus shock value that brings them ratings. (Indeed...I just made about ten hits on just to get links for this article)

But she is going to get as much faith in her sincere apology as she gives pretty much everyone else. She seems to expect a tremendous amount of penance for others' misdeeds. I wonder if she's really willing to live up to what she expects of them.

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