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Friday, April 9, 2010

A Tradition of Pomposity and Exclusion Like No Other

I had the misfortune of hearing ESPN’s Mike Greenberg practically genuflect talking about the Masters as he anticipated the pending “historic” Sunday in store for us because Tiger Woods is in contention. This is the same guy who talked about umpire Joe West ripping the snail’s pace of Red Sox – Yankees games with the sole intent of introducing audio of one of the multitude of ESPN commentators trying to discredit West. The story to “Greeny” wasn’t that somebody in the game finally mentioned the mind-numbing pace of “Sox – Yanks” games that his network would air 24/7 if they could, it was that someone from his network put the naysayer in his place.

I get that a lot of people love golf, and the Masters do boffo ratings. (Actually, people love watching Woods, but that’s a whole other issue.) But stop with the reverence for the game and talking about the players as if they’re athletes. First of all, the astonishment over Woods being able to contend after such a long layoff because he got caught cheating on his wife with any skank he stumbled upon is laughable. It’s golf! I’m guessing he had some time in-between sessions of sex therapy to play a few rounds.

Give me a break. Guys who get winded running up and down a basketball court once can go out and play two rounds of golf while swilling beer. There’s no defense that players need to re-adjust to. Woods wasn’t injured beyond some scrapes he got dodging his golf club wielding wife. He had plenty of time to go play round after round. It’s the only game covered as a major sport that an individual can simulate 100% in practice. There essentially was no true “layoff” except from playing in tournaments. He still played.

Besides that, the reverence is simply based on the elitist history of this game. Woods should be embarrassed for selecting the Masters for his return. By all accounts he chose it because of the “control” the Augusta golf course exercises over their crowd. This is code for keeping out the riffraff. You know, the people not worthy of entering their club. Kind of like how they “control” their membership, no? Reports are that they don’t have a single woman in their membership rolls, and never admitted their first black member until 1990 after they were embarrassed into doing so. (I’m guessing they haven’t gotten around to admitting any members with disabilities either. And no, a broken hip doesn’t count.)

That’s why it’s really no surprise that Billy Payne, who is the chairman of the racist golf course (sorry for the redundancy), had the gall to admonish Woods to kick off his tournament. “It is simply not the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here,” Payne said. “It is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children.”

So, Billy, is it better that y’all teacher your children that you only tolerate African Americans when you’re forced to? I’m fairly certain you weren’t holding Woods up as a role model to your kin folk anyway.

Sadly, the old man continued. “‘Is there a way forward? I hope yes. I think yes,’ Payne said. ‘But certainly, his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par; but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change. . . . I hope he now realizes that every kid he passes on the course wants his swing, but would settle for his smile.’”

In fact, Billy, his performance will always be measured by par. That’s why even one of the most racist organizations in America “allows” him on your golf course. And, by the way, the kids who may or may not benefit from seeing his smile won’t be anywhere near your golf course this or any other weekend, ‘cuz they just ain’t the right type. Right, Billy?

Finally, “Payne declined to discuss what type of security was in place, nor was he overly concerned that the return of Woods might overshadow a tournament that attracts the largest golf audience of the year. . . . ‘We are very secure in who we are, and the Masters has almost now a 74-year history,’ Payne said. ‘We just kind of do things our way. We are not threatened by other big news stories or things like that. . . . We at Augusta hope and pray that our great champion will begin his new life here [Thursday] in a positive, hopeful and constructive manner, but this time, with a significant difference from the past. . . . This year, it will not be just for him, but for all of us who believe in second chances.’”

What a guy, Billy. You sanctimonious jackass.

Week-in-Review. Billy wasn’t the only person making idiotic comments this week.

• Sam McNabb, Donovan’s father, on his son being traded on Easter Sunday, “‘Absolutely, it meant something,’ Sam McNabb told USA Today. ‘We were celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, right? Then we turn around and Donovan gets resurrected. Just perfect.’” The search for why Donnie never took the blame for a loss has officially ended. Good riddance, Sam. Go coddle son down in Washington.

• I heard this quote from professional lapdog Deion Sanders of the NFL Network via 97.5 The Fanatic referring to the McNabb trade: “First of all, I gathered myself and sat down because I couldn’t believe that this was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life, except for that Hershel Walker debacle years ago. But you trade a guy in your own division that you got to see him twice, and you have Kolb, McCoy, Maclin, and DeSean Jackson – seven years amongst the complete trio of playmakers that you have for an 11-year guy that has taken you to five NFC championships and a Super Bowl. Man, are you kidding me?” No Deion, the Eagles weren’t kidding. Are you kidding calling this analysis? Is the NFL Network kidding hiring you?

• With the idea of legalizing sports betting finally gaining momentum, there was this ludicrous argument against it from NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “It places players, coaches, and other team personnel, as well as game officials, at risk of pressure and threats from gamblers to affect the outcome of a game. If more gambling on single games were legalized, fan interest could be less focused on whether a team wins or loses and more about whether the point spread is covered.” Thankfully there’s no convenient way to travel out of Las Vegas, otherwise those big, bad gamblers might already be trying to affect the outcome of a game. But, who wants to break it to Bri about the rooting interest of most fans?

Then there was “NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said it was opposed to all forms of sports wagering, especially as it relates to college sports. ‘We believe that it's become a serious problem that threatens the well-being of student athletes and the integrity of college sports.’” I’m sure the NCAA basketball tournament would be just as popular without all of those bracket pools. Good thing all of those one-and-done athletes and carpet bagging coaches haven’t effected the integrity of college sports.

Finally, there was the brilliance of “Arnie Wexler, a consultant who works with casinos to establish responsible gambling programs. ‘When you add new gambling or expand gambling, you get more people trying it and more addiction,’ said Wexler, a recovering compulsive gambler who used to bet on sports through bookmakers in New Jersey and New York. ‘You're going to see not only people who have gambled on sports before . . . but also people who had never bet on sports who are going to try it for the first time because it would become a legal activity.’” A great reason to make a perfectly harmless activity for most people illegal.

Sense the sarcasm.

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