Sunday, September 06, 2009

Run for the Cause

by Coach Ed
It's the weekend, so I'll get off Richie and his board for a while. (All right -you in the back-stop giggling) And talk a little sports-and politics-and race-My Spicy Triple Delight.

Since everyone has been talking about the Vickster (and I have given him Dina Hitchcock's phone number), I won't. Instead I will compare two figures and their shared problem, Donovan McNabb and Barack Obama.

They share some obvious common attributes; they're black, they're smart, they've been successful, and they have had the hopes of many piled on top of them.

But how they respond to their mix of attributes, both natural and acquired, and how Philadelphia and America responds to their response is the subject for this fine, soft, September day.

Responding to stereotypes is not ignoring them, it's acknowledging them. It's giving them credence. And that's what both of them have done, to their own, and our, detriment.

In the case if Donovan, it boiled down to the word, "athlete". Many of us would love to have that word used to describe us, even once. Alas, I never get to be called that, outside of my bed. But to many, it's just a euphemism, describing a "natural" talent, rather than expertise gained through work.

To many, it's a way to criticize someones' intellect by by praising their physique.

To many it's just another way of saying that they sure can run fast and jump high, and sing and dance.

Donovan knows this, and it had always eaten at him. If I were a racist, I would say that his guilt about this issue makes him seem not only white, but jewish.

So Donovan wants to prove he's not this stereotype of a talented but uncerebral black athlete, and has resisted using a part of his game that, while feeding into that stereotype, would improve his chances, and his teams chances for success.

Donovan doesn't like to run. I must acknowledge an unsolved mystery here. Perhaps Andy Reid is the one who does not allow this. His pass-first offense may indicate a general reluctance in this area. But all the other trickery that I have seen in this offense, including Vick's addition, seems to preclude this possibility.

And all that has been said on this subject, without it actually being said, leads me to the conclusion that Donovan thinks that running brands him as the kind of "natural', "gifted" player that is just means something else, the word we all know.

Vicks' addition may be the validation of the thesis, that now, Andy has someone who doesn't mind the label.

And over Donovan's shoulder has always been the specter of Randall Cunningham. If some of us don't remember, Donovan does. A better athlete than Donovan ever was, but a worse quarterback. But while the most racist fans probably always blamed Randall's "athleticism" for zero Super Bowl appearances, it was another non-athletic aspect of his game that hampered him, and his team.

Randall was Goofy. And Lazy. In preparation and during the game, he didn't take the time to see the situation clearly and react properly. And often he just plain didn't follow the plays called, even before they broke down. Making his runs necessary. And Vick was the same way.

As I write about a man being lazy who is also black, I think about what that sounds like, and I pause. That pause is a guilty reaction to the racist stereotype that I know exists. Some may be angered by the "lazy" remark. Some may anger over my guilty pause. Both sides of the story are created by the original dynamic.

But since every attribute and every color of person can intersect, that guilt must be overcome by the logic of that knowledge.

Randall was lazy and nutty, Donovan is neither. Both are black. Only two kinds of people draw any other lines between those attributes. Racists and people afraid of the stereotypes drawn by racists.
Fear of stereotyping exhibited by a guy who isn't afraid of Brian Urlacher just makes me more facinated by the human psyche than ever. And by the power of cultural indoctrination and the responses to it. Donovans intellectual fear is proof that he is thinking a little too much.

The ironic part has always been the way intellect and athleticism could have co-existed in the Eagles offense. If a running play would have been called for Donovan in the first quarter of every game, then the threat of it would have been as effective as it being repeated. That would have been the cerebral way of using athleticism to the teams advantage. That it was never utilized that way makes me think the dumb guy is the one with the headset.

Fear of what certain people might think or say has similarly paralyzed our chief executive. So locked into being reasonable, bi-partisan, and non-threatening, he has ceded the field to those with no such baggage.

Fear of being labeled radical has never been a right wing one. They've been that way, in or out of power. And to head off any possibility of balanced political epithet response (BPER), the right has cleverly begun to call the left both communist AND fascist, leaving us with nothing left to call them.

The response doesn't have to be emotional, it can be factual. Since 1968, Ku Klux Klan members, when they vote, vote Republican. Since 1968,The Aryan Nation, when they vote, vote Republican. Red State hate crimes are ten times the number of Blue States.

But when the right brings guns to public meetings, they just call out John Wayne's name, and all is forgiven. The last left wing group to bring guns to a public meeting were the Black Panthers. Who were the same color as the president. And so, just like Donovan, in order to give no one any reason to think he has anything in common with THOSE black men, the President tries to be more reasonable than any republican has ever thought of being.

It's a very noble pursuit. The only problem is, it has never worked, and it won't work now. They call him every name they can think of, except that one they really want to use. If he fought back, hard and dirty, could it get any worse? Could he get any less votes then they give him now? He has nothing to gain from this style, except their contempt and our collective failure.

Munich and Chamberlain"s appeasement has been used more than Larry Craig's ass. Why don't the dems ever think of the analogy in getting domestic policy passed? The last dem that used his balls outside of an interns' mouth was LBJ, and all we got was medicare and the voting rights act. If he would have put them in dry dock overseas, he would be as deified by dems as that orange haired alzheimer tool of orange county is now.

But Barry is afraid of the stereotype. Even as his tiny enforcer, Rahm-son-of-terrorist, lets Israel be as ballsy as they want to be (I guess the palestinians can't get into any town meetings), he tells the "radicals" of his own party to calm down.

So Barry, stay in the pocket and don't run, be reasonable, but know that it doesn't work when the other side doesn't play by the same rules. And just like Donovan, who has lost a step, it's probably too late. It will just seem vindictive if you start now. No super bowl and no health care. Because two black men were afraid of what the whites would think of them. The freudian tail end of racism coming back to destroy those who thought they had overcome.

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