Michael Irvin is a racist.Compared to John Kerry's insights on education, Irvin's joke is a riot. I don't say that because I'm a big fan of Irvin -"semi-lucid" is right on: half the time I can barely understand what the man's saying (and I hate the Cowboys anyway) - but because his remarks were a compliment. He was saying, "Damn, that boy's good. He must be one of us." And I'll admit, I smirked once I found out Romo was white.
On Monday, Irvin was on Dan Patrick's radio program and had much to say about Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo:He doesn't look like he's that type of an athlete, but he is. He is, man. I don't know if some brother down in that line somewhere, I don't know who saw what or where, his great great great great grandma ran over in the 'hood or something went down...
If great great great great great great great great grandma pulled one of them studs up out of the barn, "Come on in here for a second," you know, and they go out and work in the yard. You know, back in the day.
Let's try to break down and "analyze" Irvin's semi-lucid rant:
Clearly, the precedent has been well established: If you make a racist comment while working as a sports broadcaster, you lose your job. Michael Irvin has made an overtly racist comment. Therefore, he needs to be fired.
- Tony Romo doesn't "look like" a great athlete (because he is white)
- But Tony Romo is a good athlete
- Therefore, Tony Romo must be at least part-black
- And Irvin feels this is a reasonable assumption because people who are 100 percent white are incapable of being good athletes
- BONUS RACIST/SEXIST STEREOTYPE: Romo's supposed black ancestry must have come about from one of his female ancestors having sex with a black man on the side. It is not plausible, nor even thinkable, that one of Romo's male ancestors would have voluntarily had sex with a black woman...
I'd never seen him, but when I heard about this athletic rookie quarterback, I immediately assumed he was black. So maybe I'm a racist like Michael Irvin, or maybe I can just count. What can I count? The number of pro quarterbacks who are known primarily for their athleticism who are white. And I guess now I count one.
On the first 4 points, Elliot simply misses the boat. Irvin didn't say "good athlete," he said "that kind of athlete." He's talking about the type of quarterback personified by Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb, the kind that is almost but not quite exactly unlike Brad Johnson. Johnson is a good athlete; if he wasn't, he would not be in his second decade as a starting NFL quarterback. Vick, on the other hand, is "that kind of athlete." There's a huge difference in both style and substance.
The last item is laughable. If the blackness came through a mother, don't you think the family (who would probably have been pretty black themselves) would have known about it? The only way it could possibly be the secret that Irvin is "discovering" is to have a black father in the line. Think these things through, people.
But Elliot does make one good point: this is exactly the same kind of thing that got Jimmy the Greek fired. It's the same thing that got Limbaugh tossed from MNF. It's the same thing that got Fisher DeBerry fired from Air force. And it's a double standard.
So let's fix it, but not by calling for the head of a guy who made a harmless if obvious point about Romo's athleticism. Rather we should be insisting that people we rely on to entertain us can do so even when they are not politically correct.