Thursday, April 01, 2004

Asking For Trouble

I just don’t get it. Why the big uproar over Paul Hornung’s comments? I don’t see anything racist about what he said. He was speaking the truth about one of the reasons Notre dame is having trouble competing in college football.

He did not say that blacks could not get not get into Notre Dame. He said, somewhat awkwardly, that Notre dame should lower standards to be able to recruit the black athlete.

So first you have to ask, does Notre Dame’s academic standards hurt them in recruiting? I think every one would pretty much agree that this is the case. Second, you have to ask, what type of player is not going to Notre Dame because of these restrictions? The answer is the type of blue chip recruits that separate the haves from the have nots in college football. For whatever reason, many of these positions, such as wide receiver and cornerback, are dominated by the black athlete. So it’s pretty irrelevant to talk about how many black athletes Notre Dame already has. No one is saying that blacks aren’t capable of getting into ND. But Notre Dame is certainly having problems getting those top blue chips who often happen to be black.

So while it’s never very wise for a white person to talk about race and sports, I don’t see anything racist or even anything necessarily untrue about what Hornung said. (It may be untrue – I don’t follow recruiting close enough to know for sure).

In fact, this is the same exact case the Black Coaches Association made when they consistently derided Proposition 48, forcing students who don’t qualify academically to sit out their freshman year of sports. They argued that this restriction fell disproportionately on black athletes who could not meet eligibility requirements. So if Paul Hornung is racist I guess the BCA is too.

It’s also funny to note that for all the condemnation Hornung is receiving, there was only a small protest from some conservative writers over comments from Bob Ryan that were truly racist and ignorant. He said that Vanderbilt would surely lose to NC State because they were too white (and of course they ended up winning).

Now if he said that black athletes are better than whites as a group I wouldn’t have given it a second thought (those these types of generalization going the other will get you nailed by the PC crowd). It’s hard to argue with the fact that the best college basketball players are for the most part black.

But he said a team was going to lose because it had too many white people. That’s saying white people don’t have the ability to compete with blacks as individuals. A comment like this becomes racist once it takes traits that may pertain to a group as whole and forces them on to individual people.

It’s also not supported by the facts. A very white team from Utah just made it too the championship game a few years back. Indiana made it to the championship game with a diverse mix of players and Kansas made it last year led by two white players, Hinrich and Collison.

But I guess you can say as many stupid things you want about race as long as its aimed at white people. But say anything involving blacks, even if it's true, and your in for loads of trouble. Like I said, I just don’t get it.