Tuesday, September 25, 2007

KingWatch: Enough!

Fortunately for Peter King, the big NFL news this week took place on the field. So after a good month of soiling the back of his pants over Michael Vick's dogfighting and Bill Belichick's videotaping, he could once again soil the front of his pants over that dreamy Brett Favre. On NBC's studio show Sunday, King rather creepily boasted of having Favre's cellphone number. But that didn't even make our list of The 5 Dumbest Things Peter King Said This Week. (See the latest Monday Morning Quarterback column here.)

1. Donovan McNabb made news this past week with his comments that black quarterbacks receive more criticism than white ones. Frankly, I see his point, but even if I didn't, I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about his experience as a black man playing quarterback in the NFL. I mean, no one ever went on national TV and said that I was only considered talented because of my race. (And on that topic: You know who was to blame for Rush Limbaugh's racial comments about McNabb on ESPN a few years back? It wasn't Limbaugh. He was just doing "his thing." No, it was ESPN. They brought Limbaugh on their pregame show and assumed that, once they let him out of his talk-radio cage, he'd act like a football commentator rather than an ape on a rope. But Limbaugh lives in an echo chamber. All day, he speaks only to -- and hears only from -- people who either agree with him already or are waiting for him to tell them what to think. Is it any wonder, then, that a radio host whose racist cracks were notorious would cross the line almost immediately when placed before a general audience?)

Anyway, in a blog entry this week, McNabb made the point that when he talks about criticism of black quarterbacks, he's not just talking about criticism from whites. Other blacks can be just as harsh. McNabb wrote: "I bet Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young, Jake Plummer and Doug Flutie have never been told by a member of a racial consciousness organization that they don't play the quarterback position white enough." This is an interesting point. As McNabb developed as a quarterback, he became more of a pocket passer. Where he once would scramble at the first sign of trouble, he now tucks the ball away and runs only as a last resort. It's called self-preservation: Quarterbacks who run a lot get hurt a lot. And yet, as McNabb ran less, he was indeed criticized by blacks who said he wasn't playing "black enough." Tarkenton, Young, Flutie and Plummer were white guys who ran a lot. McNabb is pointing to them and saying it would be absurd to accuse them of not playing "white enough," so why does he get accused of the reverse? And of course, the pea-brains out there thought he was attacking Tarkenton, et al.

This speaks to something that so many people have missed -- or are simply unable to grasp -- about McNabb's comments. McNabb isn't saying that white quarterbacks don't get criticized. And he's not saying that he gets criticized simply because he's black. He's saying that criticism of black quarterbacks -- even from other blacks -- often comes with a ugly, dehumanizing racial component that white QBs not only don't have to deal with, but probably couldn't even understand.

So here's what King has to say about McNabb's comments: "One point, and one point only: Enough."

So here's one point, and one point only for King: Fuck you, cracker. You can either agree with McNabb, or you can dispute his assertions, or you can say you have no idea whether he's correct. That's called debate, and it used to be a fundamental feature of our democracy. But to tell him that you've decided that you don't want to hear any more, and therefore he should just shut his mouth? How dare you? Jesus, how many times have the Peter Kings of the world peed all over black athletes (Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, etc.) for declining to take a position on this issue or that? And here a guy comes out and says, look, racism exists in our society, and you shout, "Enough!"

Every time McNabb takes the field, he hears the epithet the media coyly refers to as the "N-word." And he hears it because he's a black guy playing quarterback. That's a dimension that no white quarterback ever has to deal with. And it's sure as shit a dimension that Peter King ever has to deal with.

Frankly, I think King resents the idea that players can start blogs to talk directly to the fans without having to wait for a reporter to call on their secret cellphone number.

2. In just the third installment of "The Fine Fifteen," King is unable to pare down his list enough to fit his own phony category, and he therefore declares that Carolina and Seattle are "tied" for 15th. Also, he has Houston at No. 14 and observes about the upcoming Texans-Falcons game: "Pretty eerie that the first meeting ever in Atlanta between the teams comes this week, in the fourth game of transplanted ex-Falc Matt Schaub's Houston career." Yes, that's positively spooky. Are we sure that next sunday isn't Halloween?

3. After some introductory chatter about the five biggest storylines of the young season -- Packers play good, McNabb play good, Chargers no play so good, Steelers play real good, Randy Moss play real real good -- King wraps up with a stupid throwaway line: "Strange but true. Just like this season so far." Uh, what's so strange about it? Some teams are better than expected. Some teams are worse than expected. Some players are playing above expectations, and others are below expectations. It's just like every other season at the three-week mark. Nothing is strange. So why did he say it? Because he doesn't have anything else to say. In a column specifically set up so that you don't have to write transitions, here we have a flabby, lazy transition.

4. King's "special teams player of the week" is punter Brian Moorman of Buffalo. You know, the Bills, whom the Patriots crushed 38-7? Moorman punted seven times for an average of 49 yards and on two kicks pinned the Pats at their own 2 and their own 11. In the second quarter, punting from the back of his end zone, he got off a kick that traveled 86 yards in the air, pushing New England's return man all the way back to the 24 yard line. That's indeed a hell of a kick -- and I agree that Moorman is a hell of a punter -- but that's his qualification for special teams player of the week? Here's what happened after each of Moorman's seven punts:

1. Patriots drive the length of the field, but fumble on the goal line.
2. Patriots drive the length of the field for a touchdown.
3. Patriots drive the length of the field for a touchdown.
4. Patriots drive the length of the field for a touchdown.
5. Patriots drive the length of the field for a touchdown.
6. Patriots drive the length of the field for a touchdown.
7. Patriots, with their backup QB now in the game, go 3-and-out.

Shouldn't one of the qualifications for a "player of the week" be that he had some sort of measurable impact on the game? Moorman could have been pinning the Patriots in the Berkshires, and they still would have scored on every drive.

5. This is just weird: "Jeff Garcia may not put up Kitnaesque numbers, but he wins." Well, the Buccaneers are 2-1. So are Kitna and the Lions. I have no idea what he's trying to say here. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, McNabb, Vince Young, Matt Hasselbeck, Chad Pennington -- none of them put up Kitnaeqsue numbers, and thank God, but they win, too. At least, they do three weeks into the season. Even Schaub.

1 comment:

Nick Bergus said...

This, from PK's Monday Morning Quarterback, Tuesday Edition:

"FAVRE LIVES. From Dan of Fond du Lac, Wis.: 'Brett Favre mentioned as an MVP candidate again? Am I dead? Is this heaven?'

No. This is Iowa."

No, Peter, where I am writing from, this is Iowa. But Dan's "this" is Wisconsin; that's what 'Wis.' means. Maybe "this" means where you are, most likely a state with a professional football team. Therefore not Iowa.

Also, and maybe you missed this, Peter, Field of Dreams was about baseball.