Monday, October 19, 2009

Jumping off the Sports Guy's bandwagon

Until yesterday, I remained a fan of the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. If you're unfamiliar with him, he's a sports/pop culture writer for He has over 900,000 followers on Twitter, and I doubt that even comes close to indicating how big of a following he has.

I haven't enjoyed his work over the last couple of years nearly as much as I used to, but I still read practically everything he threw out there. I even followed him on Twitter, but yesterday he posted a couple of "tweets" that made me pull the plug. His first one linked to Limbaugh's Wall Street Journal article, but prefaced it by saying, "I hate Rush Limbaugh. Can't stand him. But his WSJ column was well done..."

Now, I can disagree with someone vehemently and remain a fan. That pretty much describes how I feel about Tom Hanks at this point, as a matter of fact. But the first "tweet" I noticed was the one that actually broke the camel's back:

"Why I hate Limbaugh: He's all about code words & subtle slants..."

Code words and subtle slants? I think that's a fancy way of saying, "I'm not intellectually honest enough to listen to him and look at the context of his comments in their entirety, I'd rather listen for subliminal messages that I want to be there." But he then "retweets" a message from another user that links to this article with the (in)approprate Rush quotes taken, of course, without context.

Simply stated, Bill Simmons should be near the back of the line in perpetuating garbage like this. First of all, ESPN lost all credibility on the Limbaugh/Rams story on day one with their "reporting." Second, if you want to play "quotes without context" you can easily paint Simmons as a racist. In fact, I was actually going to do a comparison by demonstrating how easily Simmons could be painted as a sexist, but I decided to go race to race because A) There's plenty of material for a direct comparison and 2) After spending about 10 minutes on the sexism idea, I think he may actually be sexist. At least he is by a liberal standards (oxymoron, I know). Take a look at these gems:

"Some (WNBA players) are uncomfortably tall and gawky, while others lack the requisite, um, softer qualities to captivate males between 18 and 35."

"If Sue was walking around at the ESPYs in a cocktail dress, I'm watching. If she's running a pick and roll with Lauren Jackson, I'm flicking channels."

"...every female in Vegas dresses like a hooker..."

"You want to ask, 'Wait, they stunk all season, how could that guy not have played more?' until you remember that his name makes him sound like a urologist and he looks like a cross between Fabio and one of those mutant women’s volleyball players in the Pac-10.”

Simmons also does a popular (and admittedly entertaining) mailbag column where he answers questions from readers. In one mailbag, a reader who had listened to a Simmons podcast where he talked about how college admissions requirements for females should be to simply send in a picture wrote in to tell about a class project where the student had to create his own university. The kid followed Simmons' advice and got a D and a lecture about sexism. Simmons' response? "...rarely if ever, has a reader e-mail made me this proud. The only way it would have been better is if you snapped at the teacher, 'Shouldn't we have gotten a double-D?'" In another mailbag, Simmons encouraged readers to attend a Chicago WNBA game and taunt the players with t-shirts that said things like, "Score three for feminism."

Now, if that's not enough to say that maybe Simmons shouldn't be criticizing people for not toeing the PC line---and that's a big part of the Limbaugh criticism---then here are some quotes from Simmons on race. These are all taken from a column he wrote about attending the NBA All Star Weekend in Las Vegas a few years ago. His column prompted a rebuttal from another ESPN columnist who alleged that all the criticisms of the event, including those made by Simmons, were on the basis of race. With that as a primer, here we go:

"After four nights of what will eventually be remembered as the Hip-Hop Woodstock..."

"So many gangbangers and troublemakers flooded the Strip..."

"So many wild stories floated around about shootings, robberies and everything else that we never knew what to believe..."

"I'm relieved that we finished the weekend without a single riot..."

"Again, this was a free-for-all: Walk around at your own risk."

"...since All-Star Weekend has previously proven itself as a destination spot for every gangbanger and troublemaker within a 750-mile radius..."

"Why would they want visitors saying stuff like 'I don't care how long this cab line is, there's no way I'm walking the Strip'..."

"Stern has become the most popular Jewish senior citizen on the planet."

"...rapper E-40 was shot to death on Friday night, leading to roughly 10,000 'Who the hell is E-40?' conversations between 99.9 percent of the white people in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Apparently E-40 is still alive and well. Huge relief. I don't know if we could have handled a loss like that during the Hip-Hop Woodstock."

"I just wish I had a witness who spoke English."

One of the reasons my admiration for the Sports Guy dwindled in the last couple of years is that he increasingly spent more time talking out of both sides of his mouth. For instance, he makes comments like the aforementioned examples about women, and then he'll continually write about how people are too uptight and don't have a sense of humor. Then he'll turn around and criticize someone else for making the same kind of comments. But if he hates Rush for making comments that he has to attach his own meaning to or that completely ignore the background in which the comments were made, then he must have a serious problem with self-loathing. Or at least he would, if liberals were bothered by hypocrisy.

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