October 07, 2006

The Importance of Being Civil: Scoop Jackson responds to criticism from Jason Whitlock.

posted by justgary to culture at 04:04 AM - 10 comments

I'm a white male so I'll never know what it's like to look at profession and see a bunch of people who aren't like me. I can't even imagine what that must be like. With that preface, I'll take Whitlock's side, especially when Scoop says a kid has a better chance to make the NBA than to be a writer. That's just silly. And not on racial level, but on a bend-the-numbers-to-make-a point level. There are just simply more sportswriters than NBA players. I just don't see sportswriting being closed to anyone who's willing to put in the time and energy. You have to work for peanuts for a couple years to get anywhere. But anyone who's willing to muck through that and can string together sentences has a shot regardless of anything else. I suppose it isn't very accessible to a poor person who put themselves through school and needs to pay off a ton of loans, and can't do that making $7-an-hour, but that's beyond race. Again, I say this as a white male, so I can never really understand how it feels to be on the other side. It does make me a bit uneasy -- and maybe I'm reading something extra into this -- because Jackson comes off sounding like perhaps he'll only help a kid of a certain race advance in something he's passionate about. If someone came to me and asked me to thelp them get into what I do, I'd want to help them regardless. I'll take Jackson's side on the personal attacks, especially the use of "bojangling". I can see how that pisses him off.

posted by SummersEve at 05:36 AM on October 07, 2006

Scoop clearly knows how to write well, judging by this column. That's what makes some of his other work so irritating. I remember a profile of NBA player Ricky Davis he wrote for SLAM Magazine where every single sentence consisted of 1 or 2 words. I understood that he was trying an experiment, but it failed miserably (it remains the worst-written sports feature I've ever read) and he or his editor should have seen that and he should have started over again. But I sense his ego wouldn't allow that.

posted by Scott Carefoot at 11:24 AM on October 07, 2006

Scoop starts out OK, but he runs the rails and does a Toonces into the ravine at this point in his response:

Who I am, what I write and how I write it is not something I'll ever have to explain or apologize for to anyone! I speak and write the truth as I see it in a language and style that people I care about and respect understand.
I'll bet his mother's proud of him too. I lose respect for people who get their undies in a bunch about being disrespected. The guy's a writer for basketball and hip hop magazines. How much respect does that merit? Perhaps Whitlock could have told him this to his face, but there's not really a civil way to tell somebody you think he's hurting America -- John Stewart demonstrated that on CNN's Crossfire. Also, I think it's funny that Scoop's response didn't give Whitlock's criticism enough respect to link to it, so ESPN's readers could judge.

posted by rcade at 01:26 PM on October 07, 2006

I agree about the "respect" issue. Everybody thinks they need to get theirs, and if they aren't, they're going to raise hell until they get it. I think I'm taking Whitlock's side.

posted by igottheblues at 01:32 PM on October 07, 2006

Perhaps Whitlock didn't want to be on "Quite Frankly" because, well, it's "Quite Frankly."

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:26 PM on October 07, 2006

Jackson's guilty of a bit of statistical dumbness, on the order of, "One in every five [or whatever] women in America will get breast cancer." Whitlock's guilty of getting exercised over what he took to be some kind of statement but which was, in fact, just a bit of statistical dumbness. I wonder if either of them has thought about the challenges facing women in sports journalism? If you compared the number of women in sports journalism to the number of African-American men, which would be bigger?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:08 PM on October 07, 2006

Here's what I see as the rub. I sense that Whitlock laid into Scoop because Scoop, unlike most of the others, knows better. For someone with actual chops, he does an alarming amount of bojangling (great word), and were I in Whitlock's 32EEEE shoes, I'd be inclined to give Scoop a slap upside the head & tell him to smarten up too. Scoop clearly put a lot of thought into this response. It's scattered and chip-on-the-shouldery (and yeah, that statistic is lazy), but it's also as coherent as anything I've seen out of him in a few years, and I'd love to see more like this out of him about something other than some pointless rivalry.

posted by chicobangs at 04:32 PM on October 07, 2006

Anybody ever heard of the saying that you have to gain respect. Your not just born with a right to it.

posted by LA-4-Life at 08:25 PM on October 07, 2006

I don't think Scoop is a very good sports writer. I think his racial and occasionally racist paranoia is detrimental to his ever becoming a good sports writer. I see flashes of interesting potential, usually not developed. For example, he'll raise an interesting question or set of questions, like "What would it be like to be the jordan of your sport? What would it like to play against the jordan of your sport?" But then he'll end without developing that idea at all - "Well, what would it be like?" He would dominate a list of worst sports articles I've ever read from espn.com, and sometimes I suspect he's a "black writer writing about black issues" more than a "sports journalist", which would be fine, except he's writing for ESPN, and I read ESPN for articles and opinons about sports.

posted by chmurray at 01:08 PM on October 08, 2006

Thats Mr. Bojangling to you.

posted by irunfromclones at 06:02 PM on October 10, 2006

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