January 21, 2014

Under the headline "Richard Sherman Is Better At Life Than You," Ta-Nehisi Coates says watching football is, for him, "sort of like seeing your ex-wife for coffee."

I'm interested in the Richard Sherman story. I blogged about it yesterday — here (including in the comments) — and I was relatively sympathetic to Sherman, and that was before I heard anyone saying anything in his favor or what Sherman himself wrote the next day.

What I want to talk about is Coates forefronting his ex-wife like that. He begins:
I sat down and watched two football games yesterday for the first time in a couple of years. It was sort of like seeing your ex-wife for coffee. 
Your ex-wife. I didn't take that to mean his ex-wife. He said "your," not "my," and I took the "your" to refer vaguely to the reader's experience. I didn't even stop — as I did in my younger years — to rankle at the presumption that the reader is male. (If I did stop to think about presumptions these days I'd have to concede that the writer might also have pictured female readers who had been married to other females and, despite the recency of gay marriage, had divorced.)

After quoting Sherman saying "I'm intelligent enough and capable enough to understand that you are an ignorant, pompous, egotistical cretin....I am going to crush you on here in front of everybody because I am tired of hearing about it," Coates concludes his column:
Anyway, it was good to see the ex-wife again. It was also good to remember why I left.
That last link goes to an article about football injuries, so what are we to think? Why the gratuitous reference to a woman? Was Coates actually married to someone who, he's implying, cruelly insulted him and threatened violence? Or is this just a stereotype of the ex-wife as a crazy bitch? Coates has his problem with football — whatever you might think about that — but why drag women into the story? Why use the ex-wife as your analogy? 

By the way, the phrase "better at life than you" is Sherman's, and you can hear him say it (and that "cretin" business) in this video from last March:



ADDED: Coates's deployment of the ex-wife stereotype reminded me of Rush Limbaugh — something he famously said about Hillary Clinton in 2006. I looked it up to get the precise text:
But when -- when she's genuine, she sounds like a screeching ex-wife. And -- and -- and I don't say that -- there's nothing against ex-wives or women. I'm just trying to be descriptive here for you. Men will know what I mean by this. 
That was actually more sensitive — more aware of stereotyping and apologetic for resorting to it — than what Coates did.  And Coates, unlike Rush, is someone who's main theme is spotlighting offhand/semi-conscious/unconscious racism. I'm calling him out for offhand/semi-conscious/unconscious sexism.

178 comments:

Pat said...

After watching the Bayless interview I don't know how anyone defends Sherman.

David said...

Hey, I said something in favor of Sherman. I said he was seeking psychological dominance. That is a positive trait in his profession. I also called him intelligent, which he is, partly to counterbalance the comments which classified him as an ignorant black thug. (But they didn't use the N word so that's ok, huh?)

He's also 23 years old and had just come out of an hour of physical combat, in which he triumphed in dramatic fashion.

Coffee with Coates' ex must be a hell of a scene.

I do not have coffee with my ex in order to avoid such scenes.

Tank said...

I sat down and watched two football games yesterday for the first time in a couple of years. It was sort of like seeing your ex-wife for coffee.

Makes sense for what he's saying. He used to love football (wife) and now he really doesn't and prefers to stay away.

Is there anyone in this story that I can like?

Sherman
Bayliss
Coates
Crabtree

No.

B said...

"I didn't even stop — as I did in my younger years — to rankle at the presumption that the reader is male."

Ta-Nehisi Coates takes every opportunity to rankle at others' presumption that the reader is a privileged white person.

Unknown said...

um...."(If I did stop to think about presumptions these days I'd have to concede that the writer might also have pictured female readers who had been married to other females and, despite the recency of gay marriage, had divorced.)" Are you aware that there is an on-going lawsuit in Texas to permit same-sex-divorce? (Similar situation in Ohio, and Utah is slated to become the SSD mecca -- Mecca?)

Bob Ellison said...

Is Richard Sherman the foremost intellectual in the NFL?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Or is this just a stereotype of the ex-wife as a crazy bitch?

A wife is an "ex" far more likely from infidelity, than craziness.

Also, a stereotype is what it is because it has basis in fact and observation. And for some things, there simply is no male equivalent, e.g. The Meddling Mother-In-Law.

Roughcoat said...

John R. Tunis would be appalled.

Tibore said...

"Why use the ex-wife as your analogy?"

Professor, my apologies, but I'm confused why you're asking this. Isn't the analogy clear? Pro sports fandom is to many people like a very intense relationship. Comparing it to marriage is hyperbole, but many conversational comparisons are hyperbolic; the point here is to convey the depth and intensity of sports fandom via exaggeration. So ultimately, when you choose to walk away from a given sport, it feels like a divorce. It feels like a huge void is left in your life, and you feel as though you struggle to fill it.

It seems quite clear to me why he drew the analogy. I confess, I don't know whether you're trying to steer us towards some other point or issue you perceive and we don't, or if you genuinely don't see the rationale. But if we take the question at face value, I'd say the explanation above is why he brought the notion of ex-wives into the conversation: As an illustration of sports fanaticism and obsession.

Does that help? Or am I derailing the point you're trying to illuminate? If the latter, my apologies.

Bob Boyd said...

poseur
n.noun

One who affects a particular attribute, attitude, or identity to impress or influence others.

Tibore said...

"Pat said...
After watching the Bayless interview I don't know how anyone defends Sherman."


It's true that Sherman is arrogant and is considered "douchey" (Urban Dictionary that) by a large proportion of the NFL internet fan base. But even people who don't like him at all applauded his calling out of Skip Bayless. He's definitely a jerk, but he was giving a far larger, idiotic jerk - one who represents what's wrong in sports opinion commentary nowadays - what he's got coming.

Frankly I don't have a problem with what he did.

Henry said...

I'm not too interested in Ta-Nehisi Coates' take on football.

Joe Posnanski wrote a blog post titled Postgame. Here's part of what he had to say:

Why do we ask these players (and coaches) questions so soon after they were under fiery hypnosis, so soon after they were smashing into each other and breaking bones, right as the adrenaline is draining and the pain is beginning to surface? And, more, why do we expect their answers to fit our expectations?

Bonus is Posnanski's wry reporting of Jim Harbaugh's Old Man and the Sea quote.

tim in vermont said...

Footballs players are entertainers too. I have to go with Sherman on this one, even if I end up agreeing with Coates.

JHapp said...

He is only 25.

Pogo is Dead said...

"Ta-Nehisi Coates" is a reliable conversation ender.


Richard Sherman is just one more dumb narcissist among the Dumbest Generation of Narcissists In The History of The World.

Really, who gives a shit what he thinks or says? He's like President Camacho on Idiocracy.

Obama's got electrolytes!

traditionalguy said...

I will gladly defend Sherman. He quietly stated the facts to TV talking heads whose jobs appear to be to tear down men's reputations and ridicule them. It is mean spirited redistribution of honors from a man too much better than us. They can't even honor Johnny Manziel this year. He is too good.

Sherman's hubris problem will get him soon enough, but in the present he stands by an honest evaluation of his own proven talents.

All defensive backs must believe in Themselves. Deion Sanders would smile and joke while he made similar assertions to Sherman's. Dion would say to the slandering talking heads , "It's not bragging if you can actually do it."

jacksonjay said...

Keepin it real! Black trash talkin is what leads to high rates of Black on Black crime, incarceration, and illegitimacy.

I'm bad!
I won't be disrespected!
I'm viral!
Pay attention to me!

It is very sad and self-destructive!

James said...

Keepin it real! Black trash talkin is what leads to high rates of Black on Black crime, incarceration, and illegitimacy

That's the most idiotic thing I've read today.

MnMark said...

I would be interested to hear from people who think Sherman's screaming rant in that post-game interview wasn't such a big deal: do you think there is such a think as "sportsmanship"? If Sherman's behavior - the rant, the taunting, etc - wasn't bad sportsmanship, can you give an example of what would be bad sportsmanship? Do you think sportsmanship matters, or do you think it is a matter of indifference if emotional restraint, consideration, and civility are no longer expected of people in the public eye?

Or are you simply doing that thing that white liberals do where they rationalize the bad behavior of blacks in order to avoid appearing racist?

madAsHell said...

Didn't Coates have an imaginary girlfriend that committed suicide? He's obviously still grieving!!

SJ said...

...sort of like seeing your ex-wife for coffee...

One possibility is that TNC was talking about meeting his own ex-wife, and trying to bring the reader into his own experience.

The other possibility is that he was talking about the reader's ex-wife. (In my case, I have neither a wife nor an ex-wife.)

I notice something odd in the first paragraph. Ta-Nehisi Coates used "I" in one sentence, then talked about "your ex-wife", then switched back to "I".

Who edited this?

If TNC wanted to speak to the reader as if they were switching positions, wouldn't he have used "you/your" in most of that paragraph?

If he wanted to write about his own experience, and present it as his own, why didn't he use "me/my" in reference to the ex-wife?

My conclusion is that Ta-Nehisi Coates is not a careful writer. And whoever edited it didn't pay careful attention to tense and form-of-address.

And I still can't figure out why he thinks of football the same way he things about his ex-wife.

If he has an ex-wife...

Pogo is Dead said...

Babe Ruth Candy Club Card, ca. 1926
On the reverse side:
10 General Rules for Members

5. Don't brag about your powers or criticize your opponent's weaknesses.
7. Don't think of individual honors, but of your team.
8. Don't be boastful after you win.


11. Don't be Richard Sherman.

Howard said...

The analogy is having coffee with someone you once loved, perhaps still love, but no longer live together due to some "toxic" difference. The example is not about *women*. When he says ex-wife, he means ex-spouse. He loved football and perhaps still loves it, but no longer watches it because of the injuries. Esp. the Na Varro Bowman injury which was repeated over a dozen times to feed the swoft-core snuff-film fans of the NFL TV audience.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Way back in the 1960s, one of the original loud-mouthed trash talkers played for the Kansas City Chiefs.

His name was Fred Williamson and his nickname was "The Hammer."

He wasn't all that black-looking, though.

MadisonMan said...

Football players are entertainers. Sherman is entertaining people, even as they grouse about his antics.

The 49ers avoided throwing his way the entire game. When they finally threw his way, he caused an interception. I think that speaks pretty clearly of his abilities.

Coates needs to write about something. I don't find his article particularly interesting. Certainly it doesn't rise to the level of Sherman, but I'm sure Coates is trying to ride the coattails to fame.

traditionalguy said...

If you want sportsmanship, than play Amateur Golf like Bobby Jones did, or play English Criquet.

The NFL is a mega billion dollar business enterprise/TV show that sells the hell out of vicarious aggression. Sunday 65,000,000 viewers tuned in to watch Sherman's aggressive play for lowly Seattle.

Check out Sherman's Wiki page and see what he has accomplished in elite education and amateur athletics using brains and focused aggression.

I see no bad behavior at all. And Sherman's being black or white has no relevance to anything.

Herb said...

http://www.businessinsider.com/beats-by-dr-dre-richard-sherman-ad-the-brief-2014-1


quite the timing, almost too perfect.

MayBee said...

MnMark-

I don't think it was a big deal. No, I don't think it was great sportsmanship, but so what? He didn't try to break anyone's bones or do a Nazi salute(current problem in UK football).

He's a great player, he was mad, he made a rant, end of story. He isn't a politician trying to run my life. The only way he can affect me is by crossing my tv screen when I watch football. Which I love.

I do hate Nick Saba , though

Pogo is Dead said...

"I see no bad behavior at all. "

I think you are terribly wrong.
Poor sports are immature narcissists, and they are destructive over time to people and culture.

"In my day no one fell on the track and cried like a baby. We lost gracefully. And when someone won, he didn't act like he'd just become king of the world, either. Athletes in my day were simply humble in our victory.

I believe we were more mature then...Maybe it's because the media puts so much pressure on athletes; maybe it's also the money. In my day we competed for the love of the sport...In my day we patted the guy who beat us on the back, wished him well, and that was it.”
― Louis Zamperini, in Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian's Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II

Pogo is Dead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roost on the Moon said...

The more plausible reading is that Coates wanted to evoke the feeling of something that you once loved intensely, but isn't part of your life anymore. (Not sure he has an ex-wife.)

Seems like the obvious metaphor.

But for some reason, you bring up domestic violence, and Coates "dragging" women places.

Why that gratuitous word *dragging*, Althouse? Let's delve.

MnMark: are you maybe pretending "sportsmanship" is a bigger deal than it really is? So that you can avoid not seeming racist? Do you usually watch news stories on sportsmanship, and talk about who is a bad sportsman online?





jr565 said...

If you say you are better at life than someone, it usually means that you aren't. You shouldn't have to extol the virtue of how good you are at life. People will say it about you.
It was like when Obama was heralding his coming as to the time when change will finally come. Get over yourself.

I don't watch football, but I hope his team loses, and I hope he spends the majority of his career sitting on a bench or sidelined by injury.

People with heads this big, so sure of their virtue, need to have their comeuppance.

Howard said...

Pogo is right. Sports were better when they were played by rich white amateurs who didn't need money and had all the time in the world to train and play. Now, sportsmen come from the low classes and achieve their wealth through sport, rather than achieve sport through wealth.

Tim said...

Watched the clip and came away with a worse impression of Sherman. I was inclined to ignore the after game interview, he was pumped up and full of adrenaline, and had just made a good play (not a great play, knocking the ball DOWN would have been a great play, knocking it up for grabs is actually giving ANYONE a chance at it, including those for whom it would have been a game ending touchdown.)

But in the interview, he comes off as just another arrogant asshole. If he graduated from Stanford with honors, the standards at Stanford have dropped, because he has no concept of reflection or how he is perceived by other people.

Better at life? He has no concept of how you measure being good at life. And he believes that his own concept of how to be good at life is the only one that matters.

Just another arrogant ass who plays football for a living.

JoyD said...

Why use your ex-wife as an analogy? Because he still thinks about her all the time.

I enjoyed your embedded clip. I've never seen skip bayless before so I don't hate him. But it was hilarious to watch his slapped-in-his-naked-face expression! My guess is this guy is used to being the bully?

I emailed my son after the game and said it had been an "ugly-thugly" game. In his answer, while agreeing, he said he wouldn't call Sherman a "thug". Is this a new racist word? I meant, as I emailed back, that this was the way Sherman (and others) were choosing to look, act, and project themselves.
Thugly is as thugly does. New spin on an old saw.

What do you think about the word? It's being used a lot today. It is subconsciously racist? Is it used to describe behavior that is "other" ? That is uncomfortable.

Howard said...

jr565: Hoping a player is injured, now that's true couch-potato sportsmanship. Thanks for branding C_NT on your sloping forehead.

m stone said...

This clip is all Sherman ego and pride.

The post-game interview is everything that is bad in professional sports, ego and pride to the extreme, absence of honor or respect, self-service, hate, and a camera.

Pride cometh before a fall.

rehajm said...

tim in vermont said...
Footballs players are entertainers too.


...and Sherman knows this. The reference to Deion Sanders is apt. Sherman may have created this new character in the Sanders model to raise his profile and therefore his bank account come contract time (I hear he's likely making a little over $500k, a very small number relative to inferior peers). Though it remains to be seen if this is a good strategy. Teams have been burned by the antics of valuable jerks before and have steered away form signing big deals.

Bob Ellison said...

At the 1925 U.S. Open, Bobby Jones moved his ball slightly while setting up for a shot. No one saw it, but Jones was adamant that the ball had moved and assessed himself a one-stroke penalty, costing him the win, as he went on to lose in a playoff. Praised for his classy move, Jones quipped, "You might as well praise me for not robbing banks."

Pogo is Dead said...

"Sports were better when they were played by rich white amateurs who didn't need money and had all the time in the world to train and play."


Bullshit.
Baseball was always full of poor men. Football, too.

The idea that good sportsmanship is dependent on wealth is risible.

Boxer Joe Louis never never taunted a fallen opponent. And he grew up poor.

I call bullshit.

traditionalguy said...

Team sports preach sportsmanship to advertise themselves as builders of character of men.

That is a fine. It's a really warm hearted attitude of one for all and all for one on the young boys recreation play ground.

But since Vince Lombardi got the NFL trophy named for himself, winning has become "the only thing."

Add to that the one man on one man aspect of Cornerbacks covering wide receivers on go routes (or a real college wrestler in a NCAA match with not a teammate on that mat), and Sherman's attitude is the only honest one to take.

jr565 said...

Traditional guy wrote:
If you want sportsmanship, than play Amateur Golf like Bobby Jones did, or play English Criquet.


not everyone HAS to be an ahole. Even in football.even if you think you're gods gift to the sport, and even if you have the numbers to back it up doesn't guarantee that you will be a horrible human being. Nor should we not hold people to account for their bad behavior simply because they are in a sport with a lot of other blowhards.

tim in vermont said...

Sportsmanship in cricket? Maybe sometimes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underarm_bowling_incident_of_1981

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_attack_on_the_Sri_Lanka_national_cricket_team

"After India had collapsed to 120 runs for 8 wickets at 34.1 overs, a densely packed home crowd vented their anger by throwing bottles on to the outfield and setting fire to the seating. Eventually the match referee Clive Lloyd had to abandon the game and Sri Lanka won by default.[20]"

jr565 said...

Howard wrote:
jr565: Hoping a player is injured, now that's true couch-potato sportsmanship. Thanks for branding C_NT on your sloping forehead.

maybe that was a bit strong. I didn't mean a career ending injury, just something that means he has to take a backseat. Playing crappy would do it too. But my hope is that he at least rides the bench, or like other flash in the pans becomes a second stringer like Tim Teebow. Or gets shipped off to another team and no one wants him because he's toxic.

Bob Ellison said...

Howard and Pogo, can we make an analogy to culture in general? People fare better when they are both free and respectful. The freedom and respect come first; they can't evolve out of a culture that has other virtues, like strict rules and wealth.

I hope you understand what I mean here and think I haven't written it very well.

jacksonjay said...


James make a good argument!

jr565 said...

Howard wrote:
Pogo is right. Sports were better when they were played by rich white amateurs who didn't need money and had all the time in the world to train and play. Now, sportsmen come from the low classes and achieve their wealth through sport, rather than achieve sport through wealth.

most professional football players, of whatever race don't need money once they're signed. Professional athletes have it made in the shade, by and large.

MayBee said...

Why can't it be enough that he's a great player and has hurt absolutely nobody with his words?
Why does he need a comeuppance? He's a cocky guy who seems to have done a lot right in his life.

traditionalguy said...

A lot of you "oh woo woo... he acted aggressive" commenters need to watch bowling or knitting tournaments and leave off NFL reality TV that offends you and the Church ladies you seem to want to protect.

jr565 said...

What is cretinin? does he mean cretinous?

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:
Why can't it be enough that he's a great player and has hurt absolutely nobody with his words?
Why does he need a comeuppance? He's a cocky guy who seems to have done a lot right in his life.

because narcissism is not actually a virtue.

EMD said...

Is there anyone in this story that I can like?

You forgot the gentleman named Harbaugh.

EMD said...

Would you prefer Sherman yell at his coaches and teammates on the sidelines like a certain HOF QB?

Ann Althouse said...

@unknown Do not begin comments with "um," especially if you expect an answer. A more apt expectation would be a deletion.

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:
Why can't it be enough that he's a great player and has hurt absolutely nobody with his words?

then why is he so adamant about insulting people questioning either his behavior and/or his numbers? Shouldn't the same rules apply to up him? If they said negative things about his numbers, then likewise he should view those as harmless words.

Pogo is Dead said...

@Bob Ellison

Well stated.

MayBee said...

Well, I have a lot of traits that aren't virtues. Must I have a comeuppance, too?

Tibore said...

That Joe Posnanski column Henry posted was an excellently written take on the Sherman issue. Plus, it's a good reminder of the folly of imposing opinions onto a group (professional athletes) we're very separate from and know little about.

No one's ever going to say Sherman's behavior even remotely had any class or decorum. But as Joe said:

"On one level, we all understand how brutal a sport football can be. In a way, calling it a “sport” is changing its shape, making it seem a lot like the touch football game we play on the church lawn or the flag football games we used to play in college. Pro football really isn’t a sport like that. Pro football is about men who can bench press trailers crashing into each other, and guided missiles in helmets colliding with human gazelles and gruesome injuries that happen with such regularity that we can schedule commercials around them. Not to mention the concussions. You’d have to hypnotize me to play in a professional football game.

And these men do. They hypnotize themselves into this fevered state.

And we expect them to just let it all go when the whistle blows, and we snap our fingers...

... I have no idea what Richard Sherman has to do to himself to play professional football at the level he plays it. I have no idea what his state of mind must be like when he’s trying to match up to the violence of the moment."

Humperdink said...

It is sad the Sherman rant will be THE news for the two weeks.

I saw this video yesterday and while it's true sportswriters/sportscasters can be highly critical jerks, Sherman still comes off poorly.

This has zero to do with the highly esteemed *cough* Stanford education or Sherman's intellect. It is all about the narcissistic mindset and the resultant behavior.

Out the mouth, the heart speaks.

Ann Althouse said...

"Professor, my apologies, but I'm confused why you're asking this. Isn't the analogy clear? Pro sports fandom is to many people like a very intense relationship. Comparing it to marriage is hyperbole, but many conversational comparisons are hyperbolic; the point here is to convey the depth and intensity of sports fandom via exaggeration. So ultimately, when you choose to walk away from a given sport, it feels like a divorce. It feels like a huge void is left in your life, and you feel as though you struggle to fill it."

He is calling upon a stereotype of the ex-wife. It's not the ex-wife I am. Is it his actual ex-wife or is this the kind of casual stereotyping one gets from comedians? He's not saying anything funny though. What the hell?

If I introduced a racial character as an offhanded analogy in some discussion of a subject that wasn't even about race, I would expect to be criticized.

Coates specializes in calling other writers out for racial things like that, and I'm simply doing the same thing with gender.

tim in vermont said...

"Made in the 'shade'"?

You know that "shade" used to be used as a synonym for the "n-word"? Are you always this racist?

Tibore said...

That Joe Posnanski column Henry posted was an excellently written take on the Sherman issue. Plus, it's a good reminder of the folly of imposing opinions onto a group (professional athletes) we're very separate from and know little about.

No one's ever going to say Sherman's behavior even remotely had any class or decorum. But as Joe said:

"On one level, we all understand how brutal a sport football can be. In a way, calling it a “sport” is changing its shape, making it seem a lot like the touch football game we play on the church lawn or the flag football games we used to play in college. Pro football really isn’t a sport like that. Pro football is about men who can bench press trailers crashing into each other, and guided missiles in helmets colliding with human gazelles and gruesome injuries that happen with such regularity that we can schedule commercials around them. Not to mention the concussions. You’d have to hypnotize me to play in a professional football game.

And these men do. They hypnotize themselves into this fevered state.

And we expect them to just let it all go when the whistle blows, and we snap our fingers...

... I have no idea what Richard Sherman has to do to himself to play professional football at the level he plays it. I have no idea what his state of mind must be like when he’s trying to match up to the violence of the moment."


Neither do I. And while I think it's fully appropriate to hold everyone - pro athletes included - to societal rules off the gridiron or court and outside the stadium, I think it's folly to rush into the arena, onto the field of play, shove a microphone into a person's face and expect that same decorum. If we want to hear considered, thoughtful talk, we'd best look for it where it can be expected. Thinking we're going to find it on the "battlefield" is indulging in an illusion of what the environment is like out there. And expressing surprise at the result is less commentary on the subjects and more an inadvertent confession of our own ignorance of how things are.

MadisonMan said...

and had just made a good play (not a great play, knocking the ball DOWN would have been a great play, knocking it up for grabs is actually giving ANYONE a chance at it, including those for whom it would have been a game ending touchdown.)

I disagree. An incomplete pass -- if he bats it down -- means the 49ers have another attempt. Batting it away is only good if time is expiring. It wasn't. Tipping it towards his team-mate ups the possibility of an interception. My assumption is that Sherman knew the position of every other player within catching distance of the tipped ball -- and I think that is actually the case, based on his past interviews.

rehajm said...

He is calling upon a stereotype of the ex-wife.

I hear him making an analogy. He once had this relationship that was positive, passionate, and emotionally satisfying. But there was dark trouble and he had to leave. He revisits, recalling the passions, the emotions, and remembers why he was in love, and also why he left..

So what stereotype do you see?

Bob Ellison said...

Tibore, there's a time and place for that battlefield attitude. Charles Barkley drew the line well in a Nike ad, and he consistently comes across as a man of both realism and respect.

Sherman comes across as a buffoon, an insult to his teammates, a talented idiot whom we can admire for his abilities but revile for his narcissism.

Tibore said...

"He is calling upon a stereotype of the ex-wife. It's not the ex-wife I am. Is it his actual ex-wife or is this the kind of casual stereotyping one gets from comedians? He's not saying anything funny though. What the hell?

If I introduced a racial character as an offhanded analogy in some discussion of a subject that wasn't even about race, I would expect to be criticized.

Coates specializes in calling other writers out for racial things like that, and I'm simply doing the same thing with gender."


I didn't see the stereotype of the ex-wife all that strongly myself. And had this been any other writer, I might be tempted to defend him by expounding on this point. But this is Ta-Nehisi Coates, and it is legit criticism to give to this specific writer.

I find it fair - dare I say "karmic"? - to give him the very medicine he dishes out. I often don't see the racial allusions he so often expounds on either, so when he's got it coming, I'd say he's earned it.

What goes around comes around. Thanks, Professor. I believe understand now.

traditionalguy said...

For the record, "Narcissim" describes a serious and evil mental illness that controls the minds of weak captives f the narcissist so they must see only one version of what the narcissist is like or else. It's not being self centered.

Sherman was just publicly assertive towards a combatant like the shepherd boy David was toward Goliath. David also bragged too much for better men's taste holding up the dead giants head and even showing off Goliath's sword as a spoil of war.

Tibore said...

"Bob Ellison said...
Tibore, there's a time and place for that battlefield attitude."


That's my entire point too.

"Sherman comes across as a buffoon, an insult to his teammates, a talented idiot whom we can admire for his abilities but revile for his narcissism."

I don't disagree with that. What I'm saying is that we shouldn't be surprised to see such attitude erupt when we go looking for it on the very field we encourage it to erupt in the very aftermath of the situation we demand it erupt. And that it's hypocritical of us to encourage the behavior with viewership, ticket sales, and fan demands regarding player performance level, then criticize the very same behavior when it manifests not in a tackle or block on the field but rather in an on-field interview seconds to minutes after a game.

MayBee said...

Now we are at "revile"?

My goodness.

Bob Ellison said...

traditionalguy, you need to read some literature.

Scott said...

Stereotypes are useful ways to frame interpersonal situations when you're operating from a lack of information. In Fo Sheezy Coates case, he's using a stereotype in a simile to efficiently communicate the conflicted feelings associated with his relationship to a sport that he once loved.

Did it work? I think he made his point. Was it politically correct communication? Maybe not, but how could you convey the same point as unambiguously as he did without using the stereotype? Is it right for him to think of ex wives that way? Nunya.

I loved the ESPN clip with Sherman and the two commentators. Damn, I like Sherman a lot now.

Pogo is Dead said...

"traditionalguy said...
For the record, "Narcissim" describes a serious and evil mental illness that controls...
"

Nope.
try this instead:
A Generational Pathology: Narcissism Is Not Grandiosity

Lem said...

Sherman sounds like a dissed woman.

There is a gender role reversal going on out there.

Pathetic grown men crying on television.

traditionalguy said...

Thanks Bob, I will read some literature.

The use of narcissism as a descriptive today for arrogance destroys a word we need to use where it belongs.

mccullough said...

Coates doesn't know much about football or ex-wives.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

He is calling upon a stereotype of the ex-wife. It's not the ex-wife I am. Is it his actual ex-wife or is this the kind of casual stereotyping one gets from comedians?

"Casual"? Really? That's the adjective you chose?

Hardly appropriate. They are usually based on decades of observation, and can be quite useful, until more information about the specific case becomes known. And they (the good ones anyway) always have a strong measure of truth, else why THAT specific stereotype.

traditionalguy said...

Pogo...That was a good article about clinical narcissism being masked by supposing it is measured by grandiosity traits. I accept that writer's analysis, but it still stops bit superficial because it doesn't deal with the toxic effects of that super mental illness. that no one can treat.

Bob Ellison said...

traditionalguy said "The use of narcissism as a descriptive today for arrogance destroys a word we need to use where it belongs."

Let me change my prescription. Try reading perception. Sherman talks like a narcissist in the Greek sense. You think it's a description of "arrogance". You are wrong there.

Steve said...

Football in the '60s and 70's was forearm shivers, head slaps and knee targeting while the media dress it up as the glory of clean competition. Now the media eats up the "thug" and Richard Sherman has been cast. Fox loves it. ESPN loves it. Even Prof Althouse has pricked up her ears and has some of her more recent commented posts. It is a perfect storm of nostalgia for a time that never existed, subtle racism, old white guy superiority and pseudo-intellectualism.

This is the way the game is played and Sherman plays it well. On the field and off.

When you see comparisons between Sherman and Revis you are missing the point unless you understand that Derell Revis signed a free agent contract that pays him 26X more for roughly equivalent numbers on the field.

Skip Bayless got what he wanted out of his interview. He is please that people are talking about him and watching him on youtube. There were no journalists like Bayless in the golden era of sport.

I expect Sherman will mellow in time, especially after he signs a $100 million contract and he will ease into an NFL Sunday contract at the end of his playing career.

Bob Ellison said...

For example, it would be arrogant of me to assume that you don't know the meaning of these words. It would be narcissistic to assume that only I can possibly know these meanings as well as they should be understood.

William said...

I wouldn't mind having coffee with many, perhaps even the majority of Tom Cruise's ex wives. Sometimes the vindictiveness of the ex wife is a function not of her craziness but of the offense she endured. See Mia Farrow......Sherman is a better as a cornerback than Cohesi is as a writer. But both men are destined to have vindictive ex-wives......Sherman can get away with it for a season or two, but someday he will lose a step and the Furies will be merciless.......Just as an experiment, I would like to offer a million dollar curling tournament in order to see how it influences the participants' behavior. The guess here is hat they would not behave better.

MnMark said...

I once heard Dennis Prager explain why it was important that people wear clothes in public: it is because there is an animal nature to mankind too, and it's not far below the surface. And one of the ways we distinguish ourselves from animals and animal behavior is to cover ourselves. Another way is with social norms like good sportsmanship, which requires people to exercise some emotional control even in the heat of the competitive moment.

It's a safety feature, helping us to maintain control and avoid descending into the kind of really horrific, savage, animal behavior that human beings have engaged in at times. It's the first line of defense.

That's why it's important for people to behave like ladies and gentlemen, to be good sportsmen, to not tattoo themselves like jungle savages or swear like longshoremen. When you begin to say "what does it matter if Richard Sherman or Muhammad Ali or whoever behaves primitively? They don't hurt anyone," you are taking one further step down the slippery slope. If that doesn't matter, then the next stage of degeneracy won't matter either, and so on.

Ann Althouse said...

"I emailed my son after the game and said it had been an "ugly-thugly" game. In his answer, while agreeing, he said he wouldn't call Sherman a "thug". Is this a new racist word?… What do you think about the word? It's being used a lot today. It is subconsciously racist? Is it used to describe behavior that is "other" ? That is uncomfortable."

It's not the most racial term you could come up with, but the connotation today is racial. I would avoid it unless you mean to connote something racial. I don't think that's what you want to do.

It's a distraction, so why create that static unless it's what you want -- consciously or unconsciously.

MnMark said...

It's ["thug"] not the most racial term you could come up with, but the connotation today is racial.

Ah, another term on its way to the crimethink list.

I was going to ask what words might be acceptable to use to describe behavior engaged in by black people that is aggressive, criminal, coarse, or otherwise threatening.

Then I realized that the problem isn't the word - the problem is criticizing black people. That's the thing that's not permitted in our progressive society.

You can still use the word "thug" of course, as long as it is only applied to white men.

jacksonjay said...


Take a look at photos of the tattoos of the High Priest of Black Culture, Tupac. What is the prominent tattoo? Case closed!

MadisonMan said...

When you begin to say "what does it matter if Richard Sherman or Muhammad Ali or whoever behaves primitively? They don't hurt anyone,"

I don't see primitive behavior here, but behavior that is influenced by an extreme adrenaline rush.

If someone were to interview me when such adrenaline levels were in my bloodstream -- say, immediately after escaping from a burning building, or saving someone from falling through ice on a lake -- my replies would be similarly incoherent.

The difference *might* be that I would be embarrassed afterwards, but I think Sherman is smart enough to know that his commentary is a gold mine. People are looking for entertainment, and Sherman's antics entertain.

Slippery slope talk is just nonsense, old man screaming get off my lawn talk.

Pogo is Dead said...

" I would avoid it unless you mean to connote something racial. "

The left needs to publish a monthly list of Things That Must Not Be Said By Whites.

That would be helpful.
Thanks in advance.

LarsPorsena said...

MnMark said...

It's ["thug"] not the most racial term you could come up with, but the connotation today is racial.

Ah, another term on its way to the crimethink list.

I was going to ask what words might be acceptable to use to describe behavior engaged in by black people that is aggressive, criminal, coarse, or otherwise threatening.

Then I realized that the problem isn't the word - the problem is criticizing black people. That's the thing that's not permitted in our progressive society.

You can still use the word "thug" of course, as long as it is only applied to white men.

1/21/14, 10:39 AM
___________________________________

Also avoid, niggling and niggardly

Henry said...

I expect Sherman will mellow in time, especially after he signs a $100 million contract and he will ease into an NFL Sunday contract at the end of his playing career.

If Ray Lewis can turn into an elder statesman, anyone can turn into an elder statesman.

I expect Sherman will do just fine. Everyone knows his name now.

Frankly, I'm glad the Superbowl will not feature the loser who kisses his biceps after touchdown throws.

I'm still rooting for the Broncos. I always root for the team that beats my team.

Mark said...

Tibore's point about the reporter walking up with a microphone and expecting calm, cool, rational press-conference-type responses at that emotional moment was a good one. It's foolish to grab a random guy just off the field and expecting the response you get an hour after the game.

It was clear she hadn't had any actual interaction with him before going live as he was obviously lost into game-mode.

What ever happened to the reporter in the field verifying their source before going with it? She sure as hell didn't here ... IMO the person sticking a microphone in someone's face is where discretion should be practiced.

Used to be journalists weren't total idiots.

jacksonjay said...


In MSNBCVILLE, "golf" is a racist word!

Carl Pham said...

Why use the ex-wife as your analogy?

Because it works. And you know it works, because it irritated you. You know 88% of his male audience laughed, nodded his head sympathetically, and thought I know exactly what you mean.

I am guessing half of what annoys you is that your sex is so easily stereotyped, so readily seen in cardboard cutout terms by the opposite sex. Between being the bodacious bod w00t! or the ol' ball-and-chain, where is the room for the precious individual soul?

Oh well. Primates are like that.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

It's not the most racial term you could come up with, but the connotation today is racial. I would avoid it unless you mean to connote something racial.

Screw that sentiment.

I'm the same age as you, Ann, and Black culture in the 1970's was way way better than today. A wrong turn was taken somewhere (the wages of following Progressive bull shit policies, I'm thinking) , and so today's Black culture is, by comparison just awful. Decadent, mock-able, toxic, feral, self-destructive . . . etc.

I wouldn't mind as much, but they are taking the rest of us down with them.
'Thug' is one of the milder words we could use.

tim maguire said...

Kurt Vonnegut once said about tennis medals (but applies to all sports):

It shows that the recipient can do something of no use to anyone more competently than anybody else.

Sherman is not better at life than me. He is a better athlete than me, which means he has more money than me, which means he has access to a better life than me. An access that he may or may not make good use of. And none of that says anything about whether he is better at life than anybody else.

MnMark said...

Slippery slope talk is just nonsense, old man screaming get off my lawn talk.

Germans who lived in the 1923-1945 era could you tell you something about slippery slopes. They're not nonsense. But fools can't see anything beyond the present moment.

garage mahal said...

Anyone is better at life than Skip Bayless is.

tim in vermont said...

"do something of no use to anyone"

I call bullshit. By that measure, no performer or artist or author of fiction is of use to anyone.

People say basketball is like jazz. Well football is more like rock. Tightly constrained, then freed for brilliant solo performances for short bursts. Sherman is one of those performers.

traditionalguy said...

Thuggees were roving bands of muderers with no care for the victims. They were Indian or Caucasians.

Since 1990 black dominance by rap chanting has had many urban white teens afraid of oversized blacks , even seeking to join them.

The NFL is such an oversized world. May the bigggest gladiator win. Michigan and Wisconsin have always prided themselves on the size of their white linemen and fullbacks.

Down with Big Ten Thugs, said the TCU horned frogs.


Lem said...

On the bright side... Ta-Nehisi Coates analogy is dying.

Wait... analogies don't die, do they? metaphors do.

Roughcoat said...

Real men show grace under pressure.

Real men don't brag,don't taunt, don't belittle or seek to humiliate.

Real men are chivalrous to their foes. They understand that their honor is contingent on honoring their fores. They understand that honor is everything, win or lose; that keeping your honor is more important than winning or losing.

Steve said...

garage mahal said...
Anyone is better at life than Skip Bayless is.

For the first time I believe Garage and I are on the same side of an issue.

Tim Mcguire, You might not wnat to line up your life against Sherman's. What criteria do you use? Rising from difficult beginnings, educational achievement, professional achievement? On those three I'll bet you lose.

tim maguire said...

People say basketball is like jazz.

I call bullshit. Basketball is not like jazz, it's like a game where scoring is too easy. So maybe it's like free jazz, but that's not music.

Stanley Smith said...

Try reading this Sherman interview for a different take: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/01/20/richard-sherman-interview-michael-crabtree/

Most pro football players have a career that lasts 5 years. Injuries and repetitive concussive trauma tend to shorten their lives substantially. It's not a fun life for many. The commenter that hoped for a "benchwarming" result for Sherman may just get it sooner than he thinks.

tim maguire said...

Steve, you know nothing.

jacksonjay said...


That three-point bullshit killed basketball for me!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

MnMark said...

It's a safety feature, helping us to maintain control and avoid descending into the kind of really horrific, savage, animal behavior that human beings have engaged in at times.

Think Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield's ear.

MnMark said...

It's almost painful to watch someone who claims to have a Stanford degree behave as though he believes that the way to refute an argument is to insult your opponent. The concept of an ad hominem argument doesn't seem to have been taught in the classes Sherman took at Stanford.

Sherman behaves no differently from a ten year old boy on a playground - a badly-behaved ten year old. And what's pathetic is that he doesn't even seem to understand why he looks bad. His brilliant idea of a comeback is to insult the manhood of the host of the tv program!

But it's characteristic of black culture. It's a culture where the way you show yourself to be a better man than another is to make a more withering insult of the other man. It's an infantile, emotionally immature and mildly retarded mindset that goes a long way to explaining why predominantly black neighborhoods, cities, and countries are such bad places to live.

Virgil Hilts said...

If your 12 year old son (or daughter) acted like Sherman after a sports win, would you be proud?

James said...

@tim in vermont

Want to see sportmanship in cricket? Check out Piers Morgan defending England's honor by facing up to Brett Lee during the recent Ashes series: Piers shown no mercy from Lee

Incidentally I grew up in the Caribbean and was fortunate to see many of greats like Sir Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, etc play in domestic competitions.

Tibore said...

"Mark said...

It was clear she hadn't had any actual interaction with him before going live as he was obviously lost into game-mode."


Actually, given Sherman's reputation among NFL fans and reporters for being outspoken (diplomatic phrasing there), as well as Erin Andrews experience with players on the field, I harbor little doubt she didn't have at least a general sense of what she was getting into. I can't imagine she could've ever predicted the specifically explosive rant at Crabtree, but at the same time I don't believe she was looking for anything other than a loud, top-volume, demonstrative interview. She was, after all, singling out one of the most outspoken players on the team within minutes of him executing a decisive play.

The only surprise I'd attribute to her is not expecting such a clownish looking, pro-wrestling style call out.

Pogo is Dead said...

Avoiding criticizing Sherman for unsportsmanlike conduct on and off the field, and avoiding using accurate terms like thugs for fear of causing offense are themselves racist actions, via 'the soft bigotry of low expectations.'

It treats Sherman like a child, and the white adults know not to expect any more of such 'gladiators' (a euphemism for black male athlete), so don't bring it up, say 'whaddya expect?', or even better, extol it as a virtue.

Bobby said...

If you came of age during the 80s and 90s, you probably saw Richard Sherman's act exactly for what it was: a rendition of any number of interviews that Ric Flair or "Hollywood" Hogan provided to Mean Gene Okerlund and his ilk on WWF or WCW programming.

MadisonMan said...

Germans who lived in the 1923-1945 era could you tell you something about slippery slopes.

Classic.

BTW -- if my 12-yo son behaved this way after a win, I'd correct him afterwards.

There's a difference in adrenaline levels in my 12-yo son and in a pro football player who has made the play to catapult his team into the non plus ultra match, something they all aspire to achieve. I rather doubt a 12-yo, my 12-yo, however good he was then, would ever be as excited, or would be generating such levels of adrenaline.

BTW, aren't you all glad Sherman has made his comments, though, so you can shake your fingers and wag your tongues in his general direction!? Mission Accomplished! You've guaranteed his future wealth as a commentator.

Well done!

donald said...

Wishing somebody to be injured is a sign of never having played also.

donald said...

Hershel Walker, who could kick his ass right now said it best.

"Act like you've been there before".

jr565 said...

You're right that calling for injury was wrong on my part. I meant he should be marginalized without feeling any actual injury. Like Tebow.
Or, simply warm the bench because he can't produce.
Considering some of the injuries football players actually suffer I shouldn't have insinuated that I wished such injuries on him.

Tank said...

Walker stole that from Lombardi who said it to a rookie who had just run back a kickoff for a touchdown and (Omigod) spiked the ball.

Michael said...

So now we can't use "thug" in reference to something in which black people might be involved. Nice to know. Little by little the language gets choked off, meaning extracted, discipline awaits infraction. Infraction just a pout away.

We think so little of black people.

jr565 said...

If he wants his numbers to speak for themselves then he shouldn't let his trash talking speak for him instead. Because all he comes across as is a sore winner who acts like a little baby when people ask him about his poor sportsmanship

MnMark said...

There's a difference in adrenaline levels in my 12-yo son and in a pro football player who has made the play to catapult his team into the non plus ultra match, something they all aspire to achieve.

What you're saying is that we can't expect good sportsmanship or emotional self-control from someone with adrenaline coursing through his veins. Which means that we couldn't expect sportsmanship from any sportsman who has just won or lost a close contest, since coursing adrenaline is pretty much a given in that situation.

Just another example of lowering expectations so that bad black behavior can be excused. Slippery slope!

jr565 said...

Madisonman wrote:
There's a difference in adrenaline levels in my 12-yo son and in a pro football player who has made the play to catapult his team into the non plus ultra match, something they all aspire to achieve.

there should also be a difference in maturity levels between a 12 year old and a college educated adult.
Not every sports star who makes the big play also acts like a complete douche. Only the douches.

jr565 said...

Madisonman wrote:
There's a difference in adrenaline levels in my 12-yo son and in a pro football player who has made the play to catapult his team into the non plus ultra match, something they all aspire to achieve.

there should also be a difference in maturity levels between a 12 year old and a college educated adult.
Not every sports star who makes the big play also acts like a complete douche. Only the douches.

MayBee said...

I think it's gross that people want to bring Sherman's race into it.

Did you all talk about Richie Incognito and bad white behavior?

MnMark said...

The more I think about it the more I think this is truly a clash of cultures. In black culture, the way you beat an opponent is by humiliating them, insulting them. (See the "dozens".) It's personal.

In white culture, the way you beat an opponent is by outperforming them in the contest. And you really claim the victory when you beat their performance without making a big display of it, and by being a good sport. That displays not just excellent physical skills, but self control, emotional maturity, dignity, and honor.

From a black culture perspective, the rules against taunting and poor sportsmanship in professional sports make no sense. The way you beat another man is by humiliating him, so why would you want to forgo the taunting after a win that is the frosting on the cake? The taunting is the point!

It's like Usain Bolt easing up before the finish line in that Olympic sprint. His goal wasn't an excellent performance; his goal was to humiliate his opponents. He can do that even better by showing that he doesn't even need to give 100% in order to beat them. I'm sure that he, like Richard Sherman, was somewhat puzzled and resentful at being criticized for what seemed to him like perfectly reasonable behavior.

And here we have this Sherman, bragging about his Stanford education, going on national TV and clearly thinking that by insulting the host's manhood that he is making the definitive argument. Well, in the black world, he is! I bet if you polled the black viewers of the show, they would say that Sherman destroyed the host. While the white viewers' mouths are hanging open in amazement that someone could be so childish and low-class as to think that insulting the host is some kind of answer to the arguments he is making.

Fen said...

Sherman is merely trolling us.

MnMark said...

I think it's gross that people want to bring Sherman's race into it.

I think it's gross that some people willfully refuse to see the racial aspect of it, when black culture is clearly part of it.

What would it take for you to criticize a black person for a bad behavior that is stereotypical of black people?

Steve said...

Tim,

I know nothing about you. I know more about Richard Sherman. All I asked was what criteria you want to use to determine who is better at life. I proposed 3, each of which Sherman has you beat. The fact that I know nothing of you would probably be a 4th category that he wins.

Rebuttal?

Trashhauler said...

"...but why drag women into the story? Why use the ex-wife as your analogy?"

He was personalizing the story, not picking on ex-wives. He could has said "ex-spouse" or he could have used some non-marital analogy. Try, "It was like seeing your ex-pastor for coffee after you've left the church." Or, "It was like seeing an old friend from whom you had drifted away for coffee."

Almost any other analogy would require that extra explanation of why it felt weird, strange, or uncomfortable. Instead, he used one that caught the feeling and required no explanation for almost anyone. We can also assume he was working with a word limit and a deadline and used something that fit.

One might as well ask why anything that mentions the existence of women must always be examined for hidden relevance.

MadisonMan said...

What you're saying

Actually, that's what you are saying.

Fen says it best, and in only 5 words.

jr565 said...

Suppose this were the highpoint of his career. Suppose he doesn't go on to any more football greatness.
He's going to be memorialized as a poor sport when the spotlight was on him.

Lem said...

If your 12 year old son (or daughter) acted like Sherman after a sports win, would you be proud?

If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.

MadisonMan said...

Lombardi's quote prompts this: this would have been a great comment for the interviewer:

Your actions make me think you've never been this excited about a play you've made. Which of your plays came the closest to the importance of what you just did?

jr565 said...

MnMark wrote:

In white culture, the way you beat an opponent is by outperforming them in the contest. And you really claim the victory when you beat their performance without making a big display of it, and by being a good sport. That displays not just excellent physical skills, but self control, emotional maturity, dignity, and honor.

I think you're right about black culture. Or maybe rap culture. But not all black sports stars act this way. Similarly plenty of white stars, like say Ty Cobb, acted like complete aholes as well.
Was that the white redneck culture?

Seeing Red said...

Via Fox Sports:

Sherman apparently has had it in for Crabtree since the two took part in Larry Fitzgerald's charity golf tournament in Arizona last summer.

Sherman went to shake Crabtree's hand and the latter tried to start a fight, according to Sherman's brother Branton.

"I'm going to make a play and embarrass him," Sherman said that day.

Well, he did.


Sherman explained his actions from Sunday night in a column he penned for Sports Illustrated on Monday.

"I ran over to Crabtree to shake his hand but he ignored me. I patted him, stuck out my hand and said, 'Good game, good game.' That's when he shoved my face, and that's when I went off.

Erin Andrews interviewed me after the game and I yelled what was obvious: If you put a subpar player across from a great one, most of the time you're going to get one result. As far as Crabtree being a top-20 NFL receiver, you'd have a hard time making that argument to me. There are a lot of receivers playing good ball out there, and Josh Gordon needed 14 games to produce almost double what Crabtree can do in a full season. And Gordon had Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell playing quarterback.....

Anonymous said...

I would just take it as someone you used to love (and by 'you' , I mean 'me'), and then you see them and simultaneously remember why you left.

Rush Limbaugh's quote is worse because

A. He's had so many ex-wives that he clearly has issues
B. Errr, the content of his show
C. Because yeeesh. Look at him. And yeah, general creepiness does matter in this context.

Seeing Red said...

It seems the country could use a reminder on good sportsmanship.

Via Drudge:

The double bird isn’t some weird new Olympic event, but it could be coming to Sochi anyway.

Dutch speedskater Sjinkie Knegt showed off his frustration at losing the 5,000-meter relay to Russia’s Victor Ahn at the ISU European Short Track speed skating Championships by giving him two middle fingers. The Dutch team would be disqualified for his actions, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Of course I’m sorry,” he told Dutch media after returning home. He added it that was done “out of emotion and frustration”....


William said...

Any chance that Sherman is simply a braggart and a showboat, as opposed to a narcicissist or a thug, and that his behavior is not symptomatic of deep fissures within our society. In any event it's more fun to read about his follies than Manning's virtues. So be grateful to him for that at least,......Babe Ruth was a bit of a hot dog, and Lou Gehrig wasn't. That's the way it goes.

jacksonjay said...


Ty Cobb?

paul a'barge said...

Your ex-wife. I didn't take that to mean his ex-wife. He said "your," not "my,"

Try this:
One's ex-wife.

Your ex-wife == One's ex-wife

It is not uncommon for folk who don't speak the Queen's English to use your in place of one's. This would be true of the average black, raised on Ebonics and missing the niceties of the language. On purpose.

Dan Hossley said...

Sherman made a great defensive play in the end zone.

Who cares what Ta-Nehesi Coates thinks about football? About Sherman? About anything, really.

Anonymous said...

"So now we can't use "thug" in reference to something in which black people might be involved.

We think so little of black people."

1/21/14, 11:43 AM

Is that what you thought of the black folks you marched with in all those MLK rallies you attended? LOL. Hypocrite.

Andy Freeman said...

> Similarly plenty of white stars, like say Ty Cobb, acted like complete aholes as well.
> Was that the white redneck culture?

Yup, and it's criticized, not excused, outside of professional wrestling.

Original Mike said...

"But since Vince Lombardi got the NFL trophy named for himself,"

WTF?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

SOJO said...
. . .
Rush Limbaugh's quote is worse because
. . .
C. Because yeeesh. Look at him. And yeah, general creepiness does matter in this context.


If you mean "look at" his body/face, rather than his wallet, then you really don't understand how women think.

Don M said...

Of course the ex wife might be crazy because she over reacted to infidelity.

Or because she didn't react as desired to infidelity. Like she should have recognized that I could find other people with whom to spend my time, and she would have to up her game to compete.

Michael said...

Inga: you are too dumb to get out of bed. You stupid stupid woman. You missed the point. Again.

Michael said...

MayBee: I made a point of calling out Incognito for being a thug. A bad one. Now, of course, thug means something racial so I suppose I was wrong to have not known that in advance of Althouse putting a racial label on a word.

Anonymous said...

Michael, drinking so early? Tsk, tsk.

Michael said...

Inga: You really don't get it do you? You don't get how insulting it is to black people to declare words like "thug" as racial and relating to black people? You think so little of black people that you believe they universally will hear that word and think of themselves? Bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Sure Michael, try to slip and slide your way out of your own racism. You are a transparent hypocrite who loves to claim you aren't a racist because you taught at a historically black college. That is no better than claiming, "Some of my best friends are black".

Michael said...

Inga: Fuck you. You really are the dumbest person on the internet.

traditionalguy said...

True "sportsmanship" includes acknowledging a worthy opponent's skills. Calling a skilled man a "typical Black Thug" is worse than bad sportsmanship.

And who appointed MinMark the identifier of White Men's conduct. I have acted like Sherman acted and enjoyed every minute of it...do I have to turn in my white sportsman's card?

And what will your pathetic racist knockoff of the KKK Do about it if I wont?

Trashhauler said...

Before our host feels compelled to explain, the word "thug" comes from "thuggee" which was once an Indian death cult. Similarly to the word, "barbarian" which was derived from the rapacious invaders known as "Berbers," the word 'thug" is not limited by race.

I didn't bother to google any of this, so if I'm wrong, sue me...I mean, I apologize.

Original Mike said...

"People say basketball is like jazz."

Basketball is like tic-tac-toe.

Anonymous said...

Michael, mean drunk.

Original Mike said...

"I have acted like Sherman acted and enjoyed every minute of it..."

I believe it.

Seeing Red said...

People who voted for The Chicago Way are offended the word thug is bubbling up to the surface?


Lol.

Seeing Red said...

The Left has always been thuggish.

garage mahal said...

The left is thuggish, *and* pussy pajama-boy metrosexuals!

Bobby said...

Trashhauler,

I believe the ancient Greeks coined the term barbarian to refer to anyone who was non-Greek (this in the days when the Greeks weren't one nation, but rather a civilization composed of numerous city-states sharing only a common language and a few other common traits). It certainly was what they used to refer to the Persians, Medes and other eastern peoples with whom they repeatedly clashed to lose, regain and retain their independence.

As I remember it, "barbar" was the sound they heard when these foreigners would speak in their native tongue(s), perhaps like "dirka" or "ching chang" and other terms which we don't use in these more politically correct times.

Michael said...

Garage Mahal: Can't say "thuggish". racial. New rules

garage mahal said...

I always found that one to be highly amusing. The left are simultaneously feminized pussies and tyrannical thugs.

Trashhauler said...

Thanks, Bobby. Told you I didn't look it up. I guess Berbers were somewhere in the middle. I trust I'll get partial credit.

Seeing Red said...

I also find it amusing as well. Intellectuals & their goons.

Seeing Red said...

Then the blood runs.

garage mahal said...

It doesn't make any sense, but neither does conservatism.

Howard said...

The more comments one reads at Althouse, the more that the recent Crack MC tirade at The Macho Response appears to be reasonable and sane. I'm sure having such a vial and cowardly clientele is worth all the Amazon Bucks.

Publius the Clown said...

I'm a die-hard, lifelong 49ers fan, so it's fair to know that in advance of my comments.

Richard Sherman can go straight to hell. Not only was his post-game interview with Erin Andrews the opposite of magnanimity, but he actually called Michael Crabtree a "sorry" receiver.

Anyone who's watched Michael Crabtree play knows that he's a special talent. He was a key link in the Niners' conference-winning season last year (and also had an excellent Super Bowl). More to the point, ever since Colin Kaepernick became the starter, he's been a force week-in and week-out during the regular season (except for the first part of this season, when he was injured).

Sherman needs to learn how to be a gracious winner. He and his colleagues in the Seahawks secondary also need to learn to stop holding the receivers on every single play, but they won't do that until the refs actually start calling it.

Not to mention that he was very nearly suspended for PED use but got new life because of a problem with a leaky sample cup. And not to mention a number of other obnoxious things he's done after Seahawks/49ers game alone.

In short, Sherman is a jerk who cheats. I hope the Broncos destroy the Seahawks.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Here's so perspective. Contrast Sherman's ego, after the achievement of defending a pass in a play-off football game, with this guy's ego:

Click Me

The world we Baby Boomer's grew up in, and miss greatly, was what it was, because they were who they were. And that's why it is gone forever.

We are the lesser sons and daughters of greater fathers and mothers.

donald said...

Cool jr645.

I don't believe Herschel (I can't believe I misspelled his name!) even knew who Vince Lombardi was, and I'm a big fan.

Blue@9 said...

First off, Sherman isn't a thug. He's a loudmouth and instigator, but I think most people recognize that he would run from a real fight.

Second, this has nothing to do with race. Some of the biggest trashtalkers in the NFL are white and some of the quietest guys are black.

Sherman is definitely the best cornerback in the NFL, but he grates on me and a lot of football fans. What really got me was last year when he got in Tom Brady's face after a win. It's just absurd for a second-year player, even one as talented as Sherman, to taunt a first-ballot HoFer who's been to the SB five times in his career. The problem isn't trash talking, but the fact that Sherman (1) he takes it off the field, and (2) he hasn't really accomplished anything yet. Michael Jordan was a monumental trash-talker, as was Muhammed Ali, but they were world champions over and over again. Brady himself a huge trash-talker, but he only does it in game and he's got the rings to back it up.

Blue@9 said...

One more thing: For those of you who don't watch much football, what Sherman does isn't typical of what goes on in the NFL. Most players exercise restraint and discipline when talking to the media, which is why Sherman is such news. I think most professional athletes recognize that the bad-boy athlete days of the 90s are over. Terrell Owens probably could have started for any team last year, but no one would even look at him because of his character issues. Look at the NBA-- the superstars are guys like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose; you don't see many Allen Iverson-type guys anymore.

donald said...

He ain't definitely the best cornerback. That is a real subjective thing man. He's good, but I don't think I'm taking your word for it.

traditionalguy said...

What Blue@9 said at 5:42. It takes all types.

Mike said...

The ex-wife comment was a reference to the NFL. Coates used to be a big fan and watch it all the time. he stopped when the stuff about CTE came out with football players blowing their brains out because of neurological injuries. He's referred to football a few times as his ex-wife (he's only been married once, to his current wife). I think "your ex-wife" is just an awkward turn of the phrase.

JoyD said...

Althouse, thanks. "...why create that static?" Excellent answer, good advice.

JoyD said...

And why am I posting at 4 am? Because my son and his wife are sleeping in an airport somewhere. Moms!! Losing sleep after the chicks have been long-ago launched..
"Every time I try to get out, they PULL me back in."
From The Godfather via Silvio on the Sopranos.

Unknown said...

First off, there is little question that Sherman is a gifted athlete and considering the Bayless interview, seems to value his Stanford education. Secondly, I didn't find much that was complicated about Coates ex-wife comment (football was something that he used to love, but not anymore). But as to Sherman, he represents the epitome of unbridled narcissism - "I am better at life than you are..." Are you kidding me?