Tell Him To F–k Right Off

Generally, there are way too many opinion shows on sports TV when they’re discussing Tiger Woods dropping some expletives in a golf tournament with the boom mic on him on 1st and 10 (and obviously, First Take earlier).  Skip Bayless mouthed off about Woods being one “of the most vulgar golfers on the Tour,” and said he should keep his language in check, to be an example to the children who watch and idolize him.

As politely as I can: fuck off, sir.

Quite possibly, one of the most enjoyable parts of watching athletic competitions on TV is hearing these slip-ups, these bouts of profane invective in the heat of competition — it reinforces that these are people doing a job, that they are real, not some abstraction viewed on the screen or from a high spot in the arena. The best example I have is in the NBA Finals back in 2002, when Rasheed Wallace got called for a really ticky-tack foul while Kobe Bryant was driving, and he let out the most audible “BULLSHIT, REF!” I’d heard in some time.

It also provides more reality from the crowd. How many times have you heard a packed arena chant “BULLSHIT!” after a foul call, or chant? It’s not incumbent upon the athletes; if the networks want to avoid this, they can put a delay on it or just deal with the consequences.

Since When Is A Pro Athlete Part Of A Public Trust?

Skip Bayless is prone to saying stupid, stupid things on First Take, but when both he and Jay Crawford supported the idea that if you make millions playing in a professional sport, that you automatically forfeit your right to medical privacy and that baseball (and by extension, other professional sports) is a “public trust,” it was beyond the pale of rational thought.

Baseball is only a “public trust” in the loosest sense of the term, because the ownership and the league executives so brilliantly ensured an anti-trust exemption from Congress. This, tied in with the usual flowery writings of the poetry of the game by writers who ought to know better, continues the “American pastime” rhetoric that professional sport would be better off if we completely excised it altogether. This gets nationalism and ersatz patriotism wrapped up in our entertainment. (Let me be clear: I don’t have any problem with the national anthem at sporting events, and the same goes for dedications or tributes to military folk serving abroad.)  This is how you get Congress, which has much, much better things to be doing with its time, blowing several days on steroids in pro sports — for the good of the children, whose parents apparently cannot do the basic work of telling their progeny to not use steroids or most other recreational drugs.

Continue reading