The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Can we put ESPN sports writer Ralph Wiley in a home or something? I dislike all race-mongers, but at least people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton care -- or pretend to care -- about minorities who have real problems such as crime and poverty. Wiley moans about racism in the world of sport, where white millionaires and black millionaires compete on a level playing field.

Wiley has always been weird, rambling, and self-aggrandizing, but in his latest column he crosses the line into full-blown lunacy. Wiley rates the quarterbacks of the four NFL teams left in the playoffs. Wiley likes Peyton Manning, because he has run the Colts' offense so well that they have not punted in the postseason.

No, I lied. Wiley likes Peyton -- I'm sorry, "Peyt" -- because he's not a "wink-wink bigot." How does Wiley know this? Damned if I know. See if you can figure it out for yourself:

I think also Peyton is not a wink-wink bigot; he's not among the vast majority that are susceptible to being beak-fed from the talons of the great conversative birds of prey, which include my friend Rush.

Peyton doesn't need to go there.

Charlie P., from up Beantown way, hit me up on e-mail and stuck up for Archie, Peyt, Eli and the House of Manning. Charlie P. had done a piece on them for Esquire or some such, and said they were cool, and down, although they were from Drew, Mississippi, home of an infamous oppressive penal colony, Parchman Farms.

Little did my old friend and contemporary Charlie P. know. I'm nearly a contemporary of Archie's. He's much older; but when he was at Ole Miss, me and my boys were living in segregation, a hundred or so miles up the road, playing football for the Memphis Melrose high school Golden Wildcats, where we had an equal football tradition and history to that of Ole Miss. If you doubt this, check your local NFL rosters. There are at least four or five Memphis Melrose alumni playing in the NFL even today, including Jerome Woods, the All-Pro safety of the Chiefs, Dwayne Robertson, the Jets' No. 1 draft pick last year, and Ced Wilson, the 49er wideout.

Quick fact-check: Archie Manning played at Ole Miss from 1968 to 1970. School segregation in Mississippi came to an end with the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In a few years I expect to read about how Wiley slaved at his master's plantation picking cotton.

As a kid, I was hooked on Friday nights, watching Bobby Smith play wide. When later he changed his named to Bingo Smith of the Cleveland Cavs, I felt it was a comedown for him. One of my good old instructive high school coaches, Jesse Wilburn, was also an old Golden Wildcat. He had to be cut out of his uni after his Tennessee State team beat a Florida A&M team featuring Willie Galimore. You may never have seen Galimore play. If not, it is your loss.

We practiced from eight to five in 100-degree heat for the entire month of August. Back then, when I was there apprenticing on the game, we all had a good feeling about this Archie Manning, even though we never met him and he played in the lily-white SEC. I can't explain this to you. You could just feel he didn't need the advantage of any prejudice and bigotry. He didn't have to keep us down to lift himself up. He was just a great player. Simply great.

Frankly, I wish I could've played with the man. It was something about his manner, the way he moved, acted.

To summarize ... Wiley played high school football in the same state at the same time, temperature, and humidity that Peyton's father Archie played college football. (Pointless anecdote deleted.) And the voices in his head told him that Archie was a good guy. (More pointless anecdotes deleted.) Therefore Peyt must be too. Have you got that?

Hell, after reading that drivel I think I might need to be placed in a home.

ESPN is the network that dropped Rush Limbaugh after he said that Eagles Donovan McNabb QB was overrated because he was black. ESPN canned Gregg Easterbrook from its web site after Easterbrook made comments on his (non-ESPN) blog that were construed as anti-semitic.

And ESPN employs Ralph Wiley, who last summer wrote these words:

It is usually the American-born blacks' records and place that are resented instead of celebrated. For example, it's the stolen base that is denigrated as a weapon by baseball sabermetricians like Bill James, at precisely the time when a Rickey Henderson steals 130 bases in a season.

Repeat after me: "Political correctness is just a right-wing fantasy."



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