Often where we find an Ethics Hero, there is an Ethics Dunce that helped to reveal him. That’s certainly the situation here. In this case, the Ethics Dunce is Shannon Sharpe, the NFL Hall of Fame tight end turned sports commentator, like Whitlock, an African-American.
According to reports, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy set out to inspire his team with a locker-room stunt stolen from the old prop comic “Gallagher” (whose charms, I admit, always eluded me). McCarthy produced a sledgehammer at a team meeting and smashed numerous watermelons, each with a point. NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero described the scene after the Cowboys won the game (See? It worked!):
“Mike McCarthy gets up and says, ‘Guys, I want to apologize. I don’t think I did a good enough job emphasizing our objectives for the week’ — one of which was to hammer the ball out of [Minnesota running back] Dalvin Cook’s hands. At that point McCarthy pulls out a sledgehammer, not a prop, a full sledgehammer you could knock a wall down with, and someone rolls in a bunch of watermelons.Each one has a different objective written on it McCarthy reads the objective — BAM! — smashes the watermelon. He goes down the row doing this. The players are roaring, McCarthy’s pants are soaked. He finally gets to the watermelon with Dalvin Cook’s picture on it, DeMarcus Lawrence jumps up and goes, ‘I’ve got to get that one.”[McCarthy] hands the sledgehammer to Lawrence, and he smashes that watermelon.”
A good time was had by all, but never mind. Shannon Sharpe saw an opportunity to tar a white head coach as a racist. “I don’t think it’s fun, ” he said on a Fox sports show. “Dear white America, any time you have black people in your presence, watermelon has a negative connotation,” Sharpe decreed.
“Yep,” replied Skip Bayless, an old white guy who wasn’t about to get “canceled.” His response essentially meant, “Y-y-y-yes, sir. Whatever you say!”
“Let it go,” Sharpe went on, not letting it go.:
Things that were acceptable many, many years ago, even though it wasn’t acceptable, it was tolerated, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Find another tool, another mechanism to motivate your players. Black players: If you need somebody, a white man smashing watermelons, to get you motivated, you’re in the wrong line of business. It’s not funny. It’s not cute.
I don’t get these young guys anymore, I really don’t. Because there ain’t no way in hell Mike Shanahan, Dan Reeves, Wade Phillips, or any of my coaches could have ever brought a watermelon and … what!? And you think that’s cool? And he bragged about it!
If you ain’t going to a picnic, if you ain’t going to a cookout or a barbecue, man you better not have no watermelons coming up in there talking about we smashing this.
I don’t know what Mike McCarthy was thinking. And I don’t know what those black players in the locker room was thinking allowing him to do that to them.
“Agreed!” Bayless said, doing his best Ed McMahon imitation. What a weasel.
So let me get this straight: there’s a rule that it’s racist to do anything with a watermelon if there’s a black person around, because they are so sensitive or simple-minded that they will assume they are being insulted no matter what the context?
Who makes these rules? Can we poor, oppressive white people learn what other things are like that, please, or is this supposed to be like double-secret probation, so a violation can be sprung on an unsuspecting offender someone wants to have fired or shunned? Let’s see: is fried chicken on the list? (I like fried chicken!) How about basketball? Hip hop music? Barack Obama references?
To the rescue galloped Whitlock, one of the (very few) smart sportswriters as well as one who has the guts to be a conservative in a field where wokism reigns supreme.
“I’m not sure what Shannon Sharpe is thinking,” Whitlock said as guest host on a conservative radio show later in the week. Of course, he was just imitating Sharpe’s words about the coach. He knows what Sharpe was thinking; doesn’t everyone? Sharpe was thinking, “Here’s an opportunity to call a white man with power a racist and make him grovel for forgiveness!”
Who lives this way … constantly looking for something to be offended by?The Dallas Cowboys, like most of the NFL, 70% probably [are] black players on that roster. DeMarcus Lawrence, the defensive lineman gets up [and] smashes the watermelon, too. It didn’t mean a damn thing to them because they’re not thinking , ‘How can I be controversial on TV?’ and ‘How can I accuse a white person of being racist? That’s not a common thought for most people.
Mike McCarthy, I’ve known him for years. I’ve been a critic of him as a football coach. But there is not a shred of evidence that he’s racist … and to just willy-nilly throw in that tag on him to get through a television segment is repulsive to me.
I’ve known Shannon Sharpe just as long. And I know it’s a gimmick. I know he doesn’t believe it.
As far as I can determine, this got no rebuttal from Sharpe, who at least is smart enough to know when he’s been exposed and bested by a superior adversary after a race-baiting attempt failed.