Comment Of The Day: “Gee, Jason Whitlock, What Do You REALLY Think About Simone Biles’ Quitting On The Olympics?”

Yes, I guess this is the sixth post related to the Simone Biles controversy. Isaac’s Comment of the Day elaborates on one of the many reasons this episode bothered me so much and continues to, especially as the excuses and rationalizations for Biles’ conduct appear to be taking over the “narrative” in the absence of what I consider persuasive facts and arguments. The next ugly shoe to drop, I predict, will be when the female American gymnast who won a gold in Tokyo gets endorsement contracts in preference to the “Greatest of All Time” who somehow couldn’t access that greatness when the spotlight was on, and chose not to try. The preference for the winner over the “hero” will be attributed to malign influences. Just wait.

Giving women appropriate power and influence in American culture has been generally beneficial to all, but the ascension of traditional female virtues has had the unfortunate effect of diluting some of the the very values that allowed the United States to come into existence and succeed over the centuries. The disastrous handling of the pandemic has been one example of how this development is not an unalloyed good, and the fact that Biles’ conduct is not merely greeted with sympathy, which is nice, but praise, which is offensive, is another.

Here is Isaac’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Gee, Jason Whitlock, What Do You REALLY Think About Simone Biles’ Quitting On The Olympics?”

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America used to be associated with very masculine qualities: toughness, stoicism, risk-taking. This reputation did not exclude American women. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Calamity Jane, Amelia Earhart.

It’s easy to point out the Generation X and millennials’ glaring lack of these qualities, but to me it’s their parents who steered America wrong. Specifically every boomer who jumped on the socialist bandwagon and participated in the 1960s and 70s revolutions against marriage, Christianity, monogamy, patriotism, sobriety, and hard work. The ones who think Woodstock was some kind of beautiful, transformative event. The ones who wax nostalgic about the “Summer of Love” when their poorly-raised grandkids turn chunks of Seattle into murder-dystopias. The generation that necessitated the invention of the term “latch-key kid” to describe their neglected children.

So I perused Simone Biles’ Wikipedia page, and, sure enough…in and out of foster care…abandoned by Mom…no Dad ever in the picture. Showed incredible talent that was her ticket to a secure future, only to be one of the gymnasts sexually exploited by serial abuser and boomer Larry Nassau. Diagnosed with ADHD; currently on medication. These are the symptoms of growing up in a world created by the values of the 60s and 70s. We can mock them for not knowing how to talk to girls, change a tire, be in a stable relationship, or cope with stress…but these are things people learn from their dads, their faith, and their stable community of neighbors, extended family, and church. Younger generations were not only not given those things; they were taught they didn’t need them.

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Gee, Jason Whitlock, What Do You REALLY Think About Simone Biles’ Quitting On The Olympics?

simone-biles

Yikes.

I felt that the feminist hypocrisy allowing Simone Biles to bail on her team when it depended on her as its star and foundation was enough; for once in 20121, the racial angle wasn’t necessary to get into. Am I convinced that if Mary Lou Retton had similarly withdrawn from the Olympics competition because she felt like she had “the weight of the world” on her shoulders she would have also been given a big group hug, near unanimous sympathy and “the King’s Pass”? Yes, I do.

However, defiant conservative black sports pundit Jason Whitlock has taken a racial approach to the Biles fiasco, and as is usually the case with Whitock, he takes no prisoners. Also as usual, he’s spot on.

Some excerpts:

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Ethics Hot Topics, 7/13/2021: A Date That Will Live In Ethics Infamy

1. Black Lives Matter…This is truly a date that will live in ethics infamy, or should: on July 13, 2013, the acquittal of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering Trayvon Martin in 2012, prompted Oakland, California resident Alicia Garza to post a message on Facebook containing the phrase “Black lives matter.” Garza said she felt “a deep sense of grief” after Zimmerman was acquitted (as he should have been and had to be based on the evidence.) She said she was further saddened that many people to blamed the victim, Martin, and not the “disease” of racism.

As has marked the soon to emerge Black Lives Matter movement, facts didn’t matter to Garza. Martin was the aggressor, and was the only one of the two parties involved who made race-related comments prior to the confrontation. Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense, and the prosecution’s own investigator testified to that fact. Never mind: Patrice Cullors, a Los Angeles community organizer and friend of Garza’s, read her post and replied with the first instance of #BlackLivesMatter, which quickly “went viral.” Garza, Cullors and fellow activist Opal Tometi built a network of community organizers and racial justice activists using the clever but misleading name Black Lives Matter, and the phrase and the hashtag were used by grassroots activists and protests all across the country, many of them based on false narratives implying racism where no evidence of it existed, as in the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, George Floyd and others. It is now a powerful and profitable, if intellectually dishonest and divisive, force in American culture and politics. The damage the movement has already done is incalculable; the damage it will do is frighteningly uncertain.

I note that in the description of the movement on the allegedly objective History.com is that it is “simple and clear in its demand for Black dignity.” That’s laughable (but then, historians) since the name is anything but clear, and deliberately so. It stands as a false accusation against American society and non-black citizens that black lives do not matter to the rest of the population except the woke, and thus has spurred the attack on the nation’s legitimacy by purveyors of Critical Race Theory and the “1619 Project.” The seemingly benign slogan deftly avoids contradiction and makes dissent perilous (“What, you don’t think black lives matter, you racist?“) while being used to justify Marxism, censorship, reparations, race-based hiring, promotions and benefits, and other discriminatory activities and policies.

2. In a related July 13 note, this was also the date, in 2015, when Sandra Bland was found hanged in her cell. Bland’s name is also among those used as a BLM rallying cry, and like so many of the others, that is based on a presumption of racism and other facts unproven. On July 10, 2015, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia pulled over 28-year-old Bland, an African American, for failing to signal a lane change. She refused to cooperate; he was unprofessional. The officer arrested her and took her to a nearby jail. Several days later, she was found dead, and an autopsy concluded she had hanged herself with a plastic bag.

Of course, Bland’s family and friends suspected that the official report of her suicide was a cover-up, because police are racists. But Bland was a police confrontation waiting to happen. She considered herself a Black Lives Matter activist, writing in one social media post, “In the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.” That’s ironic, because if she had just accepted the minor traffic stop without fighting with the officer, she might be alive today. Bland had at least ten previous traffic-related encounters with police in Illinois and Texas; she had been charged five times for driving without insurance, four times for speeding, and once each for driving while intoxicated and drug possession. Her last conviction was for shoplifting, and she owed $7,579 in unpaid fines at the time of her death. Encina was fired, and Bland’s family received the obligatory wrongful death settlement, in this case almost $2 million.

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Noonish Ethics Battles, 7/1/2021: “Remember Gettysburg” Edition

Gettysburg

July 1 marks the first day of the epic Battle of Gettysburg, which could fairly be celebrated as the beginning of the end for the Confederacy and slavery. Like so many pivotal moments in our history, this one came about by random chance, with Lee’s army and the newly installed Gen. Meade’s Army of the Potomac stumbling into each other in a Pennsylvania country town in 1863. For three days, a bloody and complicated battle engulfed the area, with so many ethics lessons in the process that I fear I won’t be able to cover all of them this week. [ Guest posts on the topic will be welcome!] I am hoping to visit the battlefield again this year—this week will be tough, unfortunately. I will definitely find time this week to watch Ted Turner’s excellent and even-handed film about the battle, highlighted for me by the performances of Jeff Daniels as Joshua Chamberlain, Tom Berrenger as Longstreet, and the late Richard Jordan as General Lewis Armistead, as well as the dramatization of Picket’s Charge, and the score by Randy Edelman.

1. Baseball sexual misconduct notes…A restraining order was taken out against Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, last year’s National League Cy Young winner. Bauer is a sportswriter favorite for his outspoken social media presence and progressive politics, so this will be a blow to the sportswriting woke. The woman making the allegations had what started as a consensual relationship with the pitcher, but in a 67-page document, alleges that Bauer assaulted her on two different occasions, punching her in the face, vagina, and buttocks, sticking his fingers down her throat, and strangling her to the point where she lost consciousness twice, an experience she said she did not consent to. After the second choking episode, the woman awoke to find Bauer punching her in the head and face, inflicting serious injuries. She contacted police, and there is now an active investigation of Bauer by the Pasadena, California police department. If any of her account is true, Bauer faces serious discipline from baseball, which has been (finally) cracking down on domestic abuse by players in recent years.

Also yesterday, MLB suspended the former New York Mets general manager Jared Porter at least the end of the 2022 season.   Porter was fired from the Mets in January after an ESPN investigation revealed that he had harassed a female reporter in 2016 when he worked for the Cubs.

Craig Calcaterra, the lawyer sports pundit, supplied the facts here, and I am grateful for that. I would love to subscribe to his substack newsletter, but every issue I read includes Craig’s apparently incurable progressive bias where it doesn’t belong, and I’m just not paying for that. This time, for example, he cites the Bauer, Porter, and Bill Cosby stories to justify the proposition that “we believe [women] when they say what happened to them,” a stunning thing for a lawyer to say. How Kirsten Gillibrand of him! Later, as if this belongs in a baseball news letter, Craig cheers the death of Donald Rumsfeld as an architect of an “Illegal and immoral” war.

All war is immoral to some extent, but the Iraq War, while in hindsight a mistake, was not illegal except in left-wing talking points. Craig should know better, and maybe he does, but in any event, foreign policy and international law are not his areas of expertise. The degree to which wokism has rotted his brain also shows up in his inclusion of an insulting trigger warning before his account of the Bauer allegations: “Warning: the following contains allegations of sexual assault and violence that may be difficult to read.” Oh for heaven’s sake: “Finnegan’s Wake” is difficult to read. News is life: stop treating adults like children.

You can subscribe to Craig’s excellent baseball observations and juvenile political commentary here.

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Ethics Hero And Ethics Quote Of The Week: Jason Whitlock

Floyd statue

The George Floyd statue outside the Newark, NJ. City Hall.

I was introduced to sportswriter Jason Whitlock 20 years ago, when he was the featured speaker at a Kansas City legal convention I was attending. He was a forceful and entertaining speaker, and quick and witty in his question and answer session after his remarks. Since then, I have followed his career with interest, especially his recent emergence as a black conservative with the courage to be direct unequivocal, and not only regarding sports.

Commenting on the epic rant by a black parent and radio pundit about Critical Race Theory I featured over the weekend, esteemed Ethics Alarms commenter Humble Talent opined,

“One of the worst trends to come out of conservative politics in the last couple of years is to put up on a pillar any minority person that will say things that conservatives agree with. I think it’s a reactionary measure; Progressives say we’re racist, sexist, or homophobic, so we go out of our way to find female/minority/gay people to platform in order to prove we aren’t…Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re bad people, I just don’t think they’re smart, funny, or talented enough to get space in conservative media absent these identity markers that conservatives seem especially hungry for….”

That point is legitimate, but it can’t be fairly applied to Jason Whitlock. Yes, I believe he has received special attention because he is a black man standing up to The Great Stupid, but he also deserves special attention because he is unusually astute, persuasive and eloquent. A white analyst, like, say, me, can be automatically squelched as biased when noting, for example, that George Floyd is an absurd and intellectually indefensible martyr for the Black Lives Matter movement since there was no evidence that his death was a product of racism, systemic or otherwise. When an astute, persuasive and eloquent black critic makes a similar argument, it demonstrates that my conclusion was not necessarily motivated by racial bias.

I know: people will say it anyway.

Whitlock has made a different argument regarding Floyd in his latest essay, but it is an excellent one. Indeed, if there were any integrity at the major newspapers, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, New York Magazine and the Usual Suspects that have destructively carried the banners of those who have, quite successfully, exploited that neatly symbolic manner of Floyd’s demise, he would not have had to seek publication in the relatively marginal Glenn Beck website, The Blaze, where he hosts a podcast called “Fearless.” The essay is titled, “The Veneration of George Floyd is racist and must be stopped.”

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Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/13/20: Sick Dog Edition

SICK, PLAYFUL  OR SCARED CAVALIER DOG COVERED WITH A WARM  TASSEL BLANKET

This is likely to be short, because the Marshall household is distracted. Over the last 48 hours, some mysterious malady has attacked our sweet dog, and we are deciding whether to avail ourselves of one of the few 24-hour vet emergency services or wait until tomorrow. Thanks to the $$$#@!%! pandemic, anything is going to require hours of waiting, and this is a very bad day for that, as it is a work day here at ProEthics. Starting Friday night, Spuds started acting distracted and hyper, wanting to go out, not wanting to come back into the house, making weird yips and staring outside like the devil was lurking. He suddenly started lying down in strange places, and stopped seeking out his usual resting spots (laps, bed and sofas). At the same time, his pink skin where the fur is sparse looked pinker, his face started showing blotches, and little bumps showed up today on his head. Nose: cold; appetite: fine. He’s not listless: the opposite, in fact. But he’s clearly not happy.

Glad to see he’s adopted the Marshall canine tradition of only having medical emergencies on weekends, though….

1. Ethics Quote from African-American sportswriter Jason Whitlock in a recent column about racism, critical race theory and excuses:

We all love excuses — white, black, brown, yellow, whatever. People who love us, respect us, want the best for us, take the excuses away. The Liberal Construction Company does not love, respect or want the best for black people. That’s why liberals promote excuses for any black failure and disavow any excuse for white failure. If you can control a group’s expectations, you can control their level of success. A generation of black people have had their expectations diminished by Critical Race Theory. It’s a mental slavery, a Jim Crow for the mind.  

I’m not in denial of the existence of racism. I just reject using it as an excuse, and I refuse to fall for the clever marketing of racism’s primary proponents.

2. Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor turned legal analyst and pundit, shows again why he’s one of Ethics Alarm’s most trusted authorities with his article, “Supreme Court right to refuse to block Biden election — rejects absurd legal theory.” Of course, this is likely to be cited as one more reason for conservatives to abandon Fox News, which has been declared a traitor to the cause because of its admittedly strange coverage on election night.

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Ethics Hero: Sportswriter Jason Whitlock

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.”

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Notes From The Great Stupid

 

I don’t recall any time in history, even the Sixties, when so many people, including those in elected position, behaved so stupidly with no apparent shame or self-awareness. This indeed is The Great Stupid. I could write post after post on just these episodes. But that would be, you know, stupid. So here are some brief notes acknowledging the phenomenon.

  • Apparently actor Ryan Reynolds and his wife, rather less distinguished actress Blake Lively, are awash with guilt and remorse because they held their 2012 wedding at a former plantation in South Carolina. “[The wedding locale is] something we’ll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for,” Reynolds says. “It’s impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy.”

So we’re cancelling places, now? We are supposed to shun areas where people were cruel, or where crimes occurred, or people with now-unacceptable values lived? How idiotic can we get? Reynold and Lively, apparently infected with irresponsible and irrational ideas spread by fanatics and hysterics, are now trying to spread them elsewhere.

My wife and I had a marvelous honeymoon at a lovely Virginia inn on the site of a converted plantation. I have no remorse about that at all. We stayed in the caretaker’s out-building, now converted into a lovely romantic cottage. My family celebrated Thanksgiving at Mount Vernon; I guess by the Ryan-Lively Standard that means I’m endorsing slavery. Nobody should live in Salem. Nobody should vacation in the former Confederate states. Or Germany. Or Japan. Or the nations from the former Soviet Union.

Stupid Rating (1-10): 9

  • Just a week after a Starbucks employee was arrested for spitting in the coffee of a police officer, Vincent J. Sessler, 25, has been arrested for the same disgusting conduct at a Chicago Dunkin Donuts. The victim, an Illinois State Trooper, spotted the spit when he opened the coffee to let it cool. A surveillance camera caught Sessler in the act.

By what possible logic does it make sense, or is it fair, or can it be justified to treat another human being like that because of his occupation, based on the conduct of another member of the same profession in another state? That’s the essence of mindless bigotry. These idiots think they are opposing bigotry by being bigots?

Stupid Rating (1-10): 10.

You can’t be more stupid than this, right? Continue reading

Ethics Alarms Encore: “The Inconvenient Truth About The Second Amendment and Freedom: The Deaths Are Worth It”

[ I wrote this piece in 2012, in response to the reaction at the time from the Second Amendment-hating Left to the shocking murder-suicide of of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher. Jason Whitlock, then a thoughtful sports columnist iin KC, wrote a much linked and publicized column calling for private ownership of guns to be banned. I was going to update my post, but decided to just put it up again. Some of it is obviously dated (the reference to juvenile Carl in “The Walking Dead,” for example), but I have re-read it, and would not change a word of its substance.]

The shocking murder-suicide of of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher has once again unleashed the predictable rants against America’s “culture of guns” and renewed calls for tougher firearms laws. Yes, reasonable restrictions on firearms sales make sense, and the ready availability of guns to the unhinged, criminal and crazy in so many communities is indefensible. Nevertheless, the cries for the banning of hand-guns that follow these periodic and inevitable tragedies are essentially attacks on core national values, and they need to be recognized as such, because the day America decides that its citizens should not have access to guns will also be the day that its core liberties will be in serious peril.

Here is Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock, in the wake of Belcher’s demise:

“Our current gun culture ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it… If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

I don’t disagree with a single word of this. Yet everything Whitlock writes about guns can be also said about individual freedom itself. The importance of the U.S. “gun culture” is that it is really individual freedom culture, the conviction, rooted in the nation’s founding, traditions, history and values, that each citizen can and should have the freedom, ability and power to protect himself and his family, to solve his or her problems, and to determine his or her fate, without requiring the permission, leave or assistance of the government. Guns are among the most powerful symbols of that freedom. You can object to it, fight it or hate it, but you cannot deny it. Guns are symbols of individual initiative, self-sufficiency and independence, and a culture that values those things will also value guns, and access to guns.

Whitlock’s statement argues for building a counter-America in which safety, security and risk aversion is valued more than individual freedom. There is no doubt in my mind, and the results of the last election confirm this, that public support for such a counter-America is growing. The government, this segment believes, should be the resource for safety, health, financial well-being, food and shelter. It follows that the government alone should have access to firearms. This requires that we have great trust in central government, a trust that the Founders of the nation clearly did not have, but one that a lot of Americans seem ready to embrace. Giving up the right to own guns and entrusting government, through the police and the military, with the sole power to carry firearms represents a symbolic, core abandonment of the nation’s traditional commitment to personal liberty as more essential than security and safety. I would like to see the advocates of banning firearms admit this, to themselves as well as gun advocates, so the debate over firearms can be transparent and honest. Maybe, as a culture, we are now willing to make that choice. If so, we should make it with our eyes open. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Michael Wilbon’s Politically Incorrect Confession

mike_wilbon

Sportswriter Michael Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser’s African-American foil on the fluffy ESPN show “Pardon the Interruption” and hardly a rabble-rouser, shocked his audience this week when he announced that he is an aficionado of the word “nigger” (but not in public), and objects to being told that there is something wrong with that, especially by white folks. The issue came up regarding an uproar over a tweet, since deleted, from an NBA player using the word to criticize his team mates. [ Aside: It is funny how frequently a single post on Ethics Alarms  about a topic—say political correctness, word censorship, civility and the morass of related ethical issues—seems to trigger an explosion of news stories in the same area. Undoubtedly it is because the proximity of the post itself influences my judgment regarding which events deserve comment, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. This is similar to the phenomenon where you think you have heard a word or phrase for the first time, and suddenly you’re aware of it everywhere.] Wilbon said, unapologetically,

“People can be upset with me if they want, I, like a whole lot of people, use the N-word all day, every day, my whole life … I have a problem with white people framing the discussion for the use of the N-word.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz this weekend is this:

Is Wilbon’s defense of using the word “nigger”ethical? Continue reading