October 02, 2003

Shut The Fuck Up

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Nothing good ever comes from talking.” – Mr. Green

Today I'd like to start a new Mr. Green feature. It's called "Shut The Fuck Up" (STFU). Like everything here, it is humbly offered as a public service. The idea is that although all Americans have a First Amendment right to speak out, many of us should just do ourselves a favor and STFU. This especially applies to celebrities who choose to speak publicly in an authoritative fashion about matters outside their area of expertise. An example would be Sheryl Crow. I think she's a great singer and songwriter, and any time she has something to say about music I'll gladly listen. But when she sagely observes that “the best way to solve problems is not to have enemies”, she sounds like a hippie half-wit. Yeah, Sheryl, that worked really well for Europe when they were dealing with Nazi Germany.

Frenchman: You can't invade France! We refuse to have you as an enemy! [Screams while being run over by Panzer]
German soldier: Damn. I hate cleaning those guys out of the treads.

Great insight. Oh, and Sheryl? STFU.


Today I have two people who should take my advice and STFU: Chicago Bears rookie cornerback Charles Tillman and professional blowhard / amateur football commentator Rush Limbaugh.

Our second-place STFU winner in this inaugural edition is Tillman. Now, in case any of you out there are not sports fans, take my word that the Bears are, top to bottom, the worst team in professional sports. After their latest ass-whuppin, at the hands of the Packers, hugely-paid cornerback R.W. McQuarters opined that the fans should not have been booing. This coming from a man who was beaten so badly on one Packer touchdown that he was barely in the TV picture with the guy he was covering when he caught the pass. Booooooo!! McQuarters later remembered where the money comes from to overpay him, and backed away from his comments.

And into the void leaped Tillman, who wisely decided to criticize the long-suffering fans who make his enormous paycheck possible. From the Chicago Tribune: "I try not to pay attention to the fans. Not to talk bad about them, but some of them don't really know anything about it, they just go to watch for entertainment. If you know a little bit about the game, you should know if [quarterback Kordell Stewart] throws one interception, he's not sorry or if coach [John] Shoop calls a play on this down and everyone starts to boo him … you know, I'd like to see those people be put in his situation. Don't knock it till you try it."

Okay, Charles. Let’s clarify. When I say that Brian Urlacher, to call out the team’s best player, looks very average when the opponent gets a blocker on him, it’s not that I think I can square off against an NFL guard who weighs 300+ pounds and can bench press a Cadillac. I would get nothing but squashed. I get paid nothing to play professional football, and I’m worth every penny.

But Urlacher, who will make more money to play football this season than I will make in my entire working life (over $15 million), should be expected to perform like an all-pro. And so far this season, he hasn’t.

As for Shoop, to paraphrase Thomas Sowell’s remark on book editors: The fact that he is still breathing is evidence that the death penalty deters.

In any event, if the team continues to play as badly as they have the first three games, boos will be the least of their worries. I hope they’re checking the season ticket holders for weapons before they let them in the stadium. Including the personal seat licenses the team sold to finance their (small) financial contribution to the new stadium (which appropriately looks like a giant toilet), these people paid over a thousand dollars each for their tickets this year. They have every right to make their feelings known. Charles, I know a certain person who needs to STFU. Hey, what do you know! It’s you!


Our top STFU scholar is Rush Limbaugh. He was hired by ESPN as a football commentator because he is an allegedly knowledgeable football fan, he is famous, and (most importantly) he is controversial. ESPN got all the controversy they wanted and then some when Limbaugh opened his mouth about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb has gotten off to a slow start this season, but was a two-time Pro Bowler in his first four seasons and a runner-up for league MVP in 2000. He’s really, really good. But Limbaugh orally shat thusly: “I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.”

Quick diversion: I was thinking recently about Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning, who has gotten a lot of criticism in Indy for not being perfect. The truth is, Manning is one of the best in the league. I was trying to think who I’d rather have than Manning if I were starting a team from scratch. I only came up with three I’d even consider: Mike Vick, Brett Favre, and Donovan McNabb.

Limbaugh has since resigned from ESPN because of the firestorm of criticism over his remarks, but insists that racism had nothing to do with them, and that in fact the outcry proves he’s right about the media wanting to hype McNabb.

That might be true, if McNabb were the first-ever black quarterback in the NFL. But Doug Williams led Washington to a Super Bowl win in 1988. And Warren Moon posted the league’s third highest all-time number of passing yards and completions, and fifth highest all-time number of touchdowns. Current black NFL quarterbacks I’d count as above-average to great are McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Mike Vick, Aaron Brooks, and Steve McNair. Other black QB’s who IMO are average at best (and somehow don’t get hyped by the media – hmmmm) include Charlie Batch, Jeff Blake, Tony Banks, Kordell Stewart, and Shaun King. I know there are more black QB’s, past and present, but I’m too lazy to research this. And I think the list above is enough to prove my point. McNabb gets the hype because he deserves it. If it were about the color of his skin, I’d see Tony Banks in those stupid chunky soup commercials.

To say McNabb didn’t deserve the credit he got is nonsense. To say that there’s some media conspiracy to elevate him because he’s black is nonsense too. I think Limbaugh is not as knowledgeable as he thinks he is about football and/or he’s more racist than he thinks he is. From where I sit, it looks like a good deal of both.

Of course, he’s just given legitimate fuel to the people who see racism everywhere. I had just recently joked to someone that racism must be over. After all, how bad can things be when the worst thing Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas could think to complain about was that there were not enough “black” names given to hurricanes? Well thanks, Rush. You just proved me wrong. And you’ve reinforced the prejudices of all the people who think that anybody who doesn’t vote a straight Democratic ticket is a closet bigot.

Rush Limbaugh, for your contributions to the field of being a jackass, please come up and get your STFU trophy: A roll of duct tape. I’ll just wrap it around your head a few times, completely covering your mouth…. There. All done. And here’s your bonus kick in the ass. Now get the fuck out of here. And next time, remember to STFU!

Posted by Mr Green at October 2, 2003 10:00 AM


Posted by: Blackfive at October 2, 2003 03:00 PM

I still don't get what was racist about his remark. He thinks that QB is over-rated. That's his opinion. He thinks the press has an agenda. Gosh, now that's a shocker! He's been saying the press have an agenda for probably a decade or so.....

How come Dusty Baker is still coaching my beloved Cubs? Because, thankfully for Cub fans, Dusty is NOT pigmintation-impaired and thus it's ok for him to say things like "white people can't take the heat".

Posted by: Susie at October 2, 2003 03:29 PM

Warren Moon..hands down.

Posted by: jim at October 2, 2003 09:15 PM

I would say that the press has multiple agendas, but finding a black quarterback to overpraise is probably not one of them. I would guess they’re too busy playing Pin the Scandal on the Bush Administration or Let’s Count The Florida Votes Again to worry about football overmuch.

Limbaugh said that the media are engaged in "social concern" by hyping McNabb because they are “desirous that a black quarterback do well.”

By “a black quarterback”, he could be referring to McNabb specifically. If that’s the case, given that he thinks McNabb is not very good, then he must think the media chose McNabb arbitrarily out of the class of black quarterbacks. This seems unlikely to me. If they’re going to hype a black QB, why not at least pick one of the good ones?

Or he could have meant “a black quarterback” in an abstract sense, and he thinks there has never been one who has done well. If Limbaugh thinks that there are no good black quarterbacks then either he is ignorant of the existence of guys like Warren Moon and Mike Vick or he willfully wants to deny their existence. If it’s ignorance then he shouldn’t have been getting paid to go on TV and talk about football anyway. If it’s denial, than I can’t think of an explanation besides racism.

So I’m not saying conclusively he’s a racist. I’m saying he’s either a racist or he’s ignorant about football. Either way, he definitely fits my criteria for STFU.

Now, I do think there’s a double standard at work in how people talk about race. What Dusty Baker said was IMO relatively mild and inoffensive, if scientifically off base. When he said it, there was a little rumbling but nothing much. If a white manager had said it, I’m sure he’d have been crucified. That’s not right, and may be fodder for a future rant. But it still doesn’t excuse Limbaugh.

Posted by: Mr. Green at October 2, 2003 10:02 PM