This week a new type of trash talk belched its way onto the American sports scene.
This new form of speech no longer encompasses Michael Jordan or Larry Bird inspired inventive barbs and testosterone infused smack.
The playful jibber-jabbering by sweaty, competitive athletes like MJ and Bird on the basketball court got usurped by more virulent diatribes emanating from the broadcast booth.
Sadly, the trigger happy, biting vilification of anyone, anywhere and at anytime who differs with someone else’s opinion or fails to align with an individual’s set of personal values has become a newer, but far worse form of trash talk. And, it wreaks of ugliness.
This new trash talk needs to be disposed of immediately, buried at the bottom of the biggest garbage dump in town and never recycled again because it stings with a bitterness that bites without remorse, no matter who you are or what team you play for.
An example of this new trash talk in sports wielded its ugly head on Monday when Keith Olbermann, a nationally recognized journalist, attacked Tony Dungy, an Emmy Award winning studio analyst and Super Bowl champion coach, for comments he made regarding recently drafted NFL lineman Michael Sam, who is homosexual.
The itchy-eared Olbermann’s unprovoked media attack on Dungy’s remarks smacked of hypersensitivity and political correctness run amuck. Olbermann pounced on the former Indianapolis Colts coach with the same ferocity and one-sided arrogance normally expected from FOX’s Sean Hannity when commenting on anything Obama or Clinton related. Simply, Olbermann’s rant spewed venom.
Olbermann unnecessarily called Dungy hypocritical and mocked him as the “Worst Person in Sports.” Warren Sapp or Alex Rodriguez maybe, but Tony Dungy. Are you serious?
The jaded journalist should have known better before besmirching a highly respected, thoughtful man like Dungy without fully vetting the coach’s words from an interview taken over a month ago.
Dungy’s remarks, as reported in the Tampa Tribune, addressed the anticipated media circus surrounding Michael Sam’s inevitable drafting by the St. Louis Rams. In the article, Dungy never judged Sam’s lifestyle nor disparaged his behavior in any way. He simply stated that because of the media storm distraction surrounding the defensive lineman’s sexual orientation, he would not draft Sam for his team. ironically, 31 out of 32 NFL teams eventually passed on drafting him, too.
However, Olbermann jumped on Dungy’s comments with Rush Limbaugh like vindictiveness. His response played more like a personal witch hunt than an impartial investigation of a respected football coach and analyst.
Certainly, reckless remarks and callous comments need to be immediately called on the carpet by responsible, impartial journalists.
But, in this case, Olbermann’s excoriation of Dungy was totally unwarranted and only fueled the flames of continued trash talk in the broadcast booth by other irresponsible talking heads. For the past few days, sports radio talk shows, web sites and sports television shows focused on Olbermann’s gutting of Dungy and unwittingly exacerbated a further polarizing of an already sensitive issue requiring civil dialogue.
Olbermann was wrong. He was ill informed and overly zealous in his attempt to discredit and marginalize Dungy.
May Olbermann bury his personal garbage of mis-directed thoughts and apply his public head hunting pursuits toward truly bigoted, mean spirited recipients who need to be unmasked and exposed for who they truly are.
Furthermore, may Michael Sam speak very loudly with his play on the NFL football field and may his lifestyle never become a lightning rod of divisiveness again in the media.
And, may the ugliness of Keith Olbermann’s trash talking be quickly buried in a landfill with all other hated and demented thoughts, beliefs and political positions that have continued to divide our country.
Like most Americans, I want to discuss how many sacks Michael Sam gets in his NFL playing days and not with whom he shares the sack.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!