Sunday, November 15, 2015

World of Sports vs. The Real World

Clay Travis, a sports writer and analyst for Fox Sports is inexplicably still covering a story that is no longer connected to sports.   It seems that Travis has made it his goal to undermine the University of Missouri protesters (who he has publicly described as “idiots”)  by any narrative possible, and his bosses at FOX Sports have approved his use of their platform to carry out his own personal vendetta.

Travis calls the student protest a “charade” and an “absurd satire.”   He can’t seem to keep his narrative straight, alternating between calling the students “delicate flower children” but then portraying them as media-savvy professional activists, proactively stomping on the First Amendment.

Among these various juvenile and ill-informed assertions, Travis seems primarily angry that students would demand accountability from a public University President for things that happen at the University:
"Why Wolfe? Because presumably it is now the university president's job to make sure that no one ever says anything offensive to anyone on campus via spoken or written word, or poop hate symbols."

In fact, Travis seems to give Wolfe a free pass, since he wasn't a racist himself:
Enter President Wolfe, an aloof middle-aged white man who is the perfect villain for a campus crusade against racism. Even if, you know, he isn't racist or involved in any of the actions on campus that people are protesting.

While no rational person would think it was Wolfe’s job to personally ensure that the campus was safe for students of all races, Wolfe was ultimately responsible for setting campus policy and making sure it was carried out.  Under his watch,  students experienced numerous instances of non-concern and inaction in response to many documented occurrences of racism. In fact, Wolfe told a bunch of African-American students that systematic (he probably meant “systemic”) oppression was all in their heads:  "It's— systematic oppression is because you don't believe that you have the equal opportunity for success."

More incredibly, Travis questions whether any of the most recent incidents even occurred:
"What if there's actually zero basis for the strike in the first place? What if these alleged incidents never happened and the media just accepted them without asking any questions at all? The entire protest is based on three things, none of which have been independently verified, a poop-swastika, an off-campus racial slur, and an on campus racial slur.

While it may be fair to examine the credibility of Mizzou's student body president Payton Head (after he recanted his claims that the KKK were present on campus), are we to seriously believe that all of the people (including at least one professor) encountering racism at Mizzou are lying?  Even after the university released photos of the swastika, Clay Travis moved the goalposts by saying that the evidence (which he originally claimed didn't exist) is not enough, since we don't know the mental state of the perpetrator.

This isn’t just about a poop swastika, or about the most recent three incidents.  Yet Travis dismisses all the experiences of all the African-American students as lies because he’s incapable of seeing beyond those three things, true or not.

Clay Travis originally rose to fame in the sports world when he went on a 50-day "pudding strike" because he couldn't get NFL Sunday Ticket in the Virgin Islands (an effort which ultimately failed, btw).  He has spent the last ten years of his career ranting and raving about sports on the internet (albeit somewhat successfully, if not controversially). This guy needs to take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard.  I've read a bit of his sports coverage, a lot of which is blowhard nonsense-- a fair bit of it tinged with right-wing arrogance, which should come as no surprise.   But racism in the real world is a lot more complicated than the sports world.


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