During a discussion of the Cowboys-Colts game last Sunday, specifically the play of new Dallas QB and Daisy Duke heart-throb Tony Romo, Irvin reach deep into experience as an NFL player and analyst to come up with the this explanation for Romo's athleticism:
“… [there must be] some brothers in that line somewhere … (laughs) somewhere there are some brothers … I don’t know who saw what, where …. [maybe] his great, great, great, great Grandma ran over in the hood or something went down … (more laughs)”You can listen to the clip here (it's the 6th link down), at least until ESPN buries the evidence.
I don't know if Irvin should or will get fired, suspended, reprimanded over this, but I can't wait to see the fall out, or lack of it. The reaction to this will be very telling and the situation is the perfect petri dish in which to determine if the media - both ESPN and everyone else - is upholding a double standard when it comes to racists statements.
This isn't about whether or not slave owners bred their slaves to create superior physical specimens. Suggesting that is what got Jimmy The Greek fired and vilified nearly 20 years ago. For me, it's about perpetuating stereotypes and even worse, taking something away from accomplished athletes by turning it into a biology conversation. What Irvin said, unintentionally or not, turned Romo's success into genetics instead of the countless hours of work he has undoubtedly logged to get where he is today. This is the same crap as when Larry Bird was always referred to as a "smart player" while Dr. J was a "great athlete."
The fact of the matter is, some of these guys can run faster and jump higher than others. Some of them are black, some are not. Some people are tireless workers, while others rely on physical gifts. But in the end, everyone you see on the field on Saturday and Sunday, or the basketball court or baseball diamond, is a phenomenal athlete that got where they are through a ton of sweat.
So Michael Irvin saying yet another dumb thing, is in essence insulting Romo's effort and his family. Maybe Romo's great-great-great grandma did "pull one of them studs out of the barn" but maybe she didn't and get this: it's possible that great athletic genes can come from white people too.
I think the thing that gets me really fired up about this - aside from Irvin being a jackass - is that I don't expect anything to happen to Irvin. And I suspect if Dan Patrick had said the same thing, he would have faced serious consequences. The idea that it's OK to saying something about a race because you are of that race, is ridiculous. And for Irvin, it's irresponsible. But I guess not any more irresponsible than the hookers and crack. So there's that.
So get ready for nothing to happen. But if there is backlash, you can bet U alum/apologist Dan LeBatard will be right there to explain why it was OK for Irvin to say what he said.