“For crying out loud — and likely for the better, and despite all the mainstreaming — I’m still not allowed to spell out the n-word out in print.” – NY Post’s Phil Mushnick on Jay-Z
This statement on Jay-Z’s unfair privileges came from Mushnick way back in 2011 before he decided to rebel against his oppressive journalistic working conditions last week. Mushnick’s newer column was called out after surmising that calling The Brooklyn Nets the “New York Ni—rs” might be more consistent under Jay-Z’s leadership as a part owner.
The standard media favorite words of merely “offensive” or “insensitive” were bypassed by many journalists who rightfully called the column “racist“, “racist”, and “racist“. It was also called ”full-racist”, “flat-out racist“, ”blatantly racist”, and “insanely racist”. For elaboration on the Jay-Z article, please refer to these articles.
Like Don Imus before him, Mushnick’s latest is not vacuum-sealed, but is just a punctuation mark on a long career of similar writing.
Robert Littal wrote that Mushnick “should be fired immediately“, and Roy S. Johnson wrote that the Post’s editors should follow him out the door. Both are highly unlikely considering Post’s editorial staff recently green-lighted cartoons of the author of Obama’s stimulus as a dead chimpanzee, and Muslims as bomb-making, gun-toting terrorists. Racist rants at The New York Post generally lead to promotions before terminations.
Meanwhile, last week a British parliamentary report found NY Post and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch as “not a fit person” to run a major international media company in light of NewsCorp’s widespread phone-hacking scandal. The Phil does not fall too far from the tree.
While all this might help explain why Mushnick has been permitted to write racist columns ever since I began reading New York sports columns as a child, why does it takes the N-word to identify Mushnick’s consistent career pattern of journalistic racism? Is the message that as long as one avoids words like n—-r, Hitler, and misuse of “Chink in The Armor”, then anything goes? What about patterns, narratives, and barely coded language?
Obligatory “Racist” Disclaimer Alert: I have no desire to engage in questions of whether Mushnick is “a racist” or what’s “in his heart”. In the classic and comedic spirit of Jay Smooth, this question is an irrelevant distraction. What’s important is that he stops writing racist columns. And if it hasn’t happened by now…
Patterns are really not that hard to ascertain over a career spanning 30 years. First is Mushnick’s hip-hop crusade. On Around the Horn (ESPN 5/4), Bomani Jones said Mushnick “has a larger agenda about rap music”, and that unlike movies ”we only do this with rap music, and that’s what stands out to me”.
GC from Can’t Stop The Bleeding echoed that unlike ”book authors, movie directors and actors”,… “Mushnick has made no secret of his distaste for contemporary hip-hop, singling out Jay-Z for repeated criticism nearly every time the M.C./exec’s name pops up in connection with the Nets or the NBA.”
The Field Negro adds: “Honestly, I suspect that Mr. Mushnick’s problem is with the fact that a young black man from the projects of New York can actually have a major ownership stake in a sports team.”
Also telling is that Mushnick has stayed fixated on a 1.5% owner named Jay-Z, but doesn’t devote twice the space or even half the space to the NBA’s Donald Sterling — a REAL owner with a REAL track record of REAL racism (the institutional kind). How many People of Color has Sterling denied housing? How many lawsuits? How many egregious statements?
The Sterling-Jay Z comparison is just one of so many that show the racially selective persecution on the part of Mushnick. His work shouldn’t just be judged on the words he states in one column — but also on the stories he won’t write about across thousands of columns over decades. If Jay-Z is the most egregious owner, then I suggest he pick up a copy of “Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining The Games We Love“, or just investigate his own boss Rupert Murdoch. Besides all that, we don’t need to imagine racist team names when we have The Washington Redskins to kick around…
While it might be difficult to track down all of Mushnick’s writing since the late ’70′s, here are some nuggets from the last two years that might give you a taste. A special hat tip to Can’t Stop The Bleeding who has kept chronicling Mushnick when no one else would:
“1) Don’t be seen in public arriving anywhere in a stretch limo. A simple town car should be sufficient.
2) Keep all bling and blazz to a minimum — even hidden from view if the pieces are less than the size of a pizza…
4) Before entering negotiations or union briefings, put all guns on safety…|
6) No more $-sign tattoos until the CBA is approved.
7) The NLRB is not a summer league…”
“Is Plaxico really a changed man? Not sure. So Plaxico Burress exits prison wearing a red Phillies’ cap, a hoodie over the cap, sunglasses and shorts (Was it hot out or cold?) claiming to be a changed man. Hmmm. Put me down as “undecided.”
“Spoke with a struggling sports TV and radio man, late last week. He recognizes that he has a strong voice, but still lacks what it takes: He has never been addicted to drugs or alcohol; he has never been jailed nor even arrested; he has never stolen nor scammed anyone. And he has publicity photos, not mug shots. He’s not as worthy as the overnight TV and radio sensation, Ted Williams.”
– Phil Mushnick’s Border Patrol
(On Suns’ owner, Robert Sarver’s “hollow grandstanding”, who had his team wear “Los Suns” uniforms to in protest of Arizona’s new SB1070 immigration laws.)
Now pour water and multiply by 100 over a career?
So why does it take the N-word to call such “journalism” out for what it is?
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