A radio announcer who works for the San Francisco 49ers made a dumb remark last week.
Lamar Jackson, a Black Baltimore Ravens quarterback, had an impressive day running through ball in a win over the 49ers.
Tim Ryan, a 49ers radio announcer, later commented that Jackson’s Black skin and black uniform made it hard for defenses to discern if he was actually holding the football or not on fake-handoff plays.
Footballs are a dark brown leather.
The internet went crazy, because the internet.
People called for Ryan’s firing. That’s the thing we do now whenever someone commits a transgression.
Fire. Cancel. Delete. Erase.
While that’s a foolish way to hand out discipline and also a slippery slope — everyone commits errors, and we’d all be jobless if that were the standard — my first thought on the issue was a level above debating Ryan’s punishment.
These are sticks and stones.
Ryan is a radio guy: talking for 3 hours straight is a tougher task than it appears to be. You have to constantly come up with new things to say. Any type of announcing gig quickly introduces you to the limits of your personal vocabulary.
I’m not defending what he said. It was dumb (Ryan was suspended for a game by the 49ers for his comment).
I understand that his job requires him to come up with something, and he came up with soemthing dumb. Now he has to pay the price for that.
But the public, specifically the woke / Black public, should not waste energy on it.
Back in elementary school, we were taught a saying to shield us, mentally, from the meanness of our peers.
Sticks and stones
Will break my bones,
But, words will
Never hurt me
Dave Chappelle named his latest comedy special after that refrain.
Every adult who attended kindergarten remembers hearing and reciting it.
But we get so worked up over words these days, it’s almost as if people go looking for someone saying the wrong thing the wrong way, just to start a firestorm and to have something to get excited about.
We’re getting weaker. Mentally.
People are smart, though, and they’re clever at coming up with a myriad of reasons to justify their anger over mere words.
“People can’t just say whatever they want! Someone has to police this stuff!”
Well, actually they can say what they want. There may be penalties for saying things, as Ryan is learning — but no one can stop what someone else wants to say.
“If we let this go, they’ll just get more comfortable saying stuff — and then… SLAVERY all over again!”
Find something else to do with your time.
Slavery didn’t occur because of Blacks’ allowance of negative commentary. What perpetuated slavery was a lack of empowerment — educationally and financially, specifically.
Getting angry over a comment — even one that is intentionally racist — isn’t moving anyone forward.
Besides, you can only get angry over the comments that you know about. You can’t police all commentary.
Here’s the bigger picture: What is the tangible result of Tim Ryan’s comment?
There is none.
It doesn’t change what Lamar Jackson did in the football game.
No one was hurt by the comment in any way.
Nothing that happened changed at all based on the existence or nonexistence of that comment.
The only thing that gave the comment legs was the outrage over it, and the subsequent responses to the outrage, like this article.
Bottom line: Amongst all our online feed-scrolling, let’s remember that we are in a results-based business called life.
People will always talk. There’s someone talking right now while you read this. They’re saying something that, if you heard it, you’d think it wrong.
Reality check: You can’t do shit about it.
The next time you see an opportunity — to comment, to get angry, to lash out, to call for a cancelling over mere words — before jumping in, ask yourself how you’re going to get out.
Sometimes, the hole just gets deeper and deeper. Then you’re stuck there.The next time you see an opportunity — to comment, to get angry, to lash out, to call for a cancelling over mere words — before jumping in, ask yourself how you’re going to get out. Sometimes, the hole just gets deeper and deeper. Then… Click To Tweet
When have you wasted energy getting angry about something that you either couldn’t change or wasn’t really worth your time? Reply and let me know — I read all responses.
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