First a disclaimer: I've despised Michael Irvin since he was an obnoxious, arrogant player for the team I hate the most, the Dallas Cowboys. So I am not inclined to cut the man any slack. My objective question: how is that ANY different or any LESS insensitive a racial remark than what others have made (and been absolutely grilled over).
ROMO-GATE GAINING MOMENTUM
Although we initially believed that the Thanksgiving holiday might take some steam out of the storm that has developed regarding the Jimmy "The Greek"-style comments of ESPN's Michael Irvin, several publications have kept the story alive. The exceptional Thursday performance of the object of the remarks, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, could give the story legs heading into the weekend.
On Monday, Irvin explained on ESPN Radio's The Dan Patrick Show that Romo's supreme athletic skills could be due to a dalliance in days gone by between one of Romo's female ancestors and a slave. To his credit, Patrick quickly challenged Irvin, saying, “Oh, that's the only way he can be a great athlete?”
Irvin could have pulled the escape hatch here, but instead he continued: “That's not the only way, but it's certainly one way. If great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandma pulled one of them studs up out of the barn (and said), 'Come on in here for a second,' you know, and they go out and work in the yard. You know, back in the day.”
The remarks initially went unnoticed, but by Wednesday several commentators (including Mike Freeman of CBSSportsline.com and Jason Whitlock of AOL) and web sites were shining a spotlight on the situation. Says Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star: "Joke or not, by my count, that's offensive to blacks, whites, grandmothers and humanity in general."