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Is Larry Johnson racist?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by jay_christley, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. jay_christley

    jay_christley Member

    Or did he just make racist comments?
    Heard about his interview on WEEI this morning. Couldn't find anything until I did a google search and came up with Wednesday's KC Star (from Jeffrey Flanagan's column).

    “I think so. I could relate to Herman. I couldn’t do that with the other coaches I had because they had not done it. You know, they haven’t put those pads or they haven’t been in the situation as a young black athlete and know what we had to go through.

    “You know, when we go out, you know, we like to go out. You know, we like to hang out. We like to have fun. But then you got to worry about the guy around the corner with the gun. You got to worry about this girl on the block. You got to worry about, you know, your parents. You got to worry about your homeboys taking advantage of you.

    “There’s so much things you got to worry about being a young black athlete. And to be able to have a father like mine and have a coach like Herm, I was able to escape a lot of those realities and find myself in a new ray of light.”

    Couple thoughs ...
    (a) Why isn't a bigger deal being made of this? I know it's KC vs. NYC, but I find these comments far more compelling than Strahan's tantrum. Yet, I didn't see any headlines on TWWL.
    [I also hope I'm not D_Bing this, but I didn't see this anywhere else in a quick glance].

    (b) LJ went to pasty white Happy Valley (86 % caucasian and 3 % black are the numbers I heard) and seemed to run just fine for Joe Pa.

    (c) What would the outcry be is a white QB came out and said he tuned out his black head coach because there's no way the guy can relate to him?

    (d) Does Jay Whit have this corner locked down too? Can't wait to read Scoop's take.

  2. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Re: Is Larry Johnson racists?

    I think it's natural that he's able to relate to Herm better than JoePa or his other white coaches. It sounds like they have similar life experiences, so I don't see a problem with what he's saying, and I don't consider it racist.

    That said, a white athlete who says he can't relate to his black coach would certainly be excoriated in the press.
  3. Lester Bangs

    Lester Bangs Active Member

    I don't think a white guy would be hammered for this -- though the constant debate over "could a white guy say this without repercussions" is among the most banal this site draws out. He's essentially saying a universal truth that we see in action in society everywhere in that people often relate better to -- and are drawn more to -- people of their own race. We can debate why it is, but it's hard to argue against. He's not saying he would not/could not play for a white coach, just that he feels more comfortable with a black coach.

    If anything, it gives insight into Johnson's mindset and, perhaps, that of other players. They are being told what to do and criticized by a bunch of white guys, many of whom have never worn the uniform and certainly were never black, young and wealthy. Why should they listen to what's being said when they don't think the person saying it has any respect/understanding for them and their situation?

    I think it's total bullshit -- play football and STFU -- but I get it.
  4. I get it too, and can see Johnson's point. But I do recall that Herman Edwards himself didn't seem to have much problem playing for his white coach in Philadelphia ... Dick Vermeil.

    The other thing is bottom line, you're not supposed to "relate" to your coach, you're supposed to win for him.
  5. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Johnson also complained about the coaching staff at Penn State when he was there and had issues with Dick Vermeil (who once made a reference to Johnson needing to stop wearing diapers or something to that effect).

    I assume he ended up at Penn State despite the lilly-whiteness of State College because his father was an assistant coach there. I think the elder Johnson is still on Paterno's staff.

    And let's face it. Black public figures can get away with race-related comments that no white public figure could ever get away with.

    That said, my problem with Johnson's comments isn't that I see them as racist. He says he relates better to Herman Edwards because he believes they have more in common than he had with past coaches. And they probably do.

    I don't care for the, "Poor me. Nobody else ever understood me" aspect of what Johnson said, but that's nothing new for him. He's never been shy about complaining about one thing or another.
  6. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    Nothing racist about Johnson's comments, IMO. Of course shared experience is something for which there's no substitute.

    If Johsnon was funny when he complained, he'd probably be a lot more popular. A little wit goes a long way when you're making a point...an unfair dynamic, perhaps, but that's reality.
  7. Lester Bangs

    Lester Bangs Active Member

    Which makes him no different than the vast majority of America's college students, no matter their heritage.
  8. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Not to mention more than a few of us in the professional world. Not that journalists ever complain about anything....
  9. XXXX

    XXXX Member

    there was nothing at all that is racist in this. all he does is say young black athlete, and from what i can see herm was just that at one point.
  10. mocheeks10

    mocheeks10 Member

    He actually had his share of problems with Paterno. Johnson ripped the offense after a game one time, and Paterno basically buried him for a year and a half. Then he ran for 2,000 yards when he finally did get on the field, as a senior.

    There was one game that year that Penn State led handily in the fourth quarter, and Paterno pulled him. Johnson was pissed, because he had 184 yards, and wanted to get 200. So Paterno put him back in the game for one carry, just to see if he could break one. He did not, and he pulled him again.

    I interviewed Johnson about that game well after the season, and mentioned that Paterno did at least give him a shot to get his 200. Johnson's reply: "Yeah, but I had to blow him to get it." That's verbatim.

    Always struck me as a very angry kid. Which also explains his domestic-violence issues.
  11. D.Sanchez

    D.Sanchez Member

    Racist, no. Slightly bigoted, yes. Big difference.
  12. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Yeah, watching from afar -- I have never covered Johnson or any of his teams -- he comes across very much as the Angry Young Man, always looking to for some perceived slight to get pissed off about. Again, just an outsider's perspective, but he has always seemed to me like the proverbial powder keg, a bomb that could explode at any moment. While it's probably unfair, he's one of those guys that, if he ends up in jail on some serious charge someday, it won't surprise me.
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