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Why is Dennis Dodd making an issue of Malcolm Gladwell's comment on football?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Gladwell, in a documentary coming out Friday, said that football is going to become "ghettoized," meaning that the sport will only attract poor kids for whom the risks are acceptable (like the Army):


    Dennis Dodd apparently thinks it was a racially insensitive remark, because he wrote a column in which he tried to reach not only Gladwell, but also Jesse Jackson to comment on Gladwell's assertion. CBS thinks this is controversial, too, because Gladwell's use of "ghettoize" is one of its main sports headlines today, presented as breaking news. Sportsline thinks this is a scoop.

    Is "ghetto" a toxic word now? Elvis used it in a song. I used it in a post (below). This reminds me a lot of Bodie's assertion that "All in the Family" was a "racist show," because it portrayed racism. Or many people on here's assertion that I was racist because I used the n-word here as an example of why a gay slur was offensive.

    Every reference to race is not racism.

  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Dodd usually isn't this dumb, but that really is a dumb stance particularly getting all weird about that word.

    More to the point, though, why are they making a big deal now about something Gladwell has been saying for at least three years?
  3. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    I don't necessarily agree with Gladwell because participation remains high in southern, white suburbia. You'll see much larger rosters at the lilly-white suburban schools than the inner-city schools in places like Texas and the gulf coast, where football is big. It's nothing for the mostly white suburban school with 2,000 students to have 200-250 out for football in grades 10-12 and 90 percent of those will be white.

    But I get Gladwell's point and to me it's not controversial. I just don't agree with it. If these white kids were getting recruited to the SEC instead of the black kids, they'd gladly take the scholarship. Then, if the NFL came calling, they wouldn't hesitate.

    Bottom line is, more white kids are looking at football as more of a participatory sport (while taking, say, baseball as their serious "competitive" sport that they'll play in college) mainly because of their perception of their chances. I mean, if you are a white cornerback and you flip on the TV on Sunday (or Saturday) and look at the guys playing your position, what are you going to think? You're not thinking about concussions or knees.

    So if you're a white cornerback and you play shortstop as well and you flip around MLB TV and make a trip around college stadiums, what are you going to think? Maybe that's the sport for you, right?
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Brian, outside the South the numbers are dropping pretty noticeably. Last year alone there was a 4 percent drop at the HS level in California. And I wouldn't be surprised if it's happening in the South as well -- you might still see numbers high at the super-programs, but maybe they're siphoning from other neighborhood schools.
  5. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    LTL, I haven't seen it in the south. It's predictable that in ALL the suburban schools around here, that participation remains high. The same is true with the mostly white private schools in the city (I live in a southern town where public city schools are pretty much uniformally, ahem, ghettoized, in that not only do whites not send their kids there, but middle-to-upper class blacks tend to avoid them as well).

    Now, I would suspect that numbers are somewhat down, but that's more due to specialization. You are more likely to see a promising young white football player quit to concentrate on, say, baseball than you did in the 1980s. Happens all the time. But that, to me, is more because of the rise of specialization than the fear of injury.

    It's also true that blacks have left baseball in droves for exactly the same reasons. Strong-armed black males aren't avoiding baseball because they fear Tommy John or rotator cuff surgeries. It's because their perceptions of where they "fit" in athletically.
  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    According to this chart of NFHS figures there was a 1 percent drop nationally between 2011 and '12. Numbers kept going up until 2009, which is about when concussions became a huge deal. I think you'll see this trend continue for a long time.

  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but it seems to me that Dodd is freaking out about Gladwell's use of the word "ghettoize," not necessarily the point behind it.

  8. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Reminds me of the DC budget administrator who lost his job for saying he was going to be "niggardly" in the coming year.

    Sometimes, ignorance wins.
  9. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    During that same period, I see Lacrosse, soccer and even baseball growing in participation.

    Again, to me that speaks more to more choices, specialization and opportunities than it does fear of injury.

    Now, having said that, the fear of injuries can play into it. Said white cornerback might say "Why should I get my brains beat in on the football field when I can concentrate on baseball and get a scholarship/drafted?" But if opportunity were there with football, he'd care much less about the injury risk.
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It's just why I happened to notice it, I think.

    Others have used it here, too.
  11. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Don't agree on the DC admin. Gotta be some kinda thoughtless trotting out any semblance of that word.

    In other news, yeah, time to move on from Gladwell.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Now I'm going to do the most Versatile thing ever. :)

    It's not an essay. It's an interview in a documentary.
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