By Christian Schneider
Sports fandom is an funny thing.
1) It can be something earned by quality of play: "Hey the Warriors are so much fun, I think they're my favorite team!"
2) It can be something forced upon you as a simple survival instinct: "Dude, I know you don't care about baseball but it's gonna a lot easier for you if you root for the Sox, they're playing the Yankees this week"
3) It can be something bequeathed you by your predecessors: "Son, I have rooted for the Vikings from the Purple People Eaters all the way through Christian Fucking Ponder. And now, on your fifth birthday, I present you with you very own vintage Randall Cunningham jersey"
4) Or it can just be something that just happens for reasons that only make sense to you: "Tony Parker was married to Eva Longoria until he cheated on her with a teammate's wife. She sucks and I hate Desperate Housewives. Go Spurs Go!"
(I know people who only pull for sports teams for Reason #4, such as a female friend who rooted for the Seahawks during our Super Bowl party because she found Russell Wilson hot. First off, we got TOM BRADY on our team dammit! Secondly, if the Pats hadn't pulled out the win in the end she would have had the uneaten bean dip flung in her general direction by yours truly. Anyway...)
I am a North Carolina basketball fan for the first three reasons.
Firstly, my father is a Tar Heel, graduate of Chapel Hill in 1982. For those of you who don't know, 1982 is the Dream Season for Tar Heel basketball: James Worthy led the Heels to a national championship by dunking everything that was thrown into his hands, Dean Smith finally erased his reputation as the coach who couldn't win the big one (0-6 in Final Fours before that), and a skinny frosh named Michael Jordan hit the gamewinning shot in the title game that turned him into MICHAEL FUCKING JORDAN. My dad and his friends celebrated by painting Franklin Street (Chapel Hill's party center) Carolina blue. His then-girlfriend's cat had a litter of 5 kittens that night and they named them for the 5 UNC starters (has there ever been a better name for a cat than Sam Perkins?). Suffice to say I was destined for UNC fandom.
Secondly, Carolina basketball has always been a standard bearer for the "student athlete." The late, great Dean Smith won two national championships and produced some of the greatest basketball players of all time, but his legacy comes from his athletes' commitment to staying in school and fulfilling their degrees. Even the greats like Worthy, Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Antawn Jamison, and Vince Carter who left school to be top 5 draft picks came back to graduate. A diploma meant something to Tar Heel players. No disrespect to Anthony Davis, but do you really think he's coming back to Kentucky to get a degree?
Thirdly, Carolina basketball kicks ass on the court. Jordan, Worthy, and Perkins. Stackhouse and Wallace. Carter and Jamison. Some of the most brilliant and entertaining teams in college basketball history played under the rafters of the Dean Dome. They won and they won with style, even if that meant Phil Ford running the Four Corners (you're welcome America, that play was the reason we got a shot clock in college games).
One of the great memories as a young kid was watching UNC win the 2005 National Championship. They had been horrible for years thanks to Matt Doherty's disaster of a tenure and had been Duke's personal whipping boy as Coach K became the biggest name in college sports. '05, when Roy Williams arrived like a messiah and turned Sean May, Raymond Felton, and shitty Rashad McCants into winners, changed that. Carolina was back on top. The following years produced Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Brandan Wright, and Wayne Ellington. They won again in 2009 and won an incredible 4 straight games in Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium, which was then seen as the most difficult environment in college hoops, with its nauseating atmosphere filled with sweat, chants, and upper-class private school privilege. It was a new golden age for the Heels.
And now it's all falling apart. In every way. And that's the story today.
Two days ago Brandon Ingram, the #3 high school prospect in America, committed to Duke University. This is the latest in a series of blows that UNC has been suffering for about 4 years now. Brandon Ingram is a native of Kinston, NC. For those of you who aren't familiar with college basketball recruiting, there are certain areas of North Carolina that are "no-fly zones" for opposing schools. Places like South Mecklenburg, which produced players like Walter Davis and Bobby Jones. Places that have fed North Carolina basketball for years with top-notch high school talent who have grown up idolizing Tar Heel legends and have dreamed of their turn to wear Carolina blue. Kinston is one such area. It has produced Jerry Stackhouse, one of the great Tar Heels of all time, and more recently Reggie Bullock, who has made his way to the NBA. Brandon Ingram was considered, for years, to be a surefire Tar Heel.
And he would've been. If not for the scandal. The academic fraud scandal in the UNC African-American department that came to light in 2011 has Carolina's blueblood legacy bleeding out. The revelation that many UNC athletes (primarily from football, but also many basketball players) were academically eligible as a result of paper classes with bogus requirements has the NCAA sniffing around and the possibility of sanctions, possibly postseason bans. Whether the athletic department was privy to this fraud (and that is certainly open to doubt, it frankly looks more like a professor chose to keep African-American Studies majors in school by rigging their courses) it has damaged the reputation of the basketball program beyond repair.
Added to that are Rashad McCants' allegations that him and his teammates never went to class and that their tutors wrote their papers for them (This much at least is definitely bullshit and McCants is a straight up fucknuts who washed out of the NBA and tried to be an actor, but it still hurts that a former player is attacking the program so publicly and viciously), the dismissal of Will Graves and his subsequent pot bust, and the PJ Hairston weed/rental car/firearm/what-the-fuck-are-you-doing episode.
But back to Ingram. He was planning on committing to UNC this past summer, but the threat of playing for a team that will be banned from the NCAA tournament caused him to wait. In stepped Duke, the Satan-worshipping newly crowned national champions, adversaries of Carolina. Coach K got Ingram. Stole him. In broad daylight right before our very eyes.
My first reaction was the classic "We Will Be Revenged!!!" response. Ingram is now public enemy number 1. I marked my calendar for the next UNC-Duke game, labeling it "the day we pay Benedict Ingram back." We'll break him all right; like we did that buttplug Shavlik Randolph before him. We'll shut him down and kill his draft stock and roll on to take the National Championship. To steal a quote from famous Duke fan Joffrey Baratheon, "So long as I am your king, treason shall never go unpunished!"
But as the Bloodwrath subsided another thought crept into my mind, one that I hate with a flaming fiery passion but one that I know in my heart to be the truth: Ingram made the right decision. He was right to go to Duke. He was right to spurn Carolina.
Ingram is a can't-miss NBA prospect, a 6'9 wing who can drive, post up, shoot the three, and play great defense. He has Jay Bilas' famous "wingspan" of 7'3, he is a big time player and almost certainly a lottery pick. The only thing that could hurt him is committing to the wrong school and not getting a shot at the NCAA tournament, which the Duke trio of Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones all used to vault them into the 1st round of the NBA Draft, possibly the lottery for all three. UNC has a lot of talent and experience and may very well be the preseason pick to win it all next year. They DEFINITELY would have been had Ingram joined them. But that's all for naught if the NCAA decides to exclude them from the tourney. Their season may end in March, long before America really takes an interest.
Instead, Ingram threw in with Coach K, who has in the last 5 years sent Kyrie Irving, Jabari Parker, and now Okafor as top-3 picks in the draft. Coach K, who has turned the tide back to Duke on Tobacco Road, winning in 2010 and now 2015. Who swept Carolina this season. Who has won 10 of the last 13 against the Tar Heels. Who coaches the Olympic team that has been so vital in his recruiting takeover of one-and-dones. John Calipari has had some fun in Lexington but Coach K is still the top dog, no matter what way you slice it, not just on Tobacco Road, but ANYWHERE. And Ingram was smart to choose him.
And Carolina is slipping. No Final Fours since 2009, no ACC tournaments. Their 2012 team had championship written all over it but injuries to John Henson, Dexter Strickland, and tragically Kendall Marshall kept them from even reaching the semi-final. UNC hasn't mustered a top team since then.
And now Duke's taking our players in our own backyard.
UNC fans, true fans that is, don't ever jump off the bandwagon. They didn't when the 2002 team went 8-20. They didn't when 2010 team went to the NIT while Duke won a championship. We won't now, sanctions or no sanctions. But something's gotta change and it's gotta happen soon. Because Duke's kicking our ass.
There was a time when it seemed that the enduring image of Kawhi Leonard would be a missed free throw in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. And why wouldn't it? It left the door open to the most dramatic, mind-blowing, oh-my-God-that-has-never-happened-and-will-never-happen-again shot in NBA playoff history. Shuttlesworth's signature moment. Leonard's eternal shame. The basketball gods had decreed that Kawhi Leonard would join the Nick Anderson/Frank Selvy club of famous Finals chokers.
But then a funny thing happened; he flipped the script. As a New Englander, when Aaron Boone hit the ALCS-winning home run against the Sox in 2003, there was the assumption that Sox Nation would be haunted by it for decades to come, a la Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner. Instead, just one year later, revenge was a dish served boiling hot with a six-pack of Sammy Adams. So it was with Leonard and the Spurs. The flat out ass-whipping they administered to the Heat not only purged the memory of Game 6 forever, but it made the Spurs the story of the era, how they had prolonged their greatness well into the twilight years of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili. And for Leonard, it was pure, undeniable redemption.
The lasting image of Leonard has become, for me at least, Adam Silver announcing that the 22-year-old had been named NBA MVP:
Stuart Scott (RIP): "Here to present the Larry O'Brien trophy for Finals MVP, is Commissioner Adam Silver."
Silver: "Kawhi Leonard" (He is forced to pause as the San Antonio crowd explodes) "The city of San Antonio knows how great you are and now the whole world knows."
Watch the video. The entire Spurs team reacts like you've never seen a team react on the podium. Their smiles are ear-to-ear and they grab Leonard in one massive fundamentally-sound bearhug as Leonard, silent and stoic throughout the series (if not since birth), howls with joy. There really is nothing like it.
Since that moment, Leonard has been on the rise. He seemingly gets better every game. He has gone from unlikely hero to NBA superstar this season. If not for an early injury this season he'd have made his first All-Star game. His stats, particularly on the offensive end, have improved and he has developed into what every Spurs hater has feared for years: a dynamic, multi-threat wing scorer. The Spurs have never had this. Closest to that would be Sean Elliot back in the 90s and he didn't attack the rim like Leonard.
At the same time, oh yeah, he's the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Say what you want to about the voting (Draymond Green got more first-place votes but Leonard won on total points, meaning that way more people picked him second or third than they did Green), but I say the voters picked the right man. His defensive efficiency is first in the league, he led the NBA in steals per game, and he is capable of guarding the 1-4 slots. He is a game-changing, havoc-wreaking defender and serves as a wild-card for the Spurs defensive schemes.
Just last night (I write this the morning after Game 5 of an AWESOME Spurs-Clippers series) he hounded JJ Redick around screens, minimizing his impact, stepped up to neutralize Jamal Crawford, and played in isolation several times against Chris Paul, preventing him from taking over at critical moments. And, despite this being by far his worst game of the series, he pulled down the game-winning offensive rebound and finished with 18 and 9.
Barring a truly remarkable turnaround by the Clippers, the Spurs are going to win the series and move on to face Houston. If that happens, I pray that we see Leonard check James Harden for long stretches of the game. Just too good of a matchup to miss. But if the Spurs advance, let's recognize the reason for it. With Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili clearly hobbled by a variety of small injuries, and Tiago Splitter utterly spent, the Spurs are on the verge of eliminating a Clipper team that 1) Had homecourt advantage over the Spurs, 2) Has Blake Griffin playing the best basketball of his career and Chris Paul doing Chris Paul things, and 3) Is playing the best defensive basketball it has at any point in the Paul-Griffin era. The reason for it is Leonard catching fire offensively. His 32 pt, 13-18 Game 3 was a flat-out masterclass and he still anchored a defense that held the explosive Clipper offense to 73 pts.
For the last few years, the question regarding San Antonio has been when will Kawhi Leonard take the reins from the likes of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili. The answer is that he already has. He just did it in classic Kawhi Leonard style: quietly.
By Tyler Berry
No need for bad jokes and no need for ramblings with this one. This is part 2 of my first round NBA playoff predictions. This time, the Western Conference. Let’s get to it.
1. Golden State Warriors vs. 8. New Orleans Pelicans.
Prepare for 4 straight “scrimmage” games. Joking. The Pelicans and budding superstar Anthony Davis deserve a lot more respect than that. They squeaked into the playoffs on the final night, thanks to the Spurs rolling over and letting them have the game. However, that doesn’t mean this team should be taken lightly. Anthony Davis finished the regular season with the highest PER (Player Efficiency Rating) in the NBA, at 30.89. Impressive. But at the end of the day, the Golden State Warriors are just going to be too much for them. I been Steph Curry with the shot / Been cookin with the sauce / Chef Curry with the Pot is just going to light things up all up and down the basketball court. I apologize for my Drake reference…
Oracle Arena is the loudest it’s been all season during game 1. The Warriors come out pumped up and ready to play. Curry and Klay tag team for 60-plus points and lead the crew to a blowout win. Game 2 is a different story. Anthony Davis shows up and takes it straight at Andrew Bogut in the low post. Bogut turns to Bogus and the Pelicans take game- wait oh my god here comes Steph Curry. Curry lights up the 4th quarter from behind the 3-point line and the Warriors squeak by with a win. Almost had you going there for a minute. The Pelicans are happy to be home in New Orleans for game 3. Their crowd goes wild. Anthony and Tyreke Evans take the game over, shutting down any possible Curry/Klay runs. Game 3 to the Pelicans. Games 4 and 5 see the Warriors in true form. They’ve gotten in their groove, the loss is out of the way, and they cruise to a series victory quite comfortably.
Golden State wins the series 4-1
2. Houston Rockets vs. 7. Dallas Mavericks
James Harden, the possible MVP (should be Steph) is not someone you want to meet in round 1 of the playoffs. He’s been an absolute force all season, even when he’s had to carry a Dwight-less squad. Let’s be honest, even with Dwight on the floor, half the time they’re Dwight-less. Harden and the boys are eager to put last year’s last second Dame Lillard dagger behind them and get a series win. The Mavericks are just limping along, trying to prove they are still relevant. Harsh, yes. But have you seen Dirk? The man can still shoot with the best of them but he literally can’t move.
Oh boy. Game 1 is a massacre. James Harden comes out swinging, showing why he’s da real MVP. Parsons doesn’t play for the Mavericks and Monta Ellis hogs the ball. Mavs can’t get a shot to fall. Game 1 to the Rockets. Game 2, Parsons plays. After missing a few games with a knee injury, he’s ready and eager to show his former squad what they are missing. Parson’s goes off for 30, Dirk shoots well, Dwight falters and the Mavericks escape with a game 2 win. Back in Dallas for game 3, this one is close. Dwight works hard to redeem his unimpressive game 2 and finishes with a solid double-double. On the other end, Monta makes up for his bad start and gets some tough shots to drop, sparking a second half Mavs run. Mavs win game 3! Game 4 is all Houston though. It’s a Josh Smith sighting! Who knew this guy would have a resurgence with the Rockets after being so lazy on the court for so long. Smith and Harden control the tempo of the game and the Rockets head back to Houston all tied up. Game 5 and Game 6 are close, but the Rockets show that they aren’t going to lose this series. Dirk is tired, hurting, finished. His shots won’t fall and Monta/Chandler can’t get it done alone. Houston easily finishes off this Dallas team.
Houston Rockets win the series 4-2
3. Los Angeles Clippers vs. 6. San Antonio Spurs
Now this might be the most interesting first round series. If you listen to our podcast, you’d know that most of us didn’t expect the Clippers to be such a high seed after Blake Griffin went down with a staph infection for 12 weeks. DeAndre stepped up though, along with some surprising contributions from bench players (Austin Rivers??) and the Clippers won A LOT of games. Now, the Spurs have really turned things around as of late. During November and December, the team was abysmal. It looked like the defending champs weren’t even going to be in the playoff race at all. We all doubted them and as always, we were proven wrong by Coach Pop, Duncan and the rest of the San Antonio crew. Now the Spurs look poised for another deep playoff run.
It’s all Spurs in game 1. They come out ready to play, showing why they’re the defending champs. Blake and DeAndre get in early foul trouble, forcing them to play with timidity in the low post. Duncan gets one of his vintage double-doubles along with some impressive inside-out assists. Parker and Ginobili prove that the old men can still get it done against a younger squad. CP3 plays admirably, as he tends to do, but it’s not enough and the Spurs escape with the win. Game 2, the Clips come back and make it a series. Amidst a loud and proud Staples Center, Blake and CP3 go off, finishing off the Spurs early in the 4th quarter. Game 3 and 4 down in San Antonio are split. The depth of the Spurs takes one of the two games but Pop’s Hack-a-DeAndre plan makes no difference in the other and the Clippers big men help get the win. Game 5 in LA is a star-studded affair. With the series tied up, game 5 is huge for both teams. A back and forth game leads to the series’ first overtime. The Spurs take the win and head back home. Game 6 is another close one but again it’s the depth of the Spurs that carries them and the Clips’ lack of depth that buries them. San Antonio wins game 6 and the series.
San Antonio Spurs wins the series 4-2
4. Portland Trailblazers vs. 5. Memphis Grizzlies
This is an interesting series. It could either be a blowout or extremely close. Why? Well, the Grizzlies swept the season series 4-0 and have been the better team down the stretch. With Marc Gasol playing extremely well, it’s going to be a task for the Blazers to defend him. However, both teams are battling a lot of injuries so it’s going to come down to who can stay the healthier squad. Spoiler alert: This series goes 7 games.
Game 1 in Oregon, it’s clear that the Blazers miss Wes Matthews. Dame Lillard struggles from behind the arc and the Blazers backcourt can’t get their shots to go down. For Memphis, Gasol puts his team on his back and leads them to a solid victory. Game 2 and the Blazers are ready to fire back. Lillard redeems himself, showing that he can still make big shots like last year against the Rockets in game 7. Dame goes off, Aldridge gets 20 and 10, and the Blazers take game 2. I’ll make the next few games brief…Grizzlies win game 3 and 5. Blazers win games 4 and 6. GAME 7 is all that matters: The most exciting game of the first round of the playoffs. It’s back and forth for 47.5 minutes. With 30 seconds to play, the ball is in Dame Lillard’s hands. The shot clock winds down…5…4…3…2…Lillard with the three! No!! He misses. Memphis has one last chance with about 4 seconds left on the clock. 4…3…2…a dribble drive from Mike Conley, the floater goes up, it’s good! Memphis moves on!
Memphis Grizzlies win the series 4-3
We’re done! 3000 words over the course of two posts and my predictions for the first round of the playoffs are done. Here’s one last recap for you. Warriors in 5, Rockets in 6, Spurs in 6, Grizzlies in 7. In the East, Hawks in 4, Cavs in 5, Bulls in 5, Raptors in 7.
Thanks for reading everyone. I’ll be back with another post for the second round of the playoffs.
By Tyler Berry
Well it’s that time of year again, sports fan. The time of year where the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat are in the playoffs. Oh wait, sorry, that’s not a thing this year. I’m just used to it being…a thing. Well, at least my colleague Steve Cravens and I can take solace in knowing that this year isn’t completely different. The Boston Celtics are still terrible and didn’t make the pla- Wait, no, no, that’s not right either. They definitely made the playoffs...
Anyway, here are my predictions for the 2015 Eastern Conference Playoffs, Round 1.
1. Atlanta Hawks vs. 8. Brooklyn Nets
I’ve yet to understand how the Hawks got so damn good without any “superstar” so to speak. But at 60-22 for the regular season, the birds from Georgia look poised to make a run deep into the playoffs. First up, the woeful Brooklyn Nets, as my man Skip Bayless would say.
The Atlanta Hawks take this series with ease. They may be down Thabo Sefalosha and rumor has it that Paul Millsap isn’t feeling 100 percent, but with double digit wins in 3 of their 4 meetings during the regular season, it’s a safe bet to say that Atlanta runs away with this pretty quickly. I’m predicting a nice, clean sweep of a Brooklyn Nets team that had to wait for the Pacers to lose to even find out that they made the playoffs. Millsap has a great series, Kyle Korver buries A LOT of three’s, and Deron Williams reminds us why no one talks about Deron Williams anymore.
Atlanta Hawks win the series 4-0
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 7. Boston Celtics
I think this is my most anticipated first round series in the Eastern Conference. You’ve got one of the hottest teams in basketball in the Cleveland Cavaliers and you’ve got one of the other hottest teams in basketball in the Boston Celtics. Yeah, you heard me. Since February 3, Boston is 24-12, a hot streak that secured their 7th seed in this year’s playoffs. Not too shabby. And with two wins against the Cavs in the last week, there’s potential for a very entertaining series…or a complete and utter massacre.
The Cavaliers run away with game 1, showing Boston fans that they aren’t to be messed with. Isaiah Thomas shows up in game 2 and keeps the Celtics in it but Kyrie turns it on in the last minute and the Cavs defend home court through the first two games. Over in Boston, Isaiah and Evan Turner show that they are the most unlikely backcourt that can actually do some damage to Cleveland. Thomas gets hot in the second half and leads Boston on a run that Cleveland can’t come back from. Game 4, arguably the last chance Boston has to make this a series. They don’t. Unfortunately, the freight train that is LeBron isn’t making any more stops in Boston and carries the rest of the Cavs right back to Ohio. Game 5 is another hard fought affair, with Boston even making a bit of a run, but it’s futile in the end. Kyrie and LeBron put on a tandem showcase and finish off Brad Stevens' Celtics. A hard fought series, one that ends up being a lot closer than anyone thought.
Cleveland Cavaliers win the series 4-1
3. Chicago Bulls vs. 6. Milwaukee Bucks
Derrick Rose is back for Chicago in the playoffs. While not the Derrick Rose of old, he’s still not someone you want to take lightly. And with the core of Jimmy Butler, Jaokim Noah and Pau Gasol around him, it’s going to be hard for the Bucks to fight off this squad.
The Greek Freak tries his hardest to give the Bucks a chance but poor shooting from Michael-Carter Williams leave them vulnerable. When the Bulls go on a run in game 1, the Bucks are more or less laughed out of the building. Game 2 isn’t much different. With an injury-free game under his belt, D-Rose has a competent game, giving the Bulls a quiet double-double and Jimmy Butler shoots the lights out. Over in Wisconsin, MCW and the Bucks give the Bulls a scare in game 3 but impeccable defense down low from Gasol and Noah help fuel a 4th quarter run for the Bulls. Game 4 sees the Bucks taking their only game of the series. A triumph for a young and inexperienced Milwaukee team. But the celebration is short-lived as game 5 in the United Center sees the home squad blowing out the Bucks, led of course by Jimmy Butler’s offensive and defensive prowess.
Chicago Bulls win the series 4-1
4. Toronto Raptors vs 5. Washington Wizards
Seemingly the closest series on paper, I don’t think it’s going to go that way. Coach Randy Wittman has virtually run the Wizards into the ground and lit them on fire since the All-Star Break. Posting a sub .500 record since the break, the Wizards only managed to improve on last year’s record by 2 games. The Raptors didn’t finish any better, posting a 12-15 record post-AS Break. This series will be hard fought, but mostly because the teams cancel each other out. The Raptors boast an elite offense but an atrocious defense and the Wizards are vice versa.
The Eastern Conference sees their only first round 7-game series. It’s a back and forth affair, one that sees the Raptors splitting the first two games at home. Same over in D.C., as John Wall shows why he is becoming an elite point guard but also shows why he can’t be the only one contributing on offense. The stifling Toronto defense takes one of the two games and we go back to Canada all tied up. Game 5 is a ridiculous game, one that sees more than a couple technical fouls. The teams are getting chippy, each one looking to get the upper hand. A DeMar DeRozan last minute three gives the Toronto Drakes a nail-biting win. Game 6 reminds us that Bradley Beal still plays good basketball. Leading the the Wiz on a third-quarter scoring run, he puts them in control and they never look back on their way to tying the series at 3 and sending it to GAME 7. Game 7. There’s no way it doesn’t end in a buzzer beater. It could go either way. I say Toronto takes the win thanks to a Lou Williams wild “how did he make that” three pointer.
Toronto Raptors win the series 4-3
There you have it, folks: My predictions for the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. A quick recap: Hawks in 4, Cavs in 5, Bulls in 5, Raptors in 7.
By Tyler Berry
My knee jerk reaction when I first saw the Britt McHenry video was to write about how she's an awful person, about how she must just be this horrible blonde with a pretty face who got her job literally because of those two attributes...and I guess a couple of others. I wrote a couple hundred words in my typical ranting format but I stopped myself. I deleted every word. Why? Because the way I was writing, what I was writing, was making me look as bad as she was in that leaked video. She judged someone she had never met based on the woman's appearance and her perceived intelligence. All I was doing was judging Ms. McHenry on her appearance and perceived shitty personality.
So that's not what this piece is. This piece is one long, overtly rhetorical question to ESPN: How can you only suspend her for a week?
No seriously, how? You suspended Bill Simmons for three weeks for calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar. A liar. Simmons didn't call him fat or ugly or criticize his dental work or insinuate that he has miniscule intelligence. Britt McHenry did all of that. So why will she be back reporting in 7 days?
As a family-friendly company that is part of a much, much larger family-friendly conglomerate, how can you let this go with such a small slap on the wrist? Because she apologized on Twitter? Readers, feel free to join me in a slow, sarcastic round of applause right…now. As ESPN’s own Skip Bayless would say, “Way to go, I’m not impressed.” The PR release doesn't even tell us if it's a suspension with or without pay. She very well may be getting a paid vacation for her outlandish actions and words. Unacceptable.
Come on, ESPN. A week? Let me just reiterate that you are a company that prides itself on being “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” To me, that means you’re tolerant of everyone regardless of race, appearance, intelligence, or otherwise. Does Ms. McHenry’s…ahem…verbal diarrhea fall in line with the qualities that ESPN exudes? It certainly doesn’t seem that way.
As far as I'm concerned, McHenry should lose her job over this. As a figure in the public eye, you can't act like that and expect to get away with it. Obviously, you shouldn't act like she did even if you aren't in the public eye, but that's beside the point. It’s clear from the video that she saw the camera recording her and she kept talking. I’d be remised if I didn’t acknowledge that the video was edited before the leak but it doesn’t change the classlessness of her words. She made her choice and there should be much loftier repercussions that she has to deal with.
What you’ve done here, ESPN, is let the public know that you find ESPN-on-ESPN attacks more important and serious than ESPN-on-citizen attacks. Maybe that’s not the best way to say that but it’s how it seems as of late. You suspend Bill Simmons for three weeks for attacking Goodell because of your extremely important relationship with the National Football League, but you only suspend McHenry for 7 days because of you're less important relationship with the public? It’s not right and here’s hoping that it comes back to bite the company and Britt McHenry straight in the ass.