I've made racist remarks. I've told racist jokes and laughed at them. I am not a racist. I've made sexist remarks, told jokes about fans of various schools, hair colors and so on. And I believe the overwhelming majority of us are guilty of such "insensitivity." But there's a huge difference between off-the-cuff remarks and joking around and a mind-set that reveals deeper issues. It's not a fine line; it's a huge wall.
That said, Oklahoma had no choice but to accept (if not demand) the resignation of baseball coach Larry Cochell. By now you should have read about the remarks Cochell made in conversation with ESPN broadcasters. In the remarks he in essence said outfielder Joe Dunigan III, who is black, doesn't have any N-----R in him. While that remark is damaging enough, the second comment attributed to Cochell, "there's honkies and good white guys, and there's n------s and good black kids" was the killer.
The first remark can be accepted as a stupid, off-the cuff remark that was out of character and meant no harm. He could have explained it as something others have referred to and made the appropriate apology.
But the second remark was absolutely unforgivable. In that comment, Cochell basically endorsed the notion that lazy, unproductive black kids do deserve/warrant being labeled with the "N-word". While the individual player and his family can (and did) forgive Cochell for what he said, the school simply cannot.
Tough Weekend in Gainesville
There was a good bit of rain in the University City this weekend, but it might have been better for the Gators had a hurricane plowed through. The baseball team dropped two of three to Tennessee, tightening up what was already a close SEC race. The Vols win on Sunday moved the boys from Rocky Top within a game and a half of the SEC lead with three weekends to go. Florida made Vols righty Craig Cobb look like an All-SEC pitcher rather than the guy with a 7.04 ERA that entered the game. It was a clear reminder pitching is still more about changing speeds and getting head of hitters than 95-mile-an-hour fastballs.
The loss Sunday also put a damper on an amazing accomplishment from Florida second baseman Adam Davis. The talented sophomore had four hits, two homers and ten runs batted in during Saturday's 18-9 slugfest win. It was a school record performance just on the heels of Alex Rodriguez driving in ten in one game in the majors. Interestingly enough, both the Yanks and Gators struggled to score runs the very next day. Go figure!
With nine games left in the SEC race, the conference has six teams within two games of first place. Florida leads the way at 14-7, followed by Alabama (13-8) and Tennessee (12-8). Three other teams are right on the Vols heels at 12-9 (LSU, Ole Miss, S. Carolina). The Gators travel to Fayetteville for a three game set with Arkansas (9-12) this weekend while the top series in the SEC will send the Gamecocks to Knoxville for three with the Vols.
Florida and Alabama would appear to have the easiest schedules of the six contenders. The Gators finish with Mississippi State (9-12) at home and then travel to take on Vanderbilt (10-11) in the regular season finale. 'Bama, like UF does not face any of the other six. The Crimson Tide visits Mississippi State, hosts Arkansas and finishes up at Auburn (9-12).
Of course the way the league has been this year, teams that are not title contenders at the moment could very well be in the picture in a week or two.
Mixed Bag for Gators in NBA
Mike Miller and Jason "call me Jay" Williams are out, but Udonis Haslem moves on in the NBA playoffs. Miller and Williams and their Memphis teammates were swept out of the first round by the Phoenix Suns. Both played reasonably well in the game four loss that eliminated the Grizzlies. Williams scored 20 and had 8 assists while Miller chipped in with 13 points.
Of course Williams could not resist the urge to remind the world who he is deep down inside. He had to be separated from a sportswriter who he took a pen from and cursed at over an alleged misquote.
Meanwhile Udonis Haslem remains one of the great success stories ever for an ex-Gator. U-D averaged nine points and 12 rebounds in the New Jersey series and was the Heat's leading rebounder twice and tied for team honors in another game.
The U-dominator was simply a revelation in the NBA this year; averaging just under 11 points and just over 9 rebounds a game. He was 14th in the NBA with his 9.1 rebound average and his .540 field goal percentage was fourth best in the league.
Haslem is not only a great story as a guy who went overseas, rebuilt his body and made good in the NBA; he's also about to make a whole lotta money when his contract runs out. And I know it seems like he's been around a long time, but Udonis Haslem turns 25 next month.
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