Laziness and or racism in sports reporting: Making fun of European names is still racism.

So we’re all still laughing at sporting pundits horribly botching foreign names? This still passes as humour? Sporting commentary really needs to come into the 21st century. Memo to ageing, decaying-before-our eyes sports casters, it is not cool to say ‘I can’t pronounce foreign names!’ any more. It’s not cool to say it, it’s not cool to joke about it. No matter what way to try to pass it off, it isn’t funny. At best it’s lazy, at worst it’s racism at its most basic level.

Be it Paul Merson’s mumbling, bumbling act on Sky Sports, or Jeff Van Gundy during the NBA draft, making jokes about a foreigner’s name is nothing short of pathetic.

The NBA draft on Thursday night really brought it to light, however we have been accepting this shoddy, simple minded behaviour for years now, and if we truly are an evolving species, its time to say, enough is enough. How on earth is it okay for an extremely well paid professional to lazily fart out a pathetic, erroneous attempt at a mans name just because he is from another country? Also, how is this funny?

Let’s flip the coin for a second.

Imagine an NBA team is playing in Europe. Imagine the only live feed available is the European commentary team, and for whatever reason (come on, were ‘imagining’ here) their broadcast is in English. That’s the broadcast that airs in the States. Now, imagine if the European commentary team constantly made fun of the Black NBA players names, looks, style and habits.

Can you imagine the sanctimonious uproar in the United States?

Well that’s exactly what is going on right now amongst wide swathes of the mainstream US sporting media. Apparently it is absolutely okay to make fun of foreigners.

Think this piece is going too far, and think this isn’t an issue? Well if you want to blindfold yourself and walk away from the obviously racist undertones, if you want to stick your head emu like in the sand, how do you explain the lack of professional preparation? These idiots are being paid very, very good money to report on sports to us. It’s a simple task, and an enjoyable one too, one that many of us would give a limb to partake in. And yet these simple minded, lazy fools can not be bothered to do the minimum level of research to find out how to pronounce a players name? Really? And we’re all cool with this?

Of course this phenomenon, of sports broadcasters and media types barely managing to disguise either that professional laziness or their inherent racism (take your pick) is not exclusive to the TV or the radio. The written word is a perfectly good vehicle for the unimaginative, lazy mind to belch out their semi-passive yet ultimately toxic wares.

There’s a new, enormous online sporting media project going on as we speak, trying to lure us all in with its quasi laid back attitude and colourful coating of popular culture. They are painting themselves as some sort of enlightened, new, fresh look at sports reporting. They are validating that desired image by jamming stories about similar ventures down our throats. Meanwhile, in terms of content, they are doing the exact same thing those tired hacks, who they are apparently trying to distance themselves from, partake in.

Check out the running score on a recent article from their feature writer, with added bonus attached!

  • Completely racist jokes/comments about foreigners and or foreign names: 7
  • Sexist references Benny Hill would have been ashamed of: 1

Enough is enough. Sports journalists. Grow up. Cop on. The world is a big, colourful place with athletes of all shapes, sizes, nationalities and creeds. They are all proud, dignified people. Jonas Valanciunas is as proud of his name as Ron Artest is. Nikola Vujevic deserves the same dignity and respect afforded Kobe Bryant.

You want to poke fun at their names, style or habits?

Find another profession. The rest of the world is passing you by.

American and European culture mixing in fine art.



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Anonymous said…
Nice post - Agree with this almost completely. Not sure if it's racism or just lazy, ignorant and disrespectful. Maybe that adds up to racism anyway.

In Australia this is pretty much what you expect from all of the mainstream media. Particularly if it isn't one of the national codes. Mostly I just switch the channel, or rely on the internet, including the blogosphere, for my info. Does piss me off that they could use the same internet that I do - Would take 5 minutes, not too mention that a lot of organisations/clubs now provide pronunciation guides for their rosters. And yeah, I'd do a lot for that job. Getting paid to watch and comment on sport? Hell yeah and I'd be doing my research.

Last, not sure if it's a saying I don't know but emus don't stick their heads in the sand. That's supposed to be ostriches and a myth anyway. Emus do run in the same direction and often in front of a car they are trying to avoid. They also kick the crap out of anything that they can't run away from or that threatens a nest/chicks. One of them kept me bailed up in a tree for nearly an hour once. Didn't stick his/her head in the sand.