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Inexplicable idiocy, or a joke? (NBA related)


JoeHova

So, I was on foxsports.com looking for Charley Rosen's latest column (which is a perverse pleasure to read, imo) and I came across an article by Jason Whitlock (he's the fat guy who used to guest host PTI once in awhile) that argues that the reason ratings for the NBA playoffs are up is not because big markets with popular players are involved, but because not that many guys on the teams still left have tattoos. Could anyone actually believe such a thing? For one, Kobe has arguably the ugliest/worst tattoo in pro sports, and for two- most of the guys he mentions as offensive to his sensibilities (Iverson, Anthony, Hughes, West) are not fixtures in the late playoffs.

 

He then goes on to say that watching any tattooed person play is extremely unpleasant and should not be watched by children. He then says "athletes are no different than models". Yeah, he's right, except for the small matter of models being judged solely by their physical appearance and athletes being judged by their talents, they're exactly the same.

 

Then, he criticizes athletes for (supposedly) missing out on opportunities to sell their image because they are so repugnantly covered in "paint" (as he calls it). I agree with him on that point, it's too bad that Iverson, LeBron, Carmelo and so on aren't in any commercials. If only their skin was as clear as a baby's butt, maybe they'd all have numerous national and international endorsements worth hundreds of millions of dollars and their jerseys would be among the top 10 sellers. And why would someone not worrying about grabbing every possible buck be such a bad thing anyway?

 

To cap it off, he says that all people who are tattooed do it to "mask their insecurities" and says that people with tattoos are "repulsive" and look like "prison parolees".

 

Then he pats himself on the back for having the guts to talk about an issue no one else will talk about. Well, maybe because its not an issue?

 

 

I find it hard to believe that a (presumably) paid author could write something like this. It's such an archetypal "hey you kids, get off my lawn" piece that I almost have to wonder if it is a parody, especially considering Whitlock is only like 40 years old. Unfortunately, I don't think it is one.

 

What do other people think? Am I overreacting? Here's the article.

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His point about some of the players looking "like recent prison parolees" isn't entirely off the mark. I haven't watched the NBA consistently for a few years but when I come across a game on TV I have noticed the tattoo thing has become more prevalent. Personally I think that tattoos in general are over done, especially by 20 somethings who grew up in the 'burbs. I don't have one. If I did it wouldn't be visible on my drivers license photo...

 

I do agree this was a pretty weak article by Whitlock who I usually like. The TV ratings suck because the NBA has sucked for 10 years...

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Turn down that loud music!

 

In all seriousness, he might have a very, very small point. Just not one that I think is worth bring up.

 

Using your argument that basketball players are there for their talents, you could also say that actors should be judged on their talents. But in all reality, if you're on TV in any form, attractiveness sells. And if the market dictates that basketball viewers don't like the tattoos, then less tattoos would have a positive result on ratings. I just don't think it's enough to write an entire article about.

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

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He then goes on to say that watching any tattooed person play is extremely unpleasant and should not be watched by children.

 

This is really an odd thing to say! In his opinion, possibly, but does he explain why they shouldn't be watched by children? Just because of being tattooed?

 

 

To cap it off, he says that all people who are tattooed do it to "mask their insecurities" and says that people with tattoos are "repulsive" and look like "prison parolees".

This one is just out there as well. People have things tattooed to remember people, honor them, or whatever. I don't think they're repulsive at all.

I should also say, I'm 30 and I have no tattoos. Just a personal choice. I'm a wimp, and I'll readily admit it. Needles scare me. But hey, if Kobe, Prince Fielder Allen Iverson and Mike Tyson want to tattoo every square inch of their body, far be it from me to stop them. Does it mean I'll think any less of them? No way! To me, a person should be judged by WHO they are, not what they look like. Judge the character of the person, not the exterior.

 

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Yeah, but actors (like models) are often sold to the opposite sex. Sports usually seem to be sold to people of the same sex. I doubt any team is picking someone over a better player because he's better looking, except in baseball (the good face). I mean, look at Oden, Howard, Yao, Rose & Beasley, LeBron, etc. The 1st picks in the draft definitely have nothing to do with looks.

 

I mean, if we start watching sports based on who looks better, wouldn't that lead to a reductio ad absurdum where Tom Cruise (or whoever) is the best player in the NBA because he's the best looking?

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Here's the Helen Lovejoy-esque section on the children:

 

"No one wants to watch (heavily-tattooed players) play basketball. It's uncomfortable and disconcerting. You don't want your kids to see it. You don't want your kids to think they should decorate their neck, arms, hands, chest and legs in paint. You don't want to waste time explaining to your kids that some millionaire athletes have so little genuine self-confidence that they find it necessary to cover themselves in tattoos as a way to mask their insecurities."

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Prince has a variety of tats, and I really don't think he's trying to cover up an insecurities or such nonsense... Football players don't seem to shy away from tattoos either, and NFL ratings are as high as ever.

 

I think people are just grasping at straws to figure out why NBA ratings are so low.

 

I suppose if I saw a bunch of "thug life" tattoos or something, I would think the person's either poseur or glorifying crime, but I generally don't see that sort of thing.

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Yeah, but actors (like models) are often sold to the opposite sex. Sports usually seem to be sold to people of the same sex. I doubt any team is picking someone over a better player because he's better looking, except in baseball (the good face). I mean, look at Oden, Howard, Yao, Rose & Beasley, LeBron, etc. The 1st picks in the draft definitely have nothing to do with looks.

 

I mean, if we start watching sports based on who looks better, wouldn't that lead to a reductio ad absurdum where Tom Cruise (or whoever) is the best player in the NBA because he's the best looking?

 

I think you're taking what I said a little too far. Look at it this way, there are plenty of actors and actresses that are attractive but fail because they don't have the talent. Someone like Tom Cruise has (arguably) a talent for making movies, yet he wouldn't have made it this far if he wasn't attractive.

 

I'm not talking about the way it SHOULD be, I'm talking about the way that it most likely is. Perhaps the male viewer numbers wouldn't change either way, but players having less tattoos would increase female viewers, thus raising the overall ratings. I used to date a girl who thought Michael Jordan was the hottest man alive, and she would watch any game of his that she could. I agree that it's all grasping at straws, but I don't think you can say that it makes absolutely no impact. There's bound to be some kind of subtle difference, just not enough to say that it's THE difference.

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

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Maybe I'm wrong, but Jason Whitlock often seems to try to hit on an obscure subject like this. Kinda like grasping at straws. To me (and I'm a huge sports fan) tats have nothing to do with the fact that I can't watch an entire NBA playoff game from start to finish. The play is bad, and has almost zero emotion until late in the game, where as in college BBall, emotion runs wild through the ENTIRE game. Maybe it's the fans or the fact that college kids are just trying their best, but I think if you watch College, then watch Pro, it's like night and day. I love Basketball, just not the NBA.

 

And I guess you gotta maybe give Whitlock a little cred for trying to go out on a limb, but pointing fingers at the way people look, is about as 7th grade as you can get. Grow up Whitlock.

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No no -- it's their fundamentals. See, not having tatoos = playing fundamentally sound basketball.

 

 

Whitlock has taken it upon himself to be the Black sports columnist that denigrates Black athletes.

 

He really does seem to go out of his way to do so. Like a character straight outta Boondocks.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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Whitlock always tries to spout the truth, and does here, but as usual, exaggerates it to an extreme. The majority of people do not care much for tattoos, and many others don't really like 'em. That said, if Prince had a face tattoo and hit 75 HR's, the whole world would be wearing fake ones.

 

There are many problems with the NBA, some have to do with much of the league being black...but the tattoo thing is a bit of a reach.

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There are many problems with the NBA, some have to do with much of the league being black...

 

Wow.

 

I think (hope?) what Al was trying to say is that the NBA has always had problems trying to sell their product to a predominantly white audience. This is a topic that Bill Simmons has touched on a number of times in his columns, especially during the debacle that was the Las Vegas edition of the NBA All-Star Game.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/blog/index?name=simmons&entryDate=20070302

 

So who gets blamed? Naturally, the NBA. The league's fundamental issue has remained the same for four decades: It's a league of mostly black players marketing itself to a mostly white audience and a mostly white media. That delicate balance was the premise of David Halberstam's watershed sports book "The Breaks of the Game," which was published 25 years ago, back when MJ was playing for Carolina and Michael Jackson was on his second nose. Nothing has really changed. Just look at the way Iverson's credentials were belittled when Philly shopped him last December, or the comically skewed reaction to a Nuggets-Knicks brawl that wasn't one-tenth as violent as the Senators-Sabres brawl last week. Certain media members will always delight in sticking it to the NBA, with the underlying theme being, "Sorry, I just can't identify with those black guys."

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or the comically skewed reaction to a Nuggets-Knicks brawl that wasn't one-tenth as violent as the Senators-Sabres brawl last week. Certain media members will always delight in sticking it to the NBA, with the underlying theme being, "Sorry, I just can't identify with those black guys."

 

Or it's just that nobody watches hockey.

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There are plenty of black NFL athletes, Footballers, and NCAA college hoops athletes... those 'sell' pretty well to predominantly white audiences.

 

 

"It's a league of mostly black players marketing itself to a mostly white audience and a mostly white media."

 

Imho, this is an incredibly weak argument. Unless the NBA's 'blackiness-osity' is magnified by the power of 18 suns, I don't see how black men playing basketball is any different from black men playing any other sport.

 

What about the NHL? Is their problem that they're marketing a predominantly white sport to a predominantly white audience? The idea that since the most common skin color that you see in the NBA is dark, and that somehow leads to problems selling the product, is frustrating and laughable to me. What about when David Stern was the marketing genius & the NBA would never ever see a downturn in popularity? It's not like the league wasn't overwhelmingly comprised of dark-skinned men then (late '90s, early '00s).

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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The NBA doesn't really have a problem with attendance, just their TV ratings have dropped over the years, like has baseball. The reasons for the ratings drop IMO are

 

1. All pro team sports except football have taken a rating hit the last 5-10 years as TV viewers have been given so many other channels to watch. I'm a huge sports fans, but i think i fit into that group who watches less non-local teams play baseball/basketball on TV because there are now 300+ channels i can choose from. I'm in my 30's and in my younger days, there were 5-6 channels to choose from so when playoff basketball or baseball was on, i usually watched it because little else was on. Football is more immune to this i think because teams only play once a week, playoff games are lose one game and your done, and football is America's favorite sport.

 

2. Before the rule changes, the NBA allowed for to long their games to be painfully low scoring grind it out wrestling matches. Gone were the days of up and down the court exciting playoff basketball like in the 80's, replaced with Riley, Fratello, Jeff VanGundy etc coached grind it out all defense no offense games where 88-85 scores were considered high scoring affairs. Many fans stopped watching because of this and mixed with others not watching less because of more viewing options, NBA ratings took a pretty big nosedive.

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I have a hard time with the NBA because of the lack of players that I like. I enjoyed the Bucks of the 1999-2002 period. I enjoy the Suns these days. But it can be very difficult as a fan who doesn't understand basketball culture to really get into things. Maybe it's because I'm a bland white male. Maybe it's because I'm middle class. But there's something about watching over-tattooed folks with bad hairdoos and shorts that touch their socks that just doesn't appeal to me. Like I said, I've long understood it's basketball culture, just as I understand body art can be popular with bikers. But I have nothing to identify with the players, especially because the system in place allows for virtually no fan-player bond. Even star players get traded somewhat frequently. Yet in MLB or the NFL, there can be a totally different player-fan bond as the fans in a market can watch a player over many years, from rookie to veteran status.

 

I hate to bring up the race or socio-economic issues, but it is something that is unique. My group of friends was huge into the major 3 sports (and college hoops) in high school. But nowadays, we talk baseball, football, and occasionally college hoops. the NBA is virtually as non-existent as the NHL is to most in Wisconsin. I can't explain why, though.

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those 'sell' pretty well to predominantly white audiences.

 

All you need to sell is winning. In very prejudiced southern rural areas, people are absolutely fanatical about their college sports teams, which are predominantly black. It's something I've never understood - how racists can be huge fans of sports teams with lots of black players. That'd be like a neo-nazi cheering for Israel in the olympics.

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Does it mean I'll think any less of them? No way! To me, a person should be judged by WHO they are, not what they look like. Judge the character of the person, not the exterior.

 

aren`t you one of the people that was dogging on noah for looking different?

 

personally i don`t care for basketball because of the sport and not due to the players. i think its silly that you can benifit from fouling guys in the final period. it causes the last minute or so to be dang long its just not enjoyable for me to watch.

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aren`t you one of the people that was dogging on noah for looking different?
Actually, my dogging on Noah was more for him ACTING different. If that was misconstrued as looking different, I apologize. I am far from the most good looking person in the world, so I have no place to stand and pass judgment on someone for how they look. I do my best to look at the actions of people more than anything else.
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