What's up with ESPN? The network which reprehensibly sidelined Jemele Hill has a few confused writers. Worse, the network itself is wrongheaded.
On Friday, Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. wrote a piece describing meetings in mid-October among NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, team executives, union representatives, and players. On the second day, individual players were excluded and
As (Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry) Jones spoke, (Washington Redskins owner Dan( Snyder mumbled out loud, "See, Jones gets it -- 96 percent of Americans are for guys standing," a claim some dismissed as a grand overstatement. McNair, a multimillion-dollar Trump campaign contributor, spoke next, echoing many of the same business concerns. "We can't have the inmates running the prison," McNair said.
Wichersham-Van Natta write
McNair later pulled Vincent aside and apologized, saying that he felt horrible and that his words weren't meant to be taken literally, which Vincent appreciated. The meetings were already running long and were ending on a raw note -- and there were more agenda items to hit.
The following morning, ESPN Staff Writer Sarah Barshop contended
McNair issued a public apology Friday following an ESPN The Magazine report that McNair said "We can't have the inmates running the prison" during last week's owners meeting, in reference to ongoing player demonstrations during the national anthem.
This is the "apology" cited by these journalists:
I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players. I used a fugure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it.
Granted, McNair had not "meant to offend anyone," which is the stock phrase used when offensive remarks are made, as in "I had good intentions."
The claim that the Houston Texans' owner "wasn't talking about our players" is bizarre, given it's not likely he was talking about the Penn State Nittany Lions, Houston's Westfield (high school) Mustangs, or the Houston Wildcats women's football team.
Certainly McNair did not want "to be taken literally." It does not take a keen observer to realize he was using a metaphor for a prison because, in McNair's mind, black=prison. Try googling "inmates running the asylum" and the first page reveals no reference to wikipedia or the urban dictionary but eight references to McNair.
There is one other reference- the first, which is "inmates running the asylum" because the idiom always has been "inmates running the asylum." There was never a phrase "inmates running the prison" except in the minds of individuals closely associating blacks- not black criminals, but blacks- with prison.
The President of the United States in America, angry because he was denied the opportunity to own a National Football League team after helping destroy the USFL, has decided to turn whites against blacks and American against American. He's a provocateur sowing division and discord, and the nation's premier sports network, intentionally or otherwise, shouldn't be running interference for his allies.