Because I'm white and talking about race is right up there with getting my urethra scraped on my list of Least Favorite Things To Do, I ignored the scope of ESPN's coverage of the Atlanta-New Orleans Monday Night Football game. Yes, I noticed that it was mostly white folk in the stands, and yes, I'm well aware that the majority of the Superdome populace a year ago was another race. Do I think that's okay? Absolutely not. Is it the kind of material I like to work with? Not really.
But if you're looking for an excellent denunciation of ESPN's whitewashing, I direct you to FreeDarko, the Internet's finest source for sports coverage that feels like homework. Bethlehem Shoals — which I suspect may be a pseudonym — writes:
I'd assumed this would be a chance for the American mainstream to 'fess up about the diaster's real shape and form. I'd anticipated something that, if not downright lugubrious, would at least verge on cathartic. Cathartic, presumably, for those who had been most affected by the high water… [Then] it dawned on me: not only was the mood more festive than moving, they'd also totally neglected the whole "rechristen the Superdome" angle. This was "football returning to New Orleans," minus any of the messy, wrenching stuff that would've come up had ESPN cut to the quick… I can't help but suspect that if the NBA had to do this, it wouldn't have been quite as insensitive, rote, thoughtless, and blind to the reason for this night's importance. Maybe it would've done a little to remind people what went wrong, instead of simply going along with a status quo that caused the calamity in the first place.
So, um… there's that. I thought Reggie Bush made everything better? No?
Update: WL conspirator Big Daddy Drew says, "He's kidding, right? Because I'm pretty sure the NBA would have hired Beyonce to perform in a mermaid outfit."