I know this one’s gonna get me in trouble but that never stopped me before. It’s that whole fools and angels thing, and in the words of that great philosopher Greg Allman, we all know “I’m no angel.”
This one involves narcissist extraordinaire, LaVar Ball, and ESPN ‘First Take’ sports show host, Molly Qerim.
For those fortunate folks who don’t know who Ball is, he had very modest success as a professional athlete, but he’s parlayed his three sons’ NCAA and NBA basketball careers into a sporting clothes line and a reality show. He’s kinda like the basketball equivalent of Joe Jackson, the infamous Jackson Five patriarch.
Ball, who’s megalomania includes visions of his three sons returning the Los Angeles Lakers to their halcyon dynastic days, is more well-known for his outlandish pronouncements like he could’ve beaten Michael Jordan one-on-one, his son Lonzo is better than Stephen Curry, and my personal favorite, “Realistically, you can’t win no [NBA] championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow.”
Imagine if a white guy said anything remotely like that about black players. But that didn’t stop ESPN from inviting him on the show.
Meanwhile, Qerim, who has no sports credibility whatsoever, landed the ‘First Take’ gig primarily on the basis of her two major “assets,” which she proudly displays at every turn. Apparently, there’s a reason they call it the “boob tube.” I’m not saying she isn’t an effective communicator, but if she looked like a little more like a 70-year-old Terry Bradshaw, she’d be a nothing more than a mid-level PR person at a budget airline.
So, ESPN regularly puts Qerim out there for the obvious ratings grabber and they put Ball on their shows because you never know what he’s gonna say, and sure enough! When Querim asked Ball if she could “switch gears” on the June 17th installment, he replied “You can switch gears with me anytime!”
Managing to muster all the artificial self-righteousness they possibly could, ESPN defended Qerim’s nonexistent virtue by pounding their collective firsts on the table and banning Ball from all future broadcasts. And the talking heads went similarly nuts over what was deemed to be an “inappropriate” comment.
C’mon! At best it was a bad sophomoric joke, and at worst it was the kind of bad pickup line you’d expect to hear in an SNL bit. But don’t tell me it wasn’t inevitable and don’t tell me that ESPN wasn’t praying for exactly that kind of ratings boost.
Can you say “disingenuous?” I knew you could!
And while women everywhere excoriated Bell for being a scurrilous cad, I’m thinking the focus of their collective ire should actually be those ESPN bosses who put the “gifted” Qerim in that position in the first place.
There are any number of former WNBA and U.S. women’s soccer players who are eminently more qualified to host a cable sports talk show than Qerim, but that ain’t the way it works. Women are consistently hired to major media positions based primarily on their packaging and not on their capacity to form full sentences.
Just look at our local Chicago news stations and particularly Channel 7 weatherperson Cheryl Scott.
Ironically, she actually has both a sports and science background, but who knew that regularly batting your false eyelashes while plying your trade in skin-tight dresses had any meteorological significance whatsoever? I suppose it means viewers can tell if it’s cold in the studio, but that’s about as far as it goes.
And then there’s all that insipid teenage gushing about Scott getting engaged to her fiancé. All I’m gonna ask it that she doesn’t reproduce.
To make matters exponentially worse, Scott’s popularity has spawned a slew of imitation Chicago “weather babes” as they’re affectionately referred to. Thanks to her, we have CBS’ Megan Glaros, NBC’s Kalee Dionne, who’s college claim to fame is musical theater, and Fox News’ Kaitlin Cody.
Despite whatever credentials they might have, we all know they wouldn’t be on the evening news if any them looked the least bit like Chicago’s last male meteorologist, Tom Skilling.
And that’s what really frosts my cookies!
Though I know liberals will do their damndest to excoriate me, please don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying men should automatically get these gigs and that what Mr. Ball said wasn’t stupid. Basketball legend Charles Barkley correctly stipulated that, “Wherever LaVar Ball is, there is a village missing an idiot.”
But if I were a woman, I’d be far more incensed about my feminine compatriots’ tendency to advance on the basis of their bra size and appearance instead of their general merit.
That’s what really needs to change.