Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jew-Hater Returns to ESPN

Y'all know I'm a devotee of Gregg Easterbrook, author of the weekly (during football months) Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, at least when it comes to football. On politics, economics, and science, I think he's a smug Brookings demi-fascist masquerading as a sensible independent, despite a history of writing for nominally liberal rags (Atlantic, Washington Monthly, New Republic). Be that as it may--and it is--Easterbrook's football writings are funny, if increasingly formulaic (Easterbrook himself told Salon's King Kaufman that "There is a formulaic aspect to it, but the formula seems to be pretty popular.").

Easterbrook spent a couple of seasons on NFL.com, the official propaganda organ of the NFL, after ESPN fired him in the middle of the 2003 football season for making a comment in his non-football writings about Jewish media executives (Michael Eisner and Harvey Weinstein, specifically) making money by worshipping/glorifying violence. There were dumb things about the comment--Easterbrook embarked on this rant in the context of Kill Bill, one of the greatest fucking movies ever made, and Michael Eisner was, at the time, Easterbrook's CEO at ESPN--but you had to stretch pretty hard to make a racism case. ESPN stretched, having just gone through the debacle of firing Rush Limbaugh as a football commentator for his rather more clearly racist remarks about Donovan McNabb, and Easterbrook spent a couple of weeks in the wilderness before getting picked up at NFL.com.

Easterbrook told Kaufman in a recent phone interview (membership or brief advert-viewing required; shut up and do it) that he had to tone down his act a tiny bit writing for the NFL (he wasn't allowed to call Dannyboy Snider "Lord Voldemort," but that doesn't stop the rest of us), but said it was "OK" writing for that notoriously overblown hype machine.

Now? Easterbrook has been bribed back by ESPN. His price? Free family tickets to the Super Bowl and other major sporting events.

Sigh. I'll still read, until it makes me hopelessly tired. But this is just effing dumb.

1 comment:

whispers said...

I found myself skimming through the Easterbrook columns last fall. They're getting way too formulaic for me.

(1) complain about blitzing
(2) say teams should always go for it on fourth down
(3) complain about coaches who give up
(4) praise scantily-clad cheerleaders

with occasional
(5) offer partially-informed opinion about some scientific matter, which is as likely to be way off base as to be correct.

Easterbrook is definitely the most formulaic sports writer I can think of. And I can't say that I can buy the "never blitz" attitude towards defense. A defense that gives up one aspect of defensive strategy will see opposing offenses tailor their attacks to this strategy. Also, Easterbrook suffers from the fallacy of "presuming the mean", by which I mean that he presumes an attack strategy that works on average over all circumstances would also be the best for any particular set of circumstances he's looking at. Which is why he thinks, for example, that a running game that averages 3.5 yards/carry will also average 3.5 yards/carry on 4th and 2, a dubious presumption.