The toxic view that everything must be racialized includes every personal conversation and interaction. As ESPN’s Rod Gilmore reminds us, even sports are not spared.
During the Oregon Ducks game against the Arizona Wildcats, Ducks receiver Kris Hutson caught a pass deep down the sideline with 18 seconds left before halftime. The play would have allowed Oregon a chance to extend its 24-10 lead going into the break, but Hutson drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting a defender.
Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal was understandably unhappy and briefly chewed Hutson out on the sideline. Cristobal said his piece, and then Huston looked his coach in the eyes and responded with a “yes, sir.” This kind of interaction is common between coaches and the young men that make up college football teams (although Cristobal also threw his headset, which likely bothered the equipment staff more than Hutson).
Gilmore thought differently. One of the broadcasters for the game, Gilmore initially said that Cristobal went too far and that he shouldn’t have embarrassed Hutson on national television. Reasonable people can disagree about that (and I do), but it’s a fair point.
But in responding to a critic on Twitter, Gilmore took it even further. “Moreover, the image of a 51 year old White man berating a young Black man so publicly rubs a lot of us the wrong way. Especially w/all the racial injustice,” Gilmore tweeted. “Bad optics. U can deliver the lesson w/o flexing your power & control. It did not make Black parents I know happy.”
Moreover, the image of a 51 year old White man berating a young Black man so publicly rubs a lot of us the wrong way. Especially w/all the racial injustice. Bad optics. U can deliver the lesson w/o flexing your power & control. It did not make Black parents I know happy.— RodGilmore@espn (@RodGilmore) September 27, 2021
This racially warped worldview would deem that nonblack coaches (Cristobal is Cuban) are not allowed to yell at black players. This is insane.
You can find similar interactions to this one at any given high school football game, let alone in college football. Cristobal didn’t put his hands on Hutson. He didn’t dwell too long on what was in fact a pretty serious and unforced mistake. He said what needed to be said, Hutson acknowledged it, and they both moved on. They both clearly respect each other, as Cristobal noted after the game, and that respect Cristobal has for Hutson explains why he was incensed by Hutson's lapse in judgment.
This has nothing to do with skin color or “all the racial injustice.” This was an experienced professional at the top of his game letting a young and inexperienced man know that he just hurt his team, followed by the young man acknowledging his mistake.
Hutson will be a better player because of this, and Oregon will be a better team. But the racial brain rot that has taken over at ESPN suggests that there is no hope for the network.