Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tony Kornheiser Meets the Fashion Police

Wait.  What?

Surely, the suspension intended for Mike "Martin Luther Coon Day" Greenberg was misdirected in the inter-office mail and given to Tony Kornheiser instead.

Last week, Tony Kornheiser was doing his radio show on ESPN 980 and commented on morning SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm's wardrobe.  The relevant section of the program is as follows:
Kornheiser: "I want to point out, for those of you looking at ESPN, I'd like to point out Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today (pictured). She’s got on red go-go boots and a Catholic school plaid skirt -- way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now. She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. So, she looks like she's got sausage casing wrapped around her upper body. I mean, you know, honestly -- I know she’s very good, and I know I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people -- I point out people who say they've lost 50 or 60 pounds, have actually gained all the weight back ..."

Male Co-host: "And then some."

Kornheiser: "... I'm not supposed to do anything like that. So I won't. But Hannah Storm today --"

Male Co-host: "Put the weight back, back, back, back, on."

Kornheiser: "Hannah Storm, right, [co-host] Liz [Clarke]? Hannah Storm, come on now. Stop. What are you doing?"

Clarke: "It's painful. And you hit the highlights. The red go-go boots, the Catholic school --"

Male Co-host: "It's a little more Burberry than Catholic school. But still."

Clarke: "It's a Lolita-esque quality."

Male Co-host: "Yeah. Trashy."

Clarke: "Appealing to the fantasy of the little -- well, let's stop there."

Kornheiser: "What I would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at that point."

I'm on Team Tony.  He is unequivocally correct about Hannah Storm's presentation. She is wearing red hooker boots with a skirt her parents probably bought for her way back when she was in middle school.  That is just the opposite of appropriate.  Indeed, Storm has been so otherwise unremarkable in her anchor duties, that she's mainly been noticed in the blogosphere solely for her frequently questionable wardrobe choices.  Her Hunts Point meets Bristol outfit was hardly an aberration from her normal costumes.

Hannah Storm may be many things.  A competent anchor among them.  But she is not a tasteful and/or professional dresser.  She is not the first to try to eroticize the morning news (see Katie Couric) and she is not the first to try to shamelessly sex it up as a sports reporter (see Jillian Reynolds).  But you either do Couric's suit with stilletos schtick or just unabashedly hoochie it up like Jillian.  But you don't awkwardly and clumsily try to do both at the same time.  Then you come out looking like Hannah Storm.  A hot ass mess.

Furthermore, while ESPN selfishly refuses to give their anchors access to professional stylists (it would be wrong to single Hannah out when few of the ESPN anchors have a taste level above JC Penney's), Hannah has been a bad influence on her colleagues.  Call them "gateway boots."

Linda Cohn has taken to wearing the boots, albeit more stylishly.

Dana Jacobson has sported some boots with jeans (gasp!) on a work day.

Despite the anchors' arguable levels of success with the boots, I don't think anyone has been succesful enough so that anything even remotely resembling Hannah Storm's wardrobe should be encouraged.  Hannah Storm is the reason why casual day at the office gets canceled.  She's ruining it for everybody else.

I suspect that it was the "sausage casing" crack that upset Hannah the most.  Tony brutally implied that she was unsightly and unshapely. No woman wants to be compared to pork.  Yeah, that would sting. Still, the severity of Tony's punishment leads me to believe that Hannah stomped childishly, yet ironically, clad in her Lolita-ish outfit into her boss' office and pouted at being embarrassed like that. I only have limited sympathy for her. We've all been laughing at Hannah's outfits for awhile now.  Whatever attention she's received, she brought on herself.

Tony Kornheiser has standing to criticize someone's wardrobe.  Tony is one of the great dressers amongst sports personalities. Tony is not outlandish at all, but he has a classic, consistent style and always looks comfortable in his suits, especially when he wears the sweater vests he tends to prefer.  He's not afraid of texture or color.  His clothes fit and suit his frame perfectly.  He always looks expensive, even with merely 10 or so strands of hair remaining on the sides of his head.  Tony Kornheisher is the epitome of "Grandpa Chic." Tony Kornheiser has taste. So its hardly outrageous that the lack thereof in his colleagues may irk him from time to time.

What's also not surprising is that Tony Kornheiser would complain about something. Tony Kornheiser complains about everything.  Over the years, he has complained about his lucrative jobs, his co-workers, competitors and culture in general.  Tony suffers from a chronic case of old man "I don't give a fuck" fever.  It is what it is.

Simply, ESPN has overreacted.  Truth is an absolute defense.  Still, Kornheiser apologized publicly, privately and effusively.  Any suspension, especially one lasting two weeks, is excessive punishment.  I don't see the benefit in punishing the viewing audience or one of the most distinctive talents at ESPN over something so petty.  Furthermore, the Leader continues to inconsistently punish its talent. It is still not apparent who can say what, when they can say it and about whom they can speak about.

I guess ESPN has their reasons, but much like PTI for the next two weeks, I am in the dark.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quotables and Dedications

In which I select hip-hop prose that commemorates sport.

Ludacris comes through with an entire song, "Sexting", dedicated to Tiger Woods.

Well, damn.

Highlights of this song include a re-enactment of Tiger's infamous voicemail message to his mistress and lyrics like these:

"So I'm getting treated for my sex addiction 
In a private clinic
And I need you to be sensitive 'bout my condition 
Cuz I'm in it to win it
And I really don't wanna further disappoint my fans
And my teacher's a cougar
So I wish she'd lend a helping hand, a helping hand"

from "Sexting" by Ludacris

Friday, February 19, 2010

Quotables and Dedications

In which I select hip-hop prose that commemorates sport.

The following is dedicated to Eldrick "Tiger" Woods on the day of his first statement since his fall from grace.

"Now your girl might be sick, but my girl's sicker

She rides that d*ck and she handles her liquor
Knock a bitch and fight
Comin' out swingin' like Tiger Woods' wife"

from Ludacris on "My Chick Bad"
by Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quotables and Dedications

In which I select hip-hop prose that commemorates sport.

"I dedicate this to my n*ggas in New Orleans
Rockin black and gold stocking caps,

Fleur de lis Shockey hats."

from Jay Electronica on "Just Begun"
by Reflection Eternal feat. Talib Kweli, Jay Electronica, J. Cole and Mos Def

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Everybody Hates An Uppity Negro: How Tiger Woods Has United America

Tiger Woods' fame is more curse than gift these days. Recently his fame has grown beyond the daytime, prime time and late night confines of The Golf Channel, ESPN or similarly narrowly focused periodicals. He is the number one topic in the sports world, the news world and especially the gossip world. The most liberal critics of any strain of domestic violence and most conservative proponents of marriage chuckle at his situation. Tiger Woods has united all the races and all the viewpoints in humor and disdain. Because it seems, not everyone likes golf, but everybody hates an uppity Negro.

Turns out we were all lying in wait. Waiting for the takedown.

To be sure, Tiger initially caught the side-eye from Blacks when he famously went on The Oprah Winfrey Show and declared himself "cablinasian" (sic, if only because it's a fictitious word). If I went anywhere in this country and described myself as "caublindian" (technically accurate as it may be) people would fall out in laughter and indifference. And this is because, in the real world, I am a Black American. Some of us are mixed by circumstance, some by choice. But many of us are cabla-whatever, and don't relate to someone similarly situated going out of his way to distinguish himself, especially if done with even the slightest air of superiority. The President simultaneously boasts of diverse heritage and a wife who enjoys a hair relaxer from time to time. Such efforts to differntiate have become increasingly meaningless.

So, for the most part, Black journalists, pundits and others have been happy to sit on the sideline. Many of the Blacks not "fortunate" enough to be cablinasians have been happy to point the finger and laugh and laugh at Tiger's tribulation on Twitter, morning shows, water coolers, etc. Even the people frequently willing to strain the limits of intelligence to justify and qualify the most despicable acts of Black athletes (OJ Simpson, anybody?) have barely mustered a defense. Tiger deserved it after all.

The way its played out reveals that EVERYONE knew all along Tiger was a Negro. No wonder he got caught up in a Cadillac Escalade (yes, of course, it had nice rims). Despite his years long effort to go to Their schools, play Their sport and cater to Their press, Tiger couldn't command the actual loyalty of his neighbors, his peers in his sport or even his local Perkins waitress. The parade of people willing to knock Tiger down a peg is perhaps unprecedented for a person of Tiger's wealth and fame. But not for someone of Tiger's race.

On day umpteen of the Cheetah Woods news cycle, even I can see that this piling on of Tiger has been going on far too long. I concede it started with a routine AP story that was so full of holes it was hilarious. However, after we figured out that the story was more than a slow speed crash and a broken window, the story merely became a tale of adultery. Moreover, it's a very typical story of adultery and womanizing, especially as it concerns professional athletes. Alex Rodriguez is famous. He is a womanizer. He once had a wife. Yes, we laughed for a bit. But his story never got the international traction that Tiger's has. Shaquille O'Neal is married. He is an indisputable international superstar. His sloppy womanizing ways were exposed in a NY Times bestseller, testimony from his former teammate, and pages of e-mails and texts with other basketball players' significant others all summer long. Shaquille's philandering has barely gotten a mention in the mainstream press. Does Shaunie O'Neal suffer less than Elin Woods when she is cheated on? Does a Black woman not suffer when she is humiliated? Does a Black woman not deserve a check for spilling her story to a tabloid? At this point, I have to think Alex, Shaq and the like are free to live. Those that, perhaps, stay in their place and don't draw attention to themselves clamoring for inclusion in a world that's not theirs. I can't say that it definitely comes down to being of mixed heritage, having a same race wife or same race mistress or any combination thereof. But the inquiry has merit. Otherwise, someone in the American diaspora would have compassion for Tiger.

I hope this is settled now. Tiger is not wholesome. He is not perfect. Yes, Tiger Woods is famous and the higher they rise, the harder the fall. But, given the way things have transpired, we can never forget that Tiger is a Negro in America. Maybe Tiger actually will feel Negro when he assesses the recent media coverage of him. Perhaps he will feel Black if the Florida authorities decide to charge him with a DWI. Or maybe when his flaxen haired wife abruptly leaves him with their children along with her payout. Perhaps Tiger is uppity. But he is definitely a prick, universally defined. He mistreated his wife and his family. Tiger Woods has disappointed his public - White, Black, Indian and Asian. All along, Tiger has shown us that he is the type of man to hush his fans on the golf course and dispatch press releases if he feels bothered to communicate. So now Tiger is suffering because he can't be himself - uppity, Negro or otherwise. He is so insecure in himself that he can't even sit behind a plastic table, look into the camera and mutter an explanation that's not written by someone else. Maybe he is so detached from societal reality, he hasn't even figured out that he needs to do this. Tiger's situation has played out in such an an extraordinary manner because the American public appreciates genuosity. Tiger conveys none of that. The lesson in all this is to be authentic - whether Black or White. America has spoken.

You Can Find Me On Twitter

Hi. I just wanted to let anybody concerned that I am active on Twitter. My username is ltma.

Friday, May 01, 2009

An ode to Stephen A. Smith

Today is Stephen A. Smith's last day at ESPN. According to USA Today, Smith says it made him offers in recent months "for an additional year or two" which he says he turned down before ESPN said simply that it was not renewing his contract. He says he won't look for new work until his contract ends, when he hopes he'll face "a plethora of opportunities."

I recall fondly when my eardrums were first startled by Stephen A. It was on the insufferable NBA Tonight or whatever it was called back in the day featuring the already checked out Kevin Frazier and some other guys I can't remember. But that was the thing. Stephen stood out. He had shine from the jump. Not just because he was louder than Billy Mays promoting Orange-Glo, but because he knew his basketball (and sports in general, to be clear). And he was passionate. I could never hate on somebody who was just genuinely enthused to give his fellow sports fans informed analysis. Sure, my eardrums wanted him to shut the fuck up, but I never stopped listening. He always had something to say that was worth listening to. That's why I wanted him to stop yelling. It just wasn't necessary. His knowledge reverberated without the volume. But during the golden age of ESPN, you had to be loud to be heard over the likes of Sean Salisbury and Michael Irvin. Closed mouths don't get fed and it was survival of the loudest at ESPN.

Stephen always had his critics. NY Post columnist Phil Mushnick recently called "a self-promoting, race-based gasbag". In tribute, I presume. Mushnick claims Smith "was just dumped for being a self-promoting, self-aggrandizing, self-congratulatory, race-hustling, blowhard and sports know-nothing." Ironically, only a know-nothing would call Stephen A. a know-nothing. And Stephen A. has never been a race baiter. Instead he is open and proud about being a representative of a particular demographic. Smith's agenda was never a secret. I always found that honesty refreshing, you know, because I'm always willing to listen to different perspectives. And I definitely preferred Stephen A.'s alleged propaganda in contrast to the cornucopia of closeted racists that litter the ESPN stage and the at-large mainstream sports media.

It's too bad that ESPN is getting rid of all its edgier personalities. The channel is so bland now, I even miss Sean Salisbury. ESPN enraged and annoyed me oftentimes, but it at least it entertained me. Now there's very little must see programming on the channel and is barely informative beyond news I could get from the Associated Press. Smith was one of ESPN's last remaining true "personalities" and Smith's departure from the channel is an event worth marking. Stephen A. certainly left an impression. Not many job changes are evidenced by a column in USA Today, a jealous rant in the NY Post and numerous mentions around the blogosphere.

As Stephen A. moves on from ESPN, he reflects that "'finally people notice I don't scream nearly as much as I used to.' (That resulted from his mother Janet forcefully asking him to 'explain why you have to be so loud.')" Stop lying, bruh. You are still loud as hell. I have been startled many a morning since he started screaming at Skip Bayless on First Take. Nevertheless, Stephen A. has undoubtedly inspired rage, respect and comedy gold amongst his audience, often all at the same times. He's a bit triangle-headed and more than a bit loud, but I always respected and enjoyed Stephen A. Smith, even when it was too early in the morning for him to be yelling like that. I don't mean to eulogize like the brother is dead. He will be resurrected in a new and hopefully better venue. And I look forward to his next venture (fingers crossed for the TNT Inside the NBA desk). I'm sure he'll holla at us when he's ready for us to listen up again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fashion Round Up - Holiday Finery

Your favorite sports heroes were feeling particularly swaggerific for the holidays. And as 2008 closes, it's important to feel thankful for all the fashion blessings of the year passed. And let me offer tremendous gratitude to the man that inspired the reappearance of the world renowned Fashion Round-Up... the one and only Gilbert Arenas. And he's wearing an ascot! And he's serious!

I think Gilbert actually pulls this ascot off. It's so outrageous, it's fantastic! The key to pulling off any ridiculous element like an ascot is to keep the rest of the ensemble understated. And Gilbert does just that, pairing his unique snowflake patterned neck wear with a well tailored blue pinstriped suit. Honestly, Gilbert makes me swoon. I was so enthralled by Gil's ascot, I almost didn't notice Craig Sager's snowman tie. Almost. Sager rises every morning to defile the fashion gods of Brioni, Versace or whoever else he's wearing. You wouldn't believe it, but he spends a lot of money on his clothes.

It wouldn't be Christmas without a tacky sweater and let me present our model - Jared Allen.

Jared got his mullet all lined up and put on his finest holiday knitwear for an interview on the NFL Network. Yep, that's one of the toughest men in the NFL

Jillian Reynolds sports fuchsia ruffles and tights for the holidays.

And her shoes are only slightly stripperish. Tights and semi-dignified shoes? Jillian is not known for such restraint. Her priest must have been in the studio.

Pam Oliver chases the dragon.

Was it a good idea, Pam? I think you can do better.

Deion is a shell of his former fashion self since his nemesis, Michael Irvin, went off the air. But he makes an acceptable attempt to flaunt his holiday best with red pinstripes.

Tony Romo wears black in mourning of his promise as a strong leader and winning quarterback. That dream is dead now.

He should just save his sporty hat money and wear paper bags so he can cover his face in shame.

Is it just me, or does Stuart Scott have the testicular fortitude to sneak a fauxhawk past his employer?

He's supposed to be a professional!

Lebron got new shoes for Christmas (and a backscratcher).

Ugly. There's no denying it.

And Bryant Gumbel went green for the holiday sporting a Chia Pet haute couture original. His jacket is growing? Or sprouting maybe??? Or screaming, "Ch-ch-ch-chia?"

Just another instance of "When Designer Goes Wrong." Obviously, he and Sager have been drunk shopping together. Bryant had the nerve to call that jacket "festive" on the year end wrap up of Real Sports. I guess...

Happy New Year, everybody!