Friday, March 02, 2007

White is Right?

This quote by San Francisco head coach, Mike Nolan, was buried in an article in the San Jose Mercury News in an article about the potential replacement of Antonio Bryant, who is currently serving a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

"It's not about the money. It's more about us adding good football players. We want the same kind of guy in free agency as we're looking for in the draft. That's first and foremost a guy that can play the game well, and secondly somebody that's got great character and fits in with what we're doing. But if you go with the second one first you're just going to end up with a LILY-WHITE team that doesn't beat anybody."

(emphasis added)

And, per chance, what the hell does he mean by that? If I still understand the English language, I think that he means that if you value character most of all, you will almost surely end up surrounded by White people. I guess there's no consideration for known nice guy Black players like Warrick Dunn, LaDanian Tomlinson or Tiki Barber. Violent savages like Bill Romanowski and baby daddies Brian Urlacher, Matt Leinart and Tom Brady would certainly be filling up all the roster spots.

Mike Nolan might not be a racist, but he says racist things. It just goes to show you that perceptions and stereotypes still rule the day.

Update: Apparently the 49ers have deleted the quote from their press conference transcript. Whether it's an innocent expression or a racist slip of the tongue, I guess the 49ers aren't willing to take the chance to give more ammunition to the story. Via the Fanhouse.
(Thanks to D-Wil for the find.)


Gangsta D said...

Nah, I don't think that's what he meant. It may have come across that way. I just think he meant he doesn't want a bunch of choir boys with no talent on his squad. I think it's innocuous.

The HCIC said...

It's certainly possible that he meant in the figurative sense, but he shouldn't have said it like that. Why couldn't he use your term, "choir boys" or even "squeaky clean." It's his responsibility to be thoughtful in his comments. I'm not saying "off with his head", but he's got to work on that.

Gangsta D said...

I'll email Whilock and get his take on it:) j/k

Adam said...

My interpretation was similar to "yellow" or "bunch of pussies". Of course, I'm a white dude, so I may be somewhat less cognitive of these kind of slights. In fact, far be it from me to disagree with someone who has Mickie James in their profile photo. I concede to your ability to sexily beat the shit out of me.

The HCIC said...

The 49ers would probably also delete "bunch of pussies" from the transcript too.

BTW, that's Kristal and Layla in the avatar. Know your Divas!

JJ said...

OH my goodness. It never ceases to amaze me how folk can find every reason but the obvious when people say RACIST SHIT!

He meant what she said he meant. PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

Adam said...

I'm very disappointed in myself to the extent that I was unable to identify Kristal. She gives me happy pants very often. Aside from that, and in light of the deletion, that's some pretty fucked up shit. My guess, though, is that Mike Nolan wants a team that is "deceptively fast". Who, with a modicum of awareness, can begrudge him that goal?

Rico said...

If you still understand the English language, you would know Lily-white has multiple meanings. It means either "good character" OR "exclusively white people." If you just quoted the last sentence alone, then, yeah, that would be much more dubious and open to debate, but in the context of the entire quote, he's obviously referring to the "good character" definition. This blog is just trying to stir up senseless contoversy.

DP said...

Go on...make excuses.

Mike Nolan FUCKED UP.

Apparently Nate Clements doesnt mind.

But I do.

Lilly White is Lilly White.

I have NEVER heard anyone classify PEOPLE in that way WITHOUT referring to their lack of melanin.

More to the point. I don't give a DAMN what he MEANT, anymore than I gave a damn when Tim Hardaway said he hates gays.

HE SAID what he EFFIN SAID. and if he's not smart enough to know better than that...he deserves what he gets.

I will be waiting for Mr. Nolan's apology.

And his "yeah, aight, whatever, man" will be ready and waiting.

See, shit like this is what makes me wanna blog. But why should I blog when you can do it for me.

The HCIC said...

Ah, yes, of course he would prefer "deceptively fast" players. And if he's lucky, he can round out the roster with some "well spoken" guys.

JJ said...

Rico do u actually believe that shit you're spewing?

Gimmie a break. A fucking two year old could glean what the dude meant...hell what he SAID...bump meant.

It's AMAZING how folk do acrobatics to justify how the man didn't MEAN what he SAID.

MCBias said...

I've read this site for a while and respect you and your opinions, LtMA. But I think you are wrong this time. Instead of using your own guess as to what the word might mean, look up the word somewhere.

Take, one of the first google responses. Based on the context, he's definitely more likely to have meant lily-white as in "blameless" rather than lily-white as in "not black." "Leave the man alone", leave the man alone already. :-p

The HCIC said...

I understand that "lily white" can mean different things. However, I never use "lily white" to refer to someone's character, maybe because I know it can be misunderstood. There are plenty of other words in the English language that convey the same thing.

That said, I'm going to stick to my first impression. I think he was making potentially referencing race given that the question was about Antonio Bryant. But that said, I'm not lumping him in the same category as Michael Richards or anything. He should probably just invest in a thesaurus.

But I appreciate everybody's input :)

The Rover said...

I don't think he was referring to race. But I think it's pretty stupid to use that word in that context. He wouldn't have used the word "niggardly", either, right?

Sometimes I don't think I want anybody in sports to talk anymore.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...


Regardless of his intentions, it was imprudent of Nolan to use the term "lily white" when discussing character issues involving a Negro player. It was just stupid.

However, we can't agree more with him that a team that is "lily white" (and here, we use the definition "not black"...just so there is no confusion) would not win.

So, from our stance. He was being honest with how he felt about things. And he was right that a team of whiteboys would be a doormat for the rest of the league.

MCBias said...

Sorry to be kind of usurping your job of commenting on the comments, hcic, but the rover has summed up my sentiments much better than I originally did. "Sometimes I don't think I want anybody in sports to talk anymore", indeed. We may have been better off in the days where fans didn't know anything about star athletes except their penchant for "Wheaties" or what not.

And NOIS's point brings up something I somehow skimmed through the first time; Bryant is black. I thus dismissed your (hcic's) argument too quickly. So...I was a tad brusque in saying "look it up", my apologies.

Pacifist Viking said...

I've heard people use "lily white" to refer to a community filled entirely with white people, and I have heard people use it to sinlessness. I believe he meant the latter--the context suggests the "sinlessness" interpretation because he's talking about character. It makes more sense to interpret it as "we'll have a bunch of sinless players but lose games" than "we'll have a lot of white players but lose games."

Then again, our associations of white with sinlessness/purity and black with evil have some root in medieval literature like The Song of Roland and such, where the (dark) Muslims were evil and the (white) Europeans were good. The line may not reflect an implicit racism in Nolan, but an implicit racism in the English language.

Mini Me said...

I'm not exactly sure how to interpret this, however if the 49ers deleted the quote then they obviously felt it could have been interpreted in a negative manner.

Phillip said...

i like racist stuff; it really brings my inner hitler out
then hitler and i
dance and dance
then i shoot
myself; bang,
i'm dead...