Charlie Ward Memorial Award for Knicks-Related Semitism

While you were hopefully watching this mudmatch , a story has transpired that involves Micheal Ray "The ship be sinking" Richardson being suspended from coaching the CBA's Albany Patroons for making weird Jewish comments and (apparently in an unrelated incident) calling a fan a "faggot."

First of all, why is calling someone a faggot to 2007 what sports hernias were to 2006 and what plantar fasciitis was to 2005. IT'S EVERYWHERE. Second, let's check those Jew-related comments really quickly:

"I've got big-time lawyers," Richardson said, according to the Times Union. "I've got big-time Jew lawyers."

When told by the reporters that the comment could be offensive to people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, he responded with, "Are you kidding me? They are. They've got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They're real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they've got to be crafty."

And he continued, "They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?" he said. "Which I think is great. I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."

As Brown Recluse notes, if anything this sounds like PRO-semitism. Another article has Richardson's boasting that his second wife and his daughter are both Jewish. Not to mention the guy indicates that he's been to Tel Aviv, a pilgrimmage that not even I (with Birthright $$$ at my disposal) have made. Furthermore, his hated = crafty reasoning is straight out of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 34, ANYONE???).

It is my decision, thus, that a suspension is unwarranted for the Jew comments (I'll leave the f-word comments for the rest of you to discuss).


At 3/28/2007 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Bethlehem?

At 3/28/2007 11:33 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

I call bullshit. Real philosemites don't use words like 'crafty'. They also say "Jewish lawyers," not "Jew lawyers". Language matters. If you use the language of anti-semites, even to make what are largely philosemitic remarks, you skate into a dangerous area. You can easily reinforce nasty, harmful stereotypes.

I'd be willing to admit that the guy's more an idiot anti-semite than a dangerous anti-semite, but I won't budge any further.

At 3/28/2007 11:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'm solidly with the good doctor on this one. i also don't think it takes a genius to see how this differs from

a) charlie ward and allen houston, who didn't get that they were surrounded by jews every day in nyc

b) jim jones, who only seems to think of "jewish lawyer" as "one excellent at lawyering."

the real villians here will be the honky columnists, who will try and pit one minority against another in an attempt to keep the revolution from happening. for real, they're trying to stick it to the jews who run the papers and stations by pretending to stand up for them. fuck that.

At 3/28/2007 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Lisa Lamponelli bit.

At 3/28/2007 11:43 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

while i am thrilled that aaron read my mind and showed up (i almost publicly demanded his presence), his comment makes it impossible to pass mine off as earnest.

so let me offer another angle: maybe this is in fact the most complex NBARS entry to date, and what's being ignored is exactly what richardson, a black man, meant by "crafty." i.e. is it as much of a put-down in his vernacular as it would be coming from the mouth of bob ryan?


it's hilarious how much richardon thinks he's saying something positive. those quotes positively beam.

At 3/28/2007 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joey from Straight Bangin' addressed some of this recently, right?


If we're going to mix semitics with semantics, let's do it. The choice between "Jew" and "Jewish" has always been debated. Some would say that calling yourself "___-ish" is more of a descriptive, roundabout adjective, whereas JEW is an identifying NOUN.

I think the problem here is that he doesn't provide statistics, but rather relies on anecdotal stuff. Plus, the context seems shady.

The F word stuff is disgusting.

I should get back to reading my law books. (Birthright in August!).

At 3/28/2007 11:56 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

I was scared off for a while by seeing someone else post as aaron. I have to figure out some way to protect my name (maybe i should actually get a blogger account?) But I had to reply to this post.

Almost as soon as I posted my reply, I started rethinking it. I think my first paragraph is too critical of Richardson. Shoals is right that he really, really seems to think he's complimenting Jews. So I think I'm going to repudiate my first paragraph and just stick with the idea that he's more of an idiot antisemite than an dangerous antisemite. Which is definitely a difference, but I'm not sure exactly how big a difference it is.

Do we make a distinction between a person too stupid to realize he's insulting blacks (Michael Scott on The Office) and a person who hates blacks? They're both racist, aren't they?

At 3/29/2007 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Richardson play ball in Israel? I was in Haifa in 2000 and I remember they were screening "Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray?" at the Haifa International Film Festival. He was supposed to appear but I'm not sure if he did or not -- James Worthy was also supposed to be there but pulled out because the intifada had just started up in Oct. and all sorts of international guests cancelled their plans.

verification:unpcx (needs no decoding)

At 3/29/2007 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron, it probably depends on the context and the stakes. An athlete saying some bonehead (unintentionally) racist shit is not as scary as someone with corporate, political, or legal power saying the same thing.

I used to express nothing but outrage about stupid racist, sexist, homophobic comments, but I've come to appreciate the humor in them. The fact that these speakers are so oblivious, so lacking in decorum and common sense that they think they're providing compliments is as funny as it is disturbing.

Straight up slurs are too visceral, but Reggie White's racial musings, the comment of Coach Fisher Deberry (and Larry Cochell) trying to praise a black player by saying that he "has no nigger in him," even Jimmy the Greek's remarks--pure gold.

At 3/29/2007 7:43 AM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

is that last picture across the street from the hotel where michael ray was hiding out during one of his coke binges when he was on the knicks?

if not whats the significance?

At 3/29/2007 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Motherfucking Harold Hunter!!!! My man! Now THAT, Shoals, is an awesome picture. From someone whose first first love was skateboarding, that photo is a welcome sight here at FD.

Thanks for that one, Shoals.

At 3/29/2007 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah and - "Legends Never Die" baby! (too bad HH did).

At 3/29/2007 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could not agree more.

Is “crafty” really an insult? This nutjob thinks Jews have a alot of power and run this country, and “it is not a bad thing” and “nothing is wrong with it.”

Other than dumb stereotyping, I fail to see any hate or malace in his comments.

At 3/29/2007 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, that suspension seems to be a bit much. especially because, from his comments, it doesn't seem like he's necessarily on some "jews are naturally born sneaky." he says they're hated all over the world, and have to be "crafty" to survive. that nugget kind of takes the original comment away from eugenics and towards an equation of logic. to richardson.
and, shit, even after spending an hour last week talking to students about why "positive" stereotypes are still harmful, i can see that they often stem more from lack of knowledge than malice. i don't think sport should be in the business of punishing earnest ignorance. and it's also worth considering what sort of professional contact richardson has actually had with jewish people. i don't really doubt that his comments match his experiences.

that dude from kids got chunky.

At 3/29/2007 10:59 AM, Blogger Gladhands said...

Richardson's comments about Jewish lawyers aren't that different from freedarko's fetishization of black athletes. Sure, Richardson's language is more coarse, but it's probably not a good idea to assume that he's some naive simpleton. What he is, is a privelidge athlete from a different generation.

In keeping with my “real talk” theme; Harold Hunter was a tremendous dirtbag.

At 3/29/2007 11:01 AM, Blogger josh said...

i was at that mudmatch, and it was not so much something you'd want to watch. the arena was like a tomb last night.

and after seeing him play in person, it is apparent that adam morrison sucks and plays at a level that can best be described as "lethargic."

At 3/29/2007 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think gladhands hit the nail on the head... to me, it's clear that richardson has simlpy fetishized jewish people (i would say "jews" but now i feel self-conscious), much in the same way this site fetishizes black "style" and black ball players. the main difference is that richardson is clearly not good with words.

i would also agree that, while such fetishization is not necessarily a bad thing, it can have negative side effects. i.e., it's not good to think of jews as "crafty" because it could lead to mis-trust, scapegoating, etc. on the other hand, one could easily argue it's not good to harp on black "style," because it could lead one to ignore black intelligence, work ethic, and fundamentals... actually, this is what happens in sports all the time!

i also Paper Tiger's assertion that his stereotype seems born out of faulty logic rather than hate. while it's still bad, i don't think it's as bad as an irrational stereotype, because the latter is much harder to correct.

in any case, he should certainly be disciplined so he knows that it's not cool to verbalize his admiration for jewish people in this manner, in light of overwhelming historical context...

nothing wrong with demanding that public figures be politically correct in my book.

At 3/29/2007 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: Richerdson is pitiable, but the context was that he felt he was being treated unfairly, and being,in effect, tricked into signing an agreement which would cheat him .

He was threatening to retaliate by engaging legal representation for himself of the same quality to which he perceived himself to have been subjected, that is -- legal counsel who do not act in good faith, who decieve as a general negoatiation strategy , and are thus generally unethical.

He stated the ethnic group with which he most associates such unethical conduct in legal practice.

The commentators who transmute this into an intended complementary statement of the prowess of attorneys of a certain heritage are not helping Richardson, or race relations. They also demean the contribution to legal practice, at it highest aspirational level, that cultural grounding has facilitated.
( This latter remark, of course, includes celebrated African Amercian trial lawyers.)

At 3/29/2007 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He was threatening to retaliate by engaging legal representation for himself of the same quality to which he perceived himself to have been subjected, that is -- legal counsel who do not act in good faith, who decieve as a general negoatiation strategy , and are thus generally unethical. He stated the ethnic group with which he most associates such unethical conduct in legal practice."

Do you have some further context to support this?

Mightn't he simply have been attempting to say, in essence, "You can't put one over on me--I've got *very good* lawyers"?

At 3/29/2007 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onto Richardson and away from Harold Hunter:

I have, for years wondered why young Jewish people, if they are seriously interested in exploding myths and seriously aiding race relations, don't begin with the words "semite and "semitic."

I wonder why you all continue to use those words in the context of anything other than to explain the origins of certain language. And I wonder how "Jews" or those practicing Judaism became a "race" of people rather than a religious group or, at most, an "ethnic" group.

I really feel that if young cats who are Jewish began, in earnest, to explode those two myths, the effects would be felt throughout the world.

At 3/29/2007 3:11 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

"one could easily argue it's not good to harp on black 'style,' because it could lead one to ignore black intelligence, work ethic, and fundamentals."

you could argue it, but you'd look stupid. there are a lot of misinterpretations of things written on freedarko, but this is probably one of the worst. why would you think that "black style" does not emcompass "black intelligence, work ethic, and fundamentals"?

shoals wrote recently: "Work, when intelligently and appropriately applied, seeks to make itself invisible." that's competitive style in a nutshell. notice that it does not ignore intelligence or work ethic, but rather explicitly shows how they contribute to "black style".

At 3/29/2007 3:13 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

at the risk of pissing off everyone, i like "semitic" because it's patently ridiculous, "jew" because it sounds derogatory. i am really into thinking that jews are an exotic people who genetically and geographically separate from all other whites. that said, i have zero interest in zionism because it's a practice of self-normalization.

to everyone who says we fetishize black athletes, THIS IS HOW I SEE MY OWN BACKGROUND.

At 3/29/2007 3:15 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

oh yeah, and a people who are still hated all over the world. i think i've already gotten in a fight with aaron over my diaspora-as-negative-motivator delusions.

At 3/29/2007 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you remind me of Ralph Schoenmann (to all those who may not know, that's a compliment)....

hmmm, missed that argument w/ aron 9unless it was private to begin with, then I missed nada).... The fetishizing mirror is difficult to pull off with unknown heads critiquing each word written....

anyway, thanks again for the HH photo.

At 3/29/2007 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

STOP THE PRESSES, there are jew lawyers????

*****he is talking like the reporters had no idea that there were actually jews in professional and ownership positions, and he was breaking a huge story. So, it seems rather harmlessly stupid to me.

At 3/29/2007 5:24 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Am I the only one who is puzzled by the fact that "Jew" is considered a derogatory term while "Jews" is seemingly not considered to be derogatory? For those who might argue that the plural is also thought of as derogatory, can you explain why when people discuss the Holocaust, the phrase "six million Jews" is almost always used? Surely it's not an attempt to slur the dead, is it?

Related imagery: http://tinyurl.com/23raxq

WV: syrqu - Melo's college license plate?

At 3/29/2007 5:29 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i don't have an answer, but it seems to me that this is always the case with ethnic categories.

At 3/30/2007 11:32 AM, Blogger BreadCity said...

I agree that there was nothing "anti-semitic" (I also hate that word) about Ray's comments. I am 100% Jewish, and I am actually kind of mad ESPN (the corniest, whitest network ever) takes it upon themselves to decide what is and what isn't offensive. (Why is that ESPN enjoys labeling black men as racists so much?)


In response to the Jew/Jews question "Wild Yams" posed: It is usually considered derogatory to call someone "Jew," because the correct term is Jewish.

Check it out in action: Calling someone a "Jew Bastard" implies that he or she is a bastard BECAUSE he or she is a Jew. BUT calling someone a "Jewish Bastard" means that they are simply a bastard who happens to be Jewish.

Get the difference?

At 3/30/2007 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s too bad I’m not an athlete, for I would LOVE to hear what folks think about the following paragraph of fact:

“The Bible is a book of violence being done under the auspices of a self-righteous, overly sensitive prick who commits genocide if a woman so much as looks in a ‘forbidden’ direction. It is a book that clearly equates homosexuals with child diddlers and considers them to be an “abomination.” It commands that children love a “father,” and thus is against single mothers who clearly do a better, more efficient, job of parenting. It has certain weird fetishes against shellfish and menustration, and are thus clearly out of touch with today’s diets and psychoanalysis. And the passages that justify slavery need no explanation.”

These statements are proven FACT, no matter how you interpret them. So, when should I expect to lose my job? For there is no way I’m offering any lame “apology”J

At 3/30/2007 3:30 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Offseason said - In response to the Jew/Jews question "Wild Yams" posed: It is usually considered derogatory to call someone "Jew," because the correct term is Jewish.

This wasn't what I was asking. I'm well aware of why "Jew" is considered derogatory. My question was why once you pluralize it it seems to no longer be offensive? After all, "niggers" is just as offensive as the singular form of the word.

At 3/30/2007 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just keep your mouth shut and call Levy

At 3/30/2007 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yams: Jew isn't offensive in the singular when used as a noun. When used as an adjective it's typically offensive, because like Offseason said, the adjective form is Jewish. When you say "Jew lawyer" or "Jew doctor" you're invoking a rhetoric of anti-semitism, even if personally you have nothing against Jews. Of course, this is not to say that talking about a "Jewish lawyer" can't also be offensive, but it's not inherently offensive.

That's the thing with this Richardson business. Richardson clearly has no anxiety about Jewish domination. But he's using language which trips off warning flags for Jews who have been training themselves for fifty years to be off at the first sign of trouble. Since the Holocaust, a major motivator for Jewish identity has been the notion that even an assimilated Jew is not safe from persecution. Not even the totally secular Jewish lawyer who would disown his daughter if she lit candles on Friday night considers himself safe from anti-semitic attacks.

I know people who have a big problem with the ADL for this reason. The ADL challenges even the stupidest things that can be tenuously linked to anti-semitism. Does it weaken their credibility? Maybe. But I feel like it's pretty important for Jews' sense of security in America that we have such an organization in place. I don't know if non-Jews can understand the kind of paranoia Jews have about the results of anti-semitism. Because really, a national sense of paranoia is what it's all about.

Do I think Richardson hates Jews? Not at all. But he trips off my anti-semite detectors, even if he clearly does it completely out of ignorance of the significance of Jewish paranoia.


Post a Comment

<< Home