What would village idiots do without villages?
It remains an underplayed, perversely comical episode at the junction of sports and their unyielding devotion to combine with the lowest forms of rap music, as if one can no longer exist without the other.
Thus in October 2019, the University of Kansas apologized for inviting often-arrested, N-wording, women-objectifying pornographer Snoop Dogg, of late a Roger Goodell-approved invite to “entertain” at the Super Bowl — the latest in a selection of Goodell’s Greatest Gutter Halftime Hits — to kick off the school’s basketball season.
At a KU in-arena rally for the men’s and women’s teams, Mr. Dogg, as if essential to the night’s purpose, performed his stock-in-trade: vulgar music and crotch-aimed skits, including strip club-borrowed pole dancing, also featured and performed — as per NFL invite — by Jennifer Lopez at Super Bowl LIV in February 2020, except Mr. Dogg’s KU show included a make-it-rain money shower.
Then KU had to pretend to be distressed and surprised that Mr. Dogg did what he does. Athletic director Jeff Long expressed his revulsion at what anyone with a partial clue would have known to expect:
“We apologize to anyone who was offended by the Snoop Dogg performance. … We made it clear to the entertainer’s managers that we expected a clean version of the show and took additional steps to communicate to our fans, including moving the artist to the final act of the evening, to ensure that no basketball activities would be missed if anyone did not want to stay for his show.
“I take full responsibility for not thoroughly vetting all the details of the performance and offer my personal apology to those who were offended. We strive to create a family atmosphere at Kansas and fell short of that this evening.”
From the movie, “Who Knew?” Snoop Dogg’s shows don’t include clean versions.
In 2017, the NHL, appealing to the low and desensitized, had Mr. Dogg perform at its All-Star festivities. Naturally, he put on a vulgarity-filled show. The NHL, as the NHL does, pretended it didn’t occur. NBCSN apologized for the NHL’s lack of discretion.
So last week, there was an apology from the ESPN Manning Brothers for inviting and indulging the steady mumble of profanities that casually spilled from guest star Marshawn Lynch during their “alternative” “Monday Night Football” show.
Lynch clearly didn’t care that he was on live national TV. He was being true to his classless character — the one that brought him fame, acclaim, honors and emulation for grabbing his crotch as he scored touchdowns.
ESPN didn’t warn them away from Lynch? Stupid question. ESPN selectively covets such attention. The Mannings had no idea? Grown men, they could have stopped Lynch with his first crudity, but they didn’t. They waited until Lynch was done and gone.
So we’re again moved to ask: “Where are we going?” “Why are we headed there?” and “What’s the upside?” Why must we always be headed down, even while our sports and their TV networks continue campaigns imploring us to treat one another with greater respect and dignity, especially as they relate to race?
Lynch is an NFL version of Snoop Dogg, parlaying rank public anti-social behavior into successful business. (See: Snoop Dogg commercial endorsement deals, now including endless Corona beer ads).
His crotch-grabbing career — the NFL Store sold a framed photo collage that included one of him in the act — which included misdemeanor pleas after a DUI arrest and another for illegal possession of a gun, was quickly followed by starring roles in Subway sandwich ads and an appointment by the NFLPA as its “first-ever chief brand ambassador.”
Gee, wonder who finished second to Lynch in the NFLPA’s selection?
In 2020, Princeton’s senior class invited Lynch to be its Class Day speaker, citing his “sustained professional excellence” to fulfill “our goal … to invite a speaker who embodies the various experiences we have shared as a community during our Princeton tenure; someone whose professional and personal passions speak to the service-focused and intellectually rigorous interests core to the University.”
Yes, all Princeton grads should aspire to the bar set so high by Marshawn Lynch, who the senior class’ invite emphasized is a social activist and role model.
COVID-19 put an end to that wishful, nauseating con. But it’s all a con, many more to come.
Does commish enjoy NBA’s 3-for-all?
I’d have liked to sit beside NBA commissioner Adam Silver Wednesday when the Grizzlies played at the Trail Blazers, a 116-96 win for the home team.
That way we could have watched together as the losers attempted 50 — that’s right, 50 — 3-pointers. That way I could have asked Silver if he enjoys such a game, thinks customers got their money’s worth, feels the NBA has sacrificed genuine, competitive basketball — once an all-in, full-throttle team sport — to walk-it-up, bombs-away, redundant gimmickry?
And I’d ask how much longer he feels the NBA can sustain such a product.
Ninety-six shots by Memphis, 50 of them 3s. What else is on?
Quote of the Week: After Pittsburgh’s win over Clemson on Oct. 23, ESPN’s Molly McGrath asked QB Kenny Pickett one of those sideline reporter questions: “What does this win mean to the Pitt program?”
“It won’t mean anything,” he replied, “unless we handle business the next couple of weeks.”
Reader Richard T. Monahan: “Gotta love John Smoltz. Only he can give you a complete analysis of a foul ball.”
Channel 4 last week showed a fellow working out while wearing a T-shirt that read “Guerilla Fitness.” ESPN and The New York Times, in this case, did not join to have him fired as a racist, as they did with ESPN tennis analyst Doug Adler.
I’m with LeBron James. I wasn’t wild about the final episode of “Squid Game,” either. But the reckless racial activist and kids’ movie star couldn’t publicly make that point without throwing in the F-word? Why would such a public figure choose to be so publicly vulgar?
PETA wants to rename “bullpen” because it’s an insult to bulls? Fine. First, how about renaming chicken coop to something more, say, socialist and egalitarian, say “chicken co-op”?
Sahl had fearless humor
Please indulge a personal tribute:
Comedian and satirist Mort Sahl died last week at 94. In my early teens I was drawn to Sahl as both funny and for his fair-play political sarcasm. He went after everyone with winks and smiles more pointed than vicious. He taught that there was enough blame to go around. Still is.
A few years ago I made sure to attend one of his last solo standup shows in Manhattan. Even on the fade he was funny. Then, I fulfilled a wish to meet him, visiting him after the show.
Sahl once referenced Wernher von Braun, one of Adolf Hitler’s top “secret weapon” men, who changed the tide of World War II for the Nazis in late 1944 with his indiscriminately murderous, slave labor-made V-2 terror rockets. Mostly aimed at England, they killed thousands of civilians.
At the end of the war, von Braun was secreted to the U.S. where he became a leading rocketry man for NASA.
Sahl noted that von Braun’s self-serving, facts-fudged autobiographical film was titled, “I Aim for the Stars,” then added his own subtitle, “But Sometimes I Hit London.”