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NBC Writer Uses 'Jackie Robinson' as Synonym for 'Monkey', Probably Getting Fired

Aug 12, 2008 – 5:00 PM
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Will Brinson

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I don't know this for a fact, but I think that golf writer Dan O'Neill (if that is your real name, Wanny) has probably written his last column for NBC. Why do I think that?

Well, Dan, in an attempt to discuss Sergio Garcia's on-course struggles kind of glanced at the proverbial line, started running, jumped over it and landed about 100 yards past said stripe.

See, O'Neil was attempting to draw a parallel between Garcia and Phil Mickelson. Lefty needed 42 majors played before he won one. Sergio just choked his way through played in number 41. And, well, let's let O'Neill take it from there (emphasis mine, and a tip of the cap to Mrs. Stradley for the find):
You remember the No. 42. That was the number of majors Phil Mickelson played in before he won the 2004 Masters. That's the amount of frustration, heartbreak and second-guessing "Lefty" endured before he got that Jackie Robinson off his back.
Now, technically, Jackie Robinson is a number 42. However, when you're discussing someone's inability to achieve something, you don't say, "Man, glad to finally get that 42 off my back!" You say "Whew! Glad that monkey is finally off my back."

Which means that, yes, unfortunately, Dan (and whoever the hell edited this column), you just made "Jackie Robinson" a synonym for "monkey". Which would probably be fine if the latter wasn't a term frequently used by people with bigoted predispositions.

Racism's not cool or acceptable in any form, even if it's unintentional, but when it's published on a major media outlet's website for millions of people to see, it becomes really, really ignorant. And when it involves golf -- a sport that is traditionally perceived as a one-toned athletic event (thanks for that, Fuzzy) -- it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

So people, writers, editors: stop using language that could be racially charged. It's not necessary to the context, it makes people angry and in the end, people lose their jobs. Not saying ignore it, just use your brain.
Filed under: Sports

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