Looks like New York Post sports media columnist Phil Mushnick has really stepped in it this time.
While he takes his share of potshots at the likes of WFAN/New York afternoon host Mike Francesa or New York Yankees radio announcer John Sterling, he relishes any opportunity he can get to trash folks like Vince McMahon. Remember when the WWF/WWE honcho started up the XFL football league? Mushnick does – in fact, he still manages to make at least one reference to the XFL per year, even though the league has been defunct for around a decade or so.
So the New Jersey Nets are making the transition to Brooklyn, and rapper Jay-Z (real name: Shawn Carter) owns a portion of the team. Now, all of a sudden, with the team playing its last game in the Garden State and bound for Brooklyn, it’s like the XFL all over again to Mushnick.
“As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots,” he wrote in his column today, “why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N—ers? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B–ches or Hoes.”
Yes, the offensive words were edited in the column. But it’s beside the point. When you’ve got as long a track record as you have – thirty years as a sports media columnist and close to four total decades of service at the Post – at a family newspaper, such language, edited or not, should not be expected.
There was once another person with decades of service that experienced a similar miscue: Don Imus. Remember when he was reviewing video of the Rutgers women’s basketball team and he referred to them as “rough girls” and “nappy headed hoes”?
This was worse: What Imus said was a slap in the face to African-American women. Mushnick’s words managed to mock the entire African-American race.
And by commenting on the outrage via BobsBlitz.com, Mushnick, in my view, manages to dig himself into an even deeper hole.
“Jay-Z… Is he the only NBA owner allowed to call black men N—ers?”, he wrote to Bob. Apparently, in making a judgment on Jay-Z in his column, he decided to do so in the character of Jay-Z. What it does is make him look out of touch.
“Jay-Z profits from the worst and most sustaining self-enslaving stereotypes of black-American culture and I’M the racist?”
You know what, Phil? Yes, you are. In fact, by referring to the race as “black-American” as opposed to the more common “African-American” characterization, just a few words prior to your declaration that you’re not a racist, that makes you look like, well, a racist.
And he had the nerve to refer to those incensed by his column as “ignorant.”
“The New York N—ers.” But we’re the ignorant ones?
And there was another offense in that anti-Jay-Z passage of his Friday column: No sooner than he finishes his dream of a “New York N—ers” NBA team with “a 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath” as the team logo, he published not one, but two reader comments.
On the surface, incorporating reader feedback into a column is harmless. But it’s a crutch that Mushnick has leaned on for the better part of his three decades as a sports media columnist at the Post.
You wonder if he didn’t receive any emails about the Brooklyn Nets’ new jersey colors, that he would have never had written the offensive passage in the first place.
“‘I guess I won’t need my color TV anymore now that the Nets will be wearing black and white,’ writes reader John Lynch. And reader David Distefano now wonders…”
You know what, Phil? When we read journalists’ columns, we read them for their thoughts. Not for others’. If I wanted to read what other people thought about a columnist’s take, I would go straight to the comments section on the Internet version of the column.
Mushnick once denied being associated with a fake Twitter account associated with his likeness, writing that his daughter has yet to teach him how to “cut and paste.” This from a columnist who has had no problem cutting and pasting other people’s thoughts into his column for years and years. Now that’s lazy journalism.
So in posting Mushnick’s non-apology for his disparaging Jay-Z comments, Bob’s Blitz has “been told that Post editors did not have any issue with the topic and that there will be no further comment.”
Whoever green-lighted that gem that was published in Friday’s post should be out on his or her ass, pronto. Perhaps they missed the uproar that arose when a New York Post cartoonist depicted a monkey being shot to death, with a person in the same cartoon saying, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill?” A cartoon that – rightly so – ticked off Post employees?
I’d like to know what the vibe is at 1211 Avenue of the Americas today. I wonder if any colleagues of Mushnick dared to tell him that his comments about Jay-Z didn’t sit right with them. And I equally wonder if Mushnick brushed those concerns off as “ignorant.”
There has to be many African-Americans employed at the Post. Why, one of them, George Willis, just happens to be a sports columnist, whose works are usually located in the sports section along with those of other columnists – like Mushnick.
“I don’t call black men the N-word,” Mushnick explained to Bob’s Blitz. “I don’t regard young women as bitches and whores.”
I don’t care what his defense is: what Phil Mushnick wrote today is akin to Phil Mushnick calling George Willis “the N-word.” And for that, he should be held accountable.
At the very least, if Mushnick doesn’t go, perhaps the Nets, as one editor suggests, should “pull the New York Post’s press privileges.”
In a normal-functioning workplace, any employees who used offensive language toward others would be reprimanded, or even terminated. But the Post “did not have any issue” with this one.
Theft is something else that can get a person fired. Yet, the Post apparently has “no issue” with paying Phil Mushnick in full, while he continuously outsources bits and pieces of his column to “readers.” Unless these “readers” are also on the Post payroll, this would be considered stealing money from your employer.
Hopefully, the New York Post comes to their senses and shows this clown the door. We all remember the fallout over the Imus “nappy headed ho” thing. I have a feeling it’s just getting started with the Mushnick “New York N—ers” issue.
Maybe Vince McMahon will be on hand when Phil Mushnick’s cleaning out his desk.