It’s been days since Phil Mushnick’s infamous New York Post column suggesting the Brooklyn Nets be named “the New York N—ers.” And for every Charles Grodin that comes forward and pleads that Mushnick isn’t a racist, there are those that are saying otherwise.
People such as Kyle Bostic. He may not have the name recognition of a Charles Grodin, but he’s hoping that he could make a huge difference in this situation.
“I have been a reader of Mushnick for years,” Bostic writes via e-mail. “He is uncomfortable of anyone who doesn’t fit into a box as an athlete. He hates loud, boisterous athletes, and the music they usually listen to. So when I heard who it was and what was said, I wasn’t surprised, I was just saddened.”
Bostic also says he is a regular reader of Mushnick’s counterpart at the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman. “I understand their jobs are to critique,” but in the case of Mushnick and his “New York N—ers” diatribe, “he went above and beyond that.”
This led Bostic to create an online petition, calling for the Post to fire Mushnick “for a racist remark.”
The fact that it only received a few signatures after its first few days online is a testament to the fact that not everybody is aware of Mushnick’s ill-advised piece.
“It’s not a big enough controversy,” writes Bostic, suggesting that the volume is alarmingly low “due to the source of the news (i.e. the Post).”
“I am hoping my petition will bring awareness to not letting certain things go that are blatantly racist.”
Like myself, there are those who immediately recalled Don Imus’ “nappy headed ho” episode from five years ago, as soon as they read the Mushnick column from May 3.
“Imus,” says Bostic, “had a bigger platform. But can you imagine the uproar if Imus used the N-word to describe athletes?”
Indeed, compared to the Imus ordeal, which was broadcast over hundreds of radio stations as well as basic cable (MSNBC), Mushnick’s self-edited use of the N-word was restricted only to the confines of his newspaper, as well as nypost.com. Perhaps it was Don Imus having 1,000 times a household name than Phil Mushnick that led to widespread awareness of his fateful comments in 2007, which subsequently led to his termination from MSNBC and Westwood One Radio. But that’s not to say that far-from-famous newspaper columnists can’t get fired for writing something along those lines. In fact, it happened last month to John Derbyshire.
I bet even Charles Grodin is wondering who in the world John Derbyshire is.
Of course, thanks to the Internet and blogs such as this one, more people know who Phil Mushnick is. And because of this, Phil Mushnick is trying to spin things in his favor. In a recent message to James King of The Village Voice, he claims he’s “never comfortable” using that epithet. “That’s the way I was raised. Shame on my parents,” wrote Mushnick with a tone that King described as “sarcastic.” Mushnick also pleads that he only “spelled it out… for accuracy.
“So either way, I’m a bigot,” Mushnick contends.
Regardless, Kyle Bostic says Mushnick should know better.
“There is no reason to use that type of inflammatory language in a national publication, because no other group would be subject to that or let that slide.”
Bostic also admitted to me that he sensed “some anger” from Mushnick in penning that “New York N—ers” piece, “but I feel that it hasn’t fully formed” due to the current lukewarm nature of the controversy.
In addition, Bostic feels that Mushnick “uses Jay-Z’s hip-hop background as a crutch to hide behind. I think he dismisses hip-hop as a relevant form of music and entertainment, and that’s his way of lashing out.”
Charles Grodin claims that Mushnick is “a champion for equal rights and equal dignity for all, and he writes about this more than anyone I’ve ever read.”
By the way, Mushnick is now claiming that he’s the one that outed Marge Schott as a racist. Here’s his sorry self-defense as written to The Village Voice, verbatim: “One last fleeting thing, perhaps a defensive thing. Recall Marge Schott, the racist owner of the [Cincinnati] Reds who was infamously banned from baseball for her n-word – sorry, nigger – references to blacks? Know who publicly exposed her, leading to her expulsion? Ah, never mind. You already know me as a racist. Ever hear of McCarthyism? That’s you. Ready, fire, aim. Nice job.”
Careful, Phil. If you’re not careful, you might get “fired” from your “job.”
As I mentioned, it’s certainly possible. But if Mushnick remains a Post employee, Bostic says, “I would not be shocked.”
With his petition, though, it’s worth a shot.
Just like Phil Mushnick thought it was worth a shot to write an ethnic slur in a major newspaper and think he can get away with it.
Ready, fire, aim.