Opinion

Commentary: A black athlete and racial hypocrisy

There's a backup tight end for the Dallas Cowboys who is doing everything he can possibly do to invite self-promotional controversy.

He started his own "television" network on the Internet and uses the platform to stir up trouble. Early this year, the Cowboys fined him $22,000 after he recorded a rap song/video that used multiple derogatory terms to describe black people and gay people.

Now, in the past week, he debuted a video showcasing the "Black Olympics," a Kool-Aid-, fried chicken- and watermelon-eating contest between himself and his brother, a rookie free agent with the Seattle Seahawks.

His name is Martellus Bennett. He's just 22. He's black. He played at Texas A&M. He's accomplished next to nothing in his brief NFL career. He is best known for buffoonery on YouTube's Marty B TV.

For the most part, Martellus Bennett is harmless.

I am not easily offended. Perhaps it's my size and affinity for food, but I take virtually no offense to good-naturedly delivered jokes about food stereotypes. Everybody I know — black or white — loves properly seasoned fried chicken. Watermelon is extremely healthy and very tasty. And it wasn't until I was in my 30s that I kicked my Kool-Aid habit.

When people e-mailed me on Friday asking what I thought of Bennett's "Black Olympics," I didn't know what to think.

I wasn't offended. I was sad. I grew even sadder throughout Friday and Saturday as it became apparent to me that Bennett's grab for controversy was being ignored.

I've reluctantly made peace with the fact that black comedians and rappers can make millions of dollars shouting the N-word and lampooning/promoting negative black stereotypes.

If Barack Obama made use of the N-word a death-penalty offense, commercial rap music would disappear and nearly every black comedian would have to rewrite their material. My point is I understand the economic impact of outlawing our (black) self-hate.

What I don't understand is when and why it became OK for a black athlete to milk the same cow.

To read the complete column, visit www.kansascity.com.

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