TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2023
Her presentation struck us as strange: Karen Attiah is a good, decent person. At present, she's a columnist for the Washington Post. She has served in other important capacities for the Washington Post in the past.
Last Friday, she wrote a piece about the terrible medical emergency which occurred during last Monday night's NFL game. At the start of her presentation, she conveyed the good news which had emerged about Damar Hamlin's remarkable recovery:
ATTIAH (1/6/23): I had all intention of starting 2023 on a softer, easeful note. Alas, for the first full week of the year, I’ve been consumed with thinking about violence, extreme sports and what it means to risk body and limb for the sake of competitive glory. (As an Aries rising, I can’t help it—testing limits is in my astrological DNA.)
Earlier this week, the world was reminded of the deadly perils of America’s favorite gladiator sport. During the Monday-night football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Bills, collapsed after tackling another player. He’d gone into cardiac arrest. Medics rushed onto the field and performed CPR for an agonizing nine minutes, managing to revive his heartbeat before rushing him to the hospital. As of this writing, Hamlin was off his ventilator and speaking with teammates; doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said he was showing signs of a “remarkable” recovery.
Just this once, we'll be honest. We find it surprising when major columnists explain their work by referring to the influence of their astrological sign.
That said, we found one aspect of Attiah's presentation to be even stranger than that. We refer to the ways Attiah went on to describe the attitudes—and the demographics—of the NFL's fan base:
ATTIAH: Considering that nearly 70 percent of the NFL’s players are Black, the Hamlin episode is a reminder that almost every weekend, Americans tune in to watch mostly Black men bash into one another for the profit of White team owners. This is also a league that once denied financial support to retired Black players suffering from play-related cognitive deficits—by claiming that Black players had lower mental capabilities to begin with. The NFL had to be sued to change its ways.
When I wrote on social media about this, I was told, by mostly White commenters, “not to bring race” into a discussion about the NFL—that what Hamlin needed was “thoughts and prayers” and “unity.”
I disagree. It doesn’t do Hamlin or any other NFL player any good to ignore the dark side of this sport...In fact, not talking about race and the racial dynamics in the NFL only placates the consciences of the large White conservative fan base, people who simply want to enjoy their Sunday nachos while watching players risk brain damage.
We find such flippant work to be deeply depressing. That said, it's very typical of the kind of air which routinely emerges from our blue tribe on matters related to race.
Has Attiah given an accurate account of the reason why "Americans" watch NFL games? Is it accurate to say that "Americans tune in to watch mostly Black men bash into one another for the profit of White team owners?" Is that why so many people tune in to watch those games?
A second question would be this:
We're sure it's true that the NFL has a "large White conservative fan base." That said, is it sensible to say that such people "simply want to enjoy their Sunday nachos while watching players risk brain damage?"
Also, is it only white conservatives who spend their Sundays that way? Or do the NFL's many black and liberal fans enjoy their Sunday nachos in that manner too?
(Also, can you see why our wonderfully flippant blue tribe is loathed by so many people?)
Attiah is a good, decent person. That said, our vastly self-impressed blue tribe is also vastly flawed—for example, in the otherizing we sometimes bring to our treatment of such topics.
Should the Washington Post have published that work? Does anyone at such blue tribe publications even wonder or care about such questions any more?