ESPN has suspended
sports analyst Bob Griese for one week for making an offensive remark about a Colombian NASCAR driver. Griese made the gaffe on Saturday, when a graphic was shown listing some of NASCAR's best drivers. Surveying the list, Griese's partner asked where rising hotshot Juan Pablo Montoya was. Griese laughed, "out having a taco." The football
hall of famer has since apologized twice
. While the ESPN decision has won praise from many quarters, others are calling the suspension an over-reaction. Most pundits, regardless of stance, rightly note that Colombians don't
even eat tacos.
- In Need of a Culinary Education, writes Teresa Puente, editor of Latina Voices: "Guess what Bob? They don't
eat tacos in Colombia... Maybe he can spend that time reading up on Colombian food. But it
doesn't excuse his comment. ESPN should also require him to get some
sensitivity training. You
can't lump all Latinos together and generalize about us. We're not all
taco eating, Spanish-speaking, salsa-dancing immigrants...For the record, in Colombia one of the popular
foods is an arepa, a sort of cornmeal pancake. I'm sure you know tacos
are Mexican food."
- Off With His Head! feigns David Kahane
at National Review: "When it comes to our compadres and comrades south
of the border, joking is never allowed... Can you imagine — I
mean, they don't even have tacos in Colombia, where Montoya's from! You
start with taco jokes and the next thing you know we're on the slippery
slope to the Frito Bandito, Señor Wences, Jose Jimenez, and former
attorney general Alberto Gonzales. Naturally, Griese groveled and
apologized for his reflexive racism once it was pointed out to him, but
the damage was done, and those norte Americanos who persist
in conflating everybody from ciudad Juarez to Tierra del Fuego were at
once reinforced in their vicious, hurtful cultural stereotypes. ¡No pasarán!"
- Hold the Hyperbole, writes Jay Busbee at Yahoo! Sports: "It was a dumb joke, but it was also a race-oriented one, which gets
people very up in arms these days, as you may have heard. Don't shoot
me; that's the way the world is these days. Everybody's more sensitive
than a drunken Irishman with a broken heart. (I'm part Irish, so I can
say that.) Griese's comment was in the same neighborhood as golfer
Fuzzy Zoeller's Masters line about Tiger Woods ("tell him not to serve fried chicken") -- thoughtless but not an instant indicator of evil, blackhearted racism."
- Well, I Guess ESPN Made the Right Decision, concedes an ambivalent Jay Busbee: "Still, ESPN had to take some action, and thus suspended Griese for
one game for his comment. Fair enough; that seems appropriate. Though
it fell to Montoya to give the perfect capper to the whole affair: 'Somebody
mentioned it to me," he said. 'I don't really care, to tell you the
truth. Yeah, I don't. I could say I spent the last three hours eating
tacos, but I was actually driving a car.'"
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
jhudson at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.