Why Shannon Sharpe Is ‘Undisputed’

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The Colin Kaepernick conversation parade continued last week when it became virtually a daily discussion topic on FS1’s new sports talk show, Undisputed. The show is comprised of former Espn First Take’s television personality and Award-winning journalist, Skip Bayless, NFL Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl champion, Shannon Sharpe and moderator (*cough* Molly Qerim look-a-like) Joy Taylor.  Although the show has received some criticisms from naysayers like Skip’s former Espn colleague Dan Le Batard, calling the show “First Fake”, Undisputed has managed to pick up steam by tackling one of America’s most contentious topics surrounding the matters of race. In one of the commercials I’ve seen for the show, Bayless promises that he will “unleash” and be “unfiltered”, when in fact it’s actually been his opponent Sharpe who’s been doing all of the unleashing lately. Understand, when it comes to the Kaepernick protest, what it did was unveil what many black folks already knew what was there—white racism.  It exposed the “One of my best friends is black”, nonsense some white folks regurgitate because how dare this Negro show contempt towards those who fought for his freedom? Even though Colin made it perfectly clear that he was protesting about police brutality and oppression against people of color; still, the only thing his detractors focused on was the so-called desecration of the American flag and the countless veterans who’d fought for this country. Like black folks haven’t fought for this country though, right? Now enter Shannon Sharpe to properly articulate from the black perspective and essentially shutdown the talking points that most other black sports commentators—Stephen A. and Jason Whitlock—has either danced around or straight up referred to it as “gestures”.

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In a poignant segment held on Wednesday last week, Sharpe touched on comments made by Clemson’s head football Dabo Swinney, by calling his remarks “antiquated” and just because we have blacks as ceo’s, millionaire’s, and the nation’s first black president, just because certain ones are celebrated, what about the ones who are looked down upon? As the conversation furthered, Sharpe cogently explains when dealing with the police, both should be treated equally:

“This is what I ask Skip: If a police officer were to pull you and I over on different occasions, and he walks to your car and asks for your driver’s license, proof of insurance, registration; I would expect him to walk to my car—not with his hand on his gun—and ask me in the same polite manner. And if you ask him a question and he answer it; I would like to ask him a question and him not tell me to shut my ____ mouth…

Later on in the program, Swinney’s comments were broached again by another guest, college football analyst Joel Klatt. Like so many others, Klatt brought up the good ol’ veteran speech due his father serving in World War II. Klatt also made it a point that he found what Seattle did by joining arms to be more “acceptable” versus what Kaepernick originally did because he didn’t know what he was doing. Sharpe, however, wasn’t fooled by Klatt’s obvious hypocrisy (which deserved a stern side eye btw) and continued to dissect into the college analyst argument by bringing up his privilege; his white privilege. Klatt briefly interrupted Sharpe by saying “we view this entire situation through very individual lenses,” because frankly in Klatt’s (and many other white folks who think like him) opinion, the flag is reserved for all things heroic, patriotic, and white American values, only. To this, Sharpe addressed Klatt’s remarks:

“You view it through the lens of being a white male [Klatt agreed] that has never had an amendment, an act, or a constitution amended for your civil rights. You never had a white man had fair housing (?). You never had to say, ‘you know what, you can’t go [Joel Klatt] to that place because you’re a white male.’ You never had that…But I tell you what, I bet you Jerry Jones would not trade places with a 75-year old black man in Chicago or Detroit. I bet Joel Klatt would not trade places with a 30-year old black guy from Chicago or Watts; I bet he wouldn’t do that. You know why? Because it’s great to know that I’m white and I’m a male in America; and I’m viewed totally different than any other demographic—in America. That’s fact. That’s not fiction…that’s not a prism. That’s factual.”

I must admit it’s very refreshing to see an intelligent brother on television being able to speak his mind so fluidly and not have to settle being the typical Negro who has to (and gets used to) buck dance around white folks. Unlike other social issues, the problem of race is as Max Kellerman stated this country’s “original sin”, so to see it discussed openly and poignantly, was exceptionally powerful.  Undisputed may have originally pinned in some people’s minds as powerhouse, popular, sportswriter going one-on-one with some former fill-in sports jock. Well make no mistake about it, Undisputed might be Bayless’ show but after the first few weeks, Sharpe has not only handled his own when matching wits with Skip, he has also established himself as riveting and knowledgeable commentator that is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t act like you didn’t notice Joel’s face during that debate though. One word: Sal-ty!

If I had only one wish like Ray J I wish there were more Sharpe’s in sports talk media; but that won’t likely happen. It makes me wonder with FS1 being a Fox station which normally only deals with racial issues from a conservative, right-wing angle, would allow Sharpe to speak more from a liberal perspective. Because we all know there exist that counter group who’s indifferent towards Sharpe’s passionate views; and that he’s making excuses for “lazy black folks”. Even though they would purposely ignore when Shannon mentioned several times that he “judges people individually”, they will still bring up why he didn’t mention black on black crime like Ray Lewis, who also appeared on the show. Nevertheless, the show was about (I repeat) police brutality and the oppression people of color (mainly black folk) have faced in this country—not about black on black crime. Maybe one day as a black community we can all protest the niggerish behavior that takes place in our hoods. Only problem with that is the Negroes who complain about it the most, or use it to impress the white conservatives they emulate, would actually have to come back to these “hoods”. Now why you wanna go and do that? Grace and Peace y’all!

 

 

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