Apparently missing part of an NFL game brings out some people’s worst instincts, and the racial epithets that go with them.
President Obama addressed the nation earlier this evening, talking about how we as a nation can come to terms with the unspeakable tragedy that occurred in Connecticut on Friday. In order to carry this address, NBC pre-empted part of Sunday Night Football. The result was a cascade of virulently racist tweets from frustrated football fans, fans who evidently don’t think it enough to be annoyed at the pre-emption; no, they need to be incredibly, offensively, racist in the process. Only then can their irritation at the temporary delay of their viewing of a football game be adequately expressed.
Deadspin has a collection of the tweets, but be warned: the language used would make a Klan member blush. Don’t go there if you don’t want to read stuff that’d make P.W. Botha say “Dude… too racist.”
Reading these, I’m reminded of another outcry by football fans, back when Howard Cosell was on Monday Night Football and various fans took issue with his work. One memorable hate letter apparently spoke for many fans when it said “get that n—–r-loving Jew bastard Cosell off the air–football is an American game!”
It’s hardly restricted just to football fans, of course, but there has always been a strong element in this country that considers “American” to mean “white American”. Not even in a conscious way; most racism is ultimately based in unconscious, unexamined assumptions, stuff you imagine everyone thinks. That unnamed fan from the 70s probably couldn’t have explained the distinction he obviously perceived between Jews and Americans; it was just an instinctive sense that they’re two separate categories. If he’s alive today, he’s no doubt one of the many people who tell pollsters they just don’t think President Obama is an American.