Skip to comments.ESPN's Berman: "Feets Don't Fail Me Now"
Posted on 12/31/2005 5:11:20 PM PST by governsleastgovernsbest
by Mark Finkelstein
December 31, 2005 - 19:48.
When a few years ago Rush Limbaugh suggested that the media, hoping for a black-quarterback success story, had over-rated Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, ESPN fired him from its Sunday night football show.
Can you imagine what the media would have done to Rush had he dared to employ the classically racial "feets don't fail me now" line?
Yet that is exactly what major ESPN personality Chris Berman did a few minutes ago in introducing coverage of this afternoon's Denver Broncos game.
He apparently said it vis a vis white Denver Broncos QB Jake Plummer.
Berman's co-host, black former Denver linebacker Tom Jackson, gave what seemed a rather forced laugh in response.
Odds that Berman, who has described himself as a "New England Democrat," will face any discipline? Slim, IMO.
Bill Murray: "Larry Bird isn't white. He's clear."
If an older person says a certain expression is offensive, take his word for it. He might have witnessed things that you might find hard to imagine.
Reminds me of Howard Cosell, and how he got a little bit of flack (that's all that would happen back then), when he commented about a Redskins player on Monday Night Football....."Look at that little monkey run!"
Simply by quoting Flip Wilson's famous line, does that make one a racist?
Good grief, what mountains out of molehills!
What a boring thread--feets don't fail me now, I'm outa' here!
I've seen too many of your posts to think you're a yuppie. That's why I knew I could kid you about it. Berman is past it, though. The "cute names for players" gag got old about five years ago.
Thanks, RK. And let us never forget what Berman has described as perhaps his all-time favorite:
Bert "Be Home" Blyleven.
Oh, I understood the meaning for the article and the post, my only point is, some people go out of their way to be offended..
No it isn't
Stepin Fetchit (1902 - 1985)
I agree with you. A prime example of that type of casting can be found in old Shirly Temple movies. I forget the name of the man and woman but a black couple is talking and spelling words so Shirly can't hear and they mispell them badly. In truth both of the actors had college degrees but the best parts they could get were of menials and servants, always subservient to whites( I am white BTW). The blacks of the time had their own movie makers and while they would play in white films and be cast as servants, they would play the main charcters and heros in the black films. It was a racist time, no doubt.
I tell my dog to "Go and Fetch It."
A number of people on the thread have accused me of making a mountain out of a molehill, of trying to stir up racial animosities, of being over-sensitive, etc.
With all due respect, they ENTIRELY miss my point.
I was NOT, repeat, NOT accusing Berman of racism.
I was simply pointing out the double-standard. Berman, a self-described "New England Democrat," will almost surely skate on this.
If Rush Limbaugh had used the same line, I believe the MSM would have nailed him on it. Do you disagree? That was my only point!
The racial sensitivities are the MSM's: not mine!
As the original poster, please understand that the point of my thread was not that I was offended by Berman's statement. I was merely making the point that if Rush had said it, the MSM would have claimed to have been offended and would have nailed him on it, whereas I believe they will let the liberal Berman off the hook.
Already corrected, but thanks again.
"Feets don't fail me now' has nothing to do with racism. We can ALL smile hearing it spoken.
Please answer this question: if Rush Limbaugh had used the phrase "feets don't fail me now," do you think he would have been taken to task by the PC liberal media?
Yes or no?
I totally agree ... if Rush had said it. But he didn't.
By your description, Berman is a democrat, so nothing will happen, whatever his intent.
Do you think the PC liberal media would have smiled on Rush if he had used the phrase? That was the sole point of my post.
Fred Sanford: Larry Byrd isn't white. He's a black man "passing".
Please have another look at my original thread. The entire point was the double standard: Berman probably skates because he's a liberal. Rush would have been nailed for saying the same thing.
My apologies for not reading further before posting.
...But it's a good picture of Stepin Fetchit.
When did he defend Rush? He didn't do it on the air! He'll get away with this because he's liberal. He and the rest of espn can kiss my .........
Berman is close to my age. I'm sure he knows the phrase best in the same way I do. And I'm also sure he is not a racist or bigot.
The salient point being made here is the double standard at work. If a known conservative had made the same remark, likewise in an innocent way, he would be excoriated in the media. There would be calls by "civil rights" groups for the guy to be suspended or fired.
(BTW, I never heard of that album from the 1970s, which apparently was playing on the '30s-'40s expression. I didn't listen to that band.)
But I've used the phrase many times in my life and never thought I was making fun of black people. So I'm not passing judgement on Berman.
Yes or no?
On his own radio show: No, probably not--no more than anything else he says there. Rush is however certainly a "person of interest" to the Hypersensitivity Police so they can be depended on to grasp at any straw to make him out to look like a racist.
Look, Rush is a political commentator, not a sports commentator. That's what he is, and that's how he's perceived by pretty much everybody, regardless of whether or not his gig is on EIB or ESPN. Things that sports commentators say are judged by a somewhat different and more lax standard than what political commentators say. Anyone who is the least little bit surprised by that is gravely naive.
What I don't understand is why Newsbusters (and by extension we at FR) have joined the Hypersensitivity Police by taking offense at the a) the phrase in the first place; b) the phrase used in the context it was, AND c) somehow linking it to "What Would Rush Do."
Silly, all the way around.
I understand that. Any conservative would have been reprimanded for saying this and would have been forced to give a public apology if he wanted to keep his job.
We all know that.
But it didn't happen. And it won't happen--unless somebody has an axe to grind with Berman.
As Rush would say: "This is a 'what-if'. I don't deal in 'what-ifs'.
I'm not passing judgment on Berman either, but I don't doubt that, given the phrase's history, many people continue to find it offensive.
If Berman yells out, "The sherrif is a-ne'er", then ping me.
according to the "Behind the Scenes" sportscenter show they do once a year, Berman's been at his gag for way more than 12 years. closer to 20, actually. He mentions starting it in the mid-80s.
Sounds like we largely agree. Still, I have a feeling Rush might find this story interesting, and it wouldn't surprise me if he mentions it on his show this week.
I think I heard Buckwheat say it on The Little Rascals. Maybe not. No question it had a racial origin, however.
That would have been Alvin Garrett, and the "little bit of flack" he got resulted in his resigning from Monday Night Football.
I'm 43 years old and I never realized that this phrase was once considered racist. Then again, I never got the "Sambo" thing either.
It's been a good forty years now since racism was a major force in our society. I think it's time we all just learned to get over it.
Absolutely. I was just disagreeing with you on one point.
Happy New Year :)
Regardless, we can all agree that Berman sucks.
Oh yes. Definitely.
This has turned out to be one of the more interesting threads I've ever posted.
I took it for granted that everyone was familiar with the racial background of the phrase, but - largely due to age differences - that obviously isn't true.
Also, many people accused me of being PC, or overly sensitive on racial matters, whereas my only point was that the MSM has a double-standard and would have surely nailed Rush for using the phrase, whereas Berman, a liberal, is likely to get off scott free.
Even so, I predict we won't hear Berman use the phrase again any time soon!
We have a winner!
I remember as a kid (prior to PC) watching a movie where Stepin Fetchit was scared and wanted to get away quickly and used the phrase, "Feets, don't fails me now!"
Wasnt it Charlie Brown? Number 87?
Are you familiar with the phrase's background?
Do you believe Rush Limbaugh could say "feets don't fail me now" and not have the MSM come down on him?
Thanks for your support ;-)
"Cosell drew criticism during one Monday Night Football telecast in September, 1983, for calling a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins, Alvin Garrett, a "little monkey." Cosell left Monday Night Football shortly before the start of the 1984 NFL season, claiming that the NFL had "become a stagnant bore." His duties were greatly reduced to just baseball, horse racing, and a sports news program called Sportsbeat."
Thanks for the correction, I could have sworn it was Down Town Charlie Brown. On a similar note, wasnt Jimmy the Greek's demise similar?
Moreland played Charlie Chan's chauffer in several movies, and he would use that line when trying to solve the crime with Son #2, when they'd get stuck where they shouldn't be with the bad guys coming. It was the comic back-story to many of the Chan films.
It's ironic that the Fox Movie Channel wanted to do a Charlie Chan film festival a few years ago, but were forced to abandon the idea when Asian groups complained about stereotyping.