Thursday, April 18, 2013

8 comments Mark Cuban Says Brittney Griner Could Play in the NBA and Jemele Hill Somehow Takes Offense to This

I'm pretty sure JemeHill (I combine her first and last name because it is fun to type it that way) could take any compliment given to a person and turn it into an insult. Mark Cuban had the audacity to say Brittney Griner could play in the NBA or that he would think about drafting her. To add insult to injury, it appears Cuban was entirely serious. I say "to add insult to injury" because this comment by Mark Cuban offers a false promise that is setting back women, women's sports, the WNBA, and most likely the world's chances to avoid a nuclear war with North Korea in the mind of JemeHill. JemeHill is very offended by Cuban's comment. She is offended out of proportion for how much she should be offended. She thinks Mark Cuban is saying Griner needs to play men's sports to legitimize herself, when he was simply saying she is a great basketball player and he would think about drafting her. It's easy to take offense to something when you seemingly look for things that piss you off and skew the intended meaning of other otherwise innocent statements.

I have no doubt that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was sincere when he said he would draft Brittney Griner, or at the very least, perhaps invite her to play for Dallas' summer league team in Las Vegas.

But it was an offensive thing to say! How dare Mark Cuban give out compliments!

I wonder if JemeHill would have liked it better if Cuban had stated women had no business playing in the NBA? My guess is if that happened we would get a column from her stating women could play in the NBA and that Mark Cuban was wrong to suggest Griner couldn't make it in the NBA. You can't win sometimes.

But unfortunately that's not how Griner responded. Instead, she tweeted to Cuban: "I would hold my own! Lets do it."

I can't believe Brittney Griner is willing to demean herself by taking Cuban up on an invitation to play in the NBA. Just when you think women's athletics can't be set back any further something like this happens. 

My problem with Cuban's offer has nothing to do with whether I believe Griner can play with men. The gap in physical strength would be a huge issue for her, 

Right, but it is still nice for Mark Cuban to Tweet that he wouldn't mind Griner playing for the Mavericks. It's not going to happen, but it is a nice compliment. Only a demented person could find a way to take offense to this offer.

just as her quickness and array of post moves might be an issue for some of the men she would play.

We have talked about women playing basketball against men before. No, Brittney Griner would not be too quick for the men that would guard her in the post. If Griner has good moves, it would be offset by the fact she is going to struggle to get position in the post due to the gap in physical strength that JemeHill just mentioned.

I would imagine that Griner already has spent a good deal of her career playing against boys and men recreationally. But how she could fit in the NBA isn't really the point.

No, it really is the point. Mark Cuban said Griner could play in the NBA. Griner said, "Let's do it." JemeHill wrote a column about how this offer to play in the NBA offers a false promise to Griner. The entire discussion and this entire article is about how she would fit in the NBA. I don't see how anyone can believe this article is/should be about anything else.

What I don't like about Cuban's comments is that it perpetuates the dangerous idea that great female athletes need to validate themselves by competing against men.

Well it's not about how Griner fits in the NBA when JemeHill decides to take a comment and blow it up into something bigger than it really is. Mark Cuban's comment doesn't perpetuate the "dangerous" idea female athletes need to validate themselves competing against men. It says Griner has validated her skills against women and Cuban thinks she is good enough to play against men, despite the gap in physical strength and because of the post moves JemeHill just mentioned. Notice how JemeHill immediately evaluates Griner's ability to play in the NBA and then decides this evaluation (that she herself just made) is "dangerous." It's a compliment that Mark Cuban was paying Griner. Just take it as that.

This season, Griner was the best college player in women's or men's hoops.

In JemeHill's opinion it is "dangerous" to try and evaluate Griner against men, but this is the second time in this fairly short column JemeHill has compared Griner to men's basketball players. So apparently this is a dangerous comparison, unless JemeHill would like to make this comparison, in which case the comparison only goes to show how great Brittney Griner is at playing basketball.

Griner doesn't have anything to prove. But because of Cuban's interest in her, it's opened the door for people to talk more about what Griner can't do, rather than appreciate what she can.

But what I don't get is why JemeHill is criticizing this discussion people have about what Griner can't do even though SHE HERSELF JUST TALKED ABOUT WHAT GRINER CAN'T DO! JemeHill said:

My problem with Cuban's offer has nothing to do with whether I believe Griner can play with men. The gap in physical strength would be a huge issue for her, 

No one is forcing JemeHill to make this comparison, she is choosing to do so on her own free will. Mark Cuban's comment doesn't highlight what Griner can't do, but highlights how good of a women's basketball player Griner is.

Once Cuban's comments spread, it was open season on Griner. She's too slow to play with men. She isn't physical enough. She doesn't have the athleticism.

But these are comments JemeHill just made herself. She is essentially citing her own reaction to Cuban's comment as an example of how some will make it open season on Griner. JemeHill's own reaction and comments about Griner are the very comments JemeHill finds troubling. She basically finds herself "dangerous" for making these comments.

I've come to believe JemeHill doesn't have a ton of talent. She has to take offense, change the subject or talk around an issue in order to be able to write a column. Even once she takes offense, she still can't help but create a problem that doesn't exist or cite her own opinion as the only supporting evidence for her column.

Everything she accomplished is being measured against professional male players, and that simply isn't fair.

The reason she is being compared to NBA players is because she has been so dominant in college. Considering (in my opinion) no women's basketball player could thrive in the NBA, it is a compliment to even suggest Griner could. It doesn't take away from Griner's accomplishments. Plus, JemeHill herself is the one not being fair to Griner and comparing her to NBA players. She does it in this very article.

As the WNBA draft approaches, the conversation should be about how Griner's college stardom can translate to professional success, and perhaps boost the WNBA to another level in popularity. 

Good luck with that. I don't know if Griner has the ability to pull in people to the WNBA who haven't ordinarily watched women's basketball.

This Griner situation reminds me of how, every so often, people would wonder whether former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt should coach men.

This seems like an interesting topic of conversation. There have also been people who wondered if Coach K could coach NBA players. Simply by wondering if Coach K could coach NBA players over a full season doesn't mean he has to validate himself by coaching these players? No, of course not. How good of a women's basketball coach would Phil Jackson have been? I think he would have been a better women's basketball coach than a men's basketball coach, but that's just my opinion. Me wondering how good Phil Jackson would have been at UConn coaching women basketball players doesn't mean Jackson needs to validate himself by coaching women.

I don't doubt that Summit could do it, but I reject the idea that Summit needed to coach men to legitimize what anyone with common sense already knew -- that the woman can coach.

JemeHill can be such a pain in the ass sometimes. Simply asking if Coach Summit could coach men (and no one says she "should" coach men, it's always if she "could" coach men) isn't saying she has to coach men to legitimize herself. This is another example of JemeHill creating an fake argument that she can dispel in order to better prove her point. She does this quite frequently. JemeHill will make up a point of view that few or no people hold, then will rebut that argument in a column and believe she proved something. She will write something like, "The idea LeBron isn't the best forward on the Heat roster is ridiculous," and then start to disprove this argument few or no people are making.

I would not compare Griner playing in the NBA to Danica Patrick competing against men in NASCAR. For one, NASCAR is one of the few sports men and women can compete with one another without strength or stature being an issue.

Only someone who hasn't ever watched a NASCAR race would make this statement and believe it to be true. Being a NASCAR driver takes conditioning and strength. The difference in men and women's bodies can be seen in this sport. There's a reason Dale Earnhardt Jr. claims part of his resurgence is a better dedication to conditioning and getting in shape.

The only things that matter in NASCAR are reaction time, endurance and, of course, the car.

I don't like NASCAR, but this is a very simplistic way to look at it. It's like saying the only things that matter in basketball is being athletic and being able to shoot. 

But having not won a race in NASCAR and having barely won anything as an IndyCar driver, she has invited criticism about whether she's good enough. Madison Avenue loves her, but can she win? 

And why has she barely won anything? Is it because she isn't very good or the fact she is a tiny person gives her a small disadvantage when driving against men? I'm asking, because apparently JemeHill is a NASCAR expert and claims there is no disadvantage to a woman driving a race car as compared to a man driving a race car.

But as we saw with Patrick, there is a lot of pressure that comes with competing in a male-dominated sport. And while Griner dealt with high expectations at Baylor because the team looked practically unbeatable, vying for a spot on an NBA team would bring scrutiny unlike anything she experienced in college. 

And of course the insinuation Griner could handle this scrutiny is a huge insult to Griner, women, and women's sports.

From Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs to Patrick versus the pack, there has always been an infatuation with women who compete against men.

And an infatuation with men who compete against women. It can go both ways.

In 1979, Ann Meyers signed a contract with the Pacers and tried out for the team. Even though she didn't make an NBA roster, her efforts to play in the NBA never damaged her credibility.

So history says if Brittney Griner tried out for an NBA roster then her credibility would not be damaged, but somehow JemeHill thinks it is different 34 years later when society and the NBA is possibly more accepting of a women's ability to play basketball.

That's not how it would work today.

This is not a statement of fact simply because you hold yourself in high esteem and make this statement. This is purely an opinion.

If Griner flirted with the NBA and failed, it would do a lot more damage. There would be an obsession with her successes and failures. Every missed and made shot would be replayed repeatedly on TV and throughout social media.

I don't know if it would do any real damage. It would simply reinforce what some people already believe, that an elite women's basketball player can't compete with elite men's basketball players. Maybe that's JemeHill's biggest fear, the confirmation that elite women can't compete with elite men in basketball. I don't see it as the end of the world. Men's college basketball teams can't compete with NBA teams and I don't think that takes anything away from the men's college basketball game. We saw a woman fail at kicking at the NFL Combine recently and it hasn't destroyed women's sports, so perhaps we would see Griner struggle and simply move on with our lives.

One of the greatest players in women's college basketball history would risk being relegated to being the punch line of far too many jokes.

I already joke about her even before she has played one game against men. (Mean comments to follow) I'm not entirely convinced Brittney Griner isn't a guy. She has kind of a deep voice and I'm not passing up the idea she could just be a really girly-looking guy. I don't say this because I enjoy being mean to women athletes or because she is good at basketball, but because she has kind of a deep voice and I'm not entirely convinced she doesn't have a different set of chromosomes from other women basketball players. If a male basketball player had a high-pitched voice I would wonder if he wasn't really a girl. It's fun to be mean like this.

Or worse, considered a failure.

I don't think she would be considered a failure. Ann Meyers wasn't considered a failure 34 years ago and I really believe the more progressive attitude towards women sports means Brittney wouldn't be seen as a failure just like Ann Meyers wasn't seen as a failure.

There is no question that Griner could gain much more exposure if she, say, decided to play in a few summer league games. But the NBA doesn't need any more marketing help. The WNBA, however, desperately needs more players and personalities like Griner. 

This is a completely different argument. Whether the NBA or the WNBA needs more marketing help is irrelevant and has nothing to do with whether Cuban's statement that Brittney Griner could try out for the Mavericks is a false promise or not. Let's stick to the subject at hand and not try to distract the audience from your weak argument.

Too many people already treat Griner like a freak because of her size.

It's not her size that gets me. It's her voice. That's a very different voice for a female. I don't think she is a freak, but I can't help but notice her voice isn't very lady-like. I always love it when a writer says something like "too many people" and then doesn't cite a single piece of evidence or a statement by these "people" to support this argument. It's like they are hoping by just making a blanket statement everyone will assume the statement is factual.

The last thing she should want is for the NBA to use her as a sideshow. 

I'm sorry, what was this article about again? Wasn't this article supposed to be about how Mark Cuban's comment made it seem like Brittney Griner had to legitimize herself by playing in the NBA? What ever happened to that argument (as weak as it was)? The column ended with JemeHill saying people think Brittney Griner is a freak and then saying the NBA shouldn't use her as a sideshow. So just remember girls (girl? who I am kidding, no girls read this blog), if someone tells you that you could play in the NBA then don't dare take this as a compliment because that is a huge insult to you and everyone thinks you are a freak. 


koleslaw said...

JemeHill (hey, that *is* fun to type) is the worst. I can't even come up with a response to this. I challenge her to write an interesting article that isn't based on stirring up shit that no one cares about but her.

The only way I could respect her less as a journalist would be if she wrote something like "Top twenty times womens' sports were held back by THE MAN" for Bleacher Report.

Bengoodfella said...

Koleslaw, so apparently Britney Griner announced she was a lesbian today. I have great timing this week.

JemeHill is just easier to write. I would change my name to that if I were her. I would read that BR article and then post it on this blog.

jacktotherack said...

just as her quickness and array of post moves might be an issue for some of the men she would play.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ESPN actually employs someone willing to type that sentence.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, I know. I could see where perhaps her post moves could get her to score a few times, but after that I'm not sure an NBA power forward/center is going to have difficulty guarding her.

JemeHill just needs to let a compliment ride and not make a bigger deal out of Cuban's comment.

jacktotherack said...

This season, Griner was the best college player in women's or men's hoops.

Wow I didn't make it that far after reading her other complete horseshit. She was the most dominant player in women's basketball, that can't be disputed. Saying she is the best player in men or women's basketball is completely fucking ludicrous.

I don't care how dominant Griner is against women, she isn't quick, explosive, or strong in comparison to any men's player. I'm an Illinois basketball fan. Illinois had a 5th year senior transfer named Sam McLaurin. He was a perfectly adequete back-up post player. He would drop 50 on Griner any day of the week.

I love Mark Cuban, but clearly he was completely talking out his ass when he said he would draft Griner. It was him stirring shit like he always does. It's what I like about him.

waffleboy said...

Wow JemeHill is a grafuate of the Skip Bayless school of journalism, huh? She worked herself into a full blown snit with almost no input from the outside world. Not many people can do that, so good job on you JemeHill!
Now if JemeHill had said no player in men's or women's college hoops had the impact of Griner, she would have made a pretty sound argument, but seeing as being an editor at ESPN is one of the great no show jobs of our times, JemeHill went right to oh-I-don't-think-so-ville by saying that Griner was the best player period. Which as everyone has pointed out when Mark Cuban says Griner is a great player, it's a weird backhanded compliment that is setting women's sports back decade. but when JemeHill pulls some crazy out of her hoo-haa it's just a simple fact.
If Ms Griner could create shots for her teammates like Magic, then hell yeah she could play with anybody, if you're telling me someone who is 6'8" and from what I've been reading weighs 208 pounds is going to go into the low block and not only score, but block shots? No, I don't see that happening regardless of gender.
Still, that some quality crazy from JemeHill

Anonymous said...

"No thank you world! I don't need your silly National League to validate myself! The Negro Leagues are more than enough!"

said Jackie Robinson FUCKING NEVER.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, you win. That's fantastic.

I can see JemeHill writing this column in 1947 saying that exact thing.