When you’re in a conservative city on the border of the South and the Midwest, and that city has not one but two significant college basketball programs chock full of recruits from around the country, there are bound to be cultural conflicts between the city’s traditional base and the teams that are now a significant part of the city itself. That’s exactly what’s happening in Cincinnati, and the results are getting ugly. The latest proof? Conservative radio host Bill Cunningham opined this morning that University of Cincinnati basketball players are, “poppin’ those things (illegitimate children) out like cherry pits out of one’s mouth.”
He really said it, folks - we’re not making this kind of bigoted trash up, as you can see and hear at this FAN NATION post. In fact, the entirety of Cunningham’s quote was a lot more inflammatory than that. Here it is, though you might want to brace yourself to hear every rash, racist “player” stereotype that can get thrown out about African-American athletes. You can also hear it in a video clip right after the jump. Ready? OK, here we go:
“How many illegitimate children does the UC men’s basketball team have? I heard it’s more than a half dozen.” Cunningham responded to himself, ignoring his producer’s conciliatory reply. “So there’s some hangin’ and bangin’ going on at the Shoemaker Center after the game. … [T]hey’re poppin’ those things out like cherry pits out of one’s mouth.” Cunningham openly mused.
Clearly, Cunningham has gone way beyond the bounds of reasonable comedic radio journalism. In fact, he’s gone way beyond the bounds of taste and, in our opinion, employability. Clearly, he’s forgotten Don Imus and how his “nappy-headed hos” comment went down over at Rutgers a couple of years ago.
Cunningham’s timing is also so horrendous that it’s almost funny. Consider the fact that he’s posing a major affront to prominent members of the African American community just four days before the country inaugurates its first African American president. And he’s doing more than that: He’s alleging that — at a public university, mind you — college athletes are having sex with groupies immediately after games. That’s ridiculously callous, no matter how you slice it.
(Now we know why Cunningham campaigned so hard against Obama.)
For the record, we can’t believe that any of Cunningham’s comments about the Cincinnati basketball program are true. And — and please note, we’re saying this only for the matter of argument — even if the Cincinnati basketball team had fathered six children out of wedlock, the way in which Cunningham addressed it and essentially accused the team of fostering the kind of culture that breaks down the morays of American tradition is absolutely inexcusable.
Look, if Imus was fired for making clearly inappropriate comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, then how can Cunningham possibly not be fired for these comments? It’s as if he not only offering an opportunity to hang himself, he’s walking up the gallows with noose in hand.
Regardless of what color you are and what you believe in, there’s no religion, culture or way of life than can possibly condone what Cunningham said and still feel that it has respect for other human beings. If you listen to Cunningham’s show, now might be a good time to take a long look in the mirror and think about the man you tune into every morning. Then, hopefully, it might be the right time to turn him off tomorrow.