The next Bill Simmons?

ESPN's new Page 2 columnist, Jemele Hill, makes her debut today with a piece that goes straight at issues of race in sports--and of race, period. (Hill is African-American.) Some highlights:
You want to know if I think O.J. did it, if I believe Barry Bonds cheated, if I'll stick up for T.O., if I love the WNBA, if I'll defend Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, if I hate white people, if I hate black people, and if I think the Duke lacrosse players actually raped the black exotic dancer/college student/single mother.

You want to know what kind of black person am I? Am I one of those?

Yes, I discuss race openly, honestly and, hopefully, intelligently. Do I play the race card? Depends on what else is on the card table. The sports world provides a great platform for racial discussions. It's also one of the few places in society where, 99 percent of the time, performance trumps race. Most times, but not always.

But wait, let me to go off on a tangent for a minute, but it will relate. Last week, Ray Lewis caught hell for saying the Tennessee Titans never would have treated Brett Favre or Peyton Manning with the lack of regard they showed for Steve McNair.

Lewis' statement pretty much nails how a lot of African-Americans think. I don't care if you're a postal worker, a florist or a sports columnist, black people all play the would-this-happen-to-a-white-guy game. Now, the Titans didn't treat McNair coldly because he was black. No, they just didn't think twice about how they treated McNair because he was black. Black athletes, if anything, are expendable.
And yes, there's plenty of other good stuff that isn't race related. (One example, when Hill cites groups she hates in sports: "Athletes who thank Jesus in the camera and bed groupies off camera.") Take a look.

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