While “alt-whites” are fuming over the the shoplifting exploits of three teen UCLA players who happened to include ultra-free black man LaVar Ball’s middle son LiAngelo Ball, the Christian God’s favorite collegiate pocket passer and Heisman hopeful, University of Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, grabbed his dick on national television while yelling, “Fuck you,” to Kansas’ players.
On Monday he was given his punishment: He won’t start Saturday’s game against West Virginia and he won’t be team captain. Basically, Mayfield isn’t being punished because he’ll probably only miss a series of downs, and what’s the perk of being team captain anyway?
I normally hate think pieces because they’re usually by someone way off-base who’s yelling at kids to get off their lawn, but I must admit that I was a pit bull chasing a deer bone waiting to read all the think pieces that would surely condemn Johnny Manziel 2.0 for his latest antics.
And then there were ... a few; barely any, to be honest. I found one piece from The Oklahoman saying that Mayfield should be suspended. And another from our writing-brothers-from-another-mother Deadspin clowning his punishment, but basically this was a nationally televised dick grab that no one cared about.
And here’s why: Baker Mayfield is a young white man.
A young white man making vulgar gestures gets downgraded to “antics” and a “lack of leadership qualities.” During one sports show, pundits actually argued about whether Mayfield’s actions were good for college football. One talking suit claimed that the fact that Mayfield grabbed his dick was good for football because it showed passion and made viewers take more of an interest in the game.
Talk about failing forward.
What a blessing it is to be white and young. The bending that America does for young white men is enough to make a contortionist jealous. Baker Mayfield is not a new asshole—like, say, LiAngelo Ball—he’s been an asshole. He was an asshole when he was arrested in June on public intoxication charges, during which he was chased and tackled by police as he tried to flee the scene. He was an asshole when he planted Oklahoma’s flag in the middle of Ohio State’s field after a victory, and much like the Ball patriarch has been called, Mayfield’s dad is an asshole, too, apparently.
According to SB Nation, Mayfield wasn’t highly touted coming out of high school. In 2013 he walked on at Texas Tech and lost his starting spot after suffering an injury. After not being offered a scholarship in the spring, a disgruntled Mayfield left Tech and joined the University of Oklahoma, where he became the starting quarterback in 2015.
During the 2015 Orange Bowl press conference, Mayfield was asked which team disappointed him most during the recruiting process, and Mayfield claimed that Texas Christian University told him he would be offered a scholarship and then reneged. Thus leading him to walk on at Texas Tech at the time.
In response, TCU coach Gary Patterson spilled all the Lipton:
“If Baker Mayfield wants to blame TCU for 128 BCS schools not offering him a scholarship, that’s fine,” Patterson said, according to Fox Sports. “But ask Kliff Kingsbury why he didn’t offer him a scholarship at Texas Tech. Ask about Baker’s dad [James]. He’s an arrogant guy who thinks he knows everything. If people knew the whole story, they might not have a great opinion of Baker or his father.”
I wish I lived in a world where both black men and white men could grab their dicks on national television, but sadly, we all know that this is not that world. Not because I want young black men to grab themselves on national television, but I don’t want the psyche of young black men to be examined afterward if they did such.
I don’t want to see the think pieces about the effects of hip-hop on youth culture, or an in-depth look at how said player is a thug. Or Stephen A. Smith—always Stephen A. Smith—spouting empathetically how thuggish the dick grabber’s behavior has been.
I would just like to live in a world where a black man’s grabbing his dick on national television is not an indictment of his upbringing but instead, like Mayfield’s dick grab, is a show of how passionate the quarterback is about the game.
But I also hate stories that put up a white athlete’s behavior against a black athlete’s behavior. It feels trite, like comedians whose only bit is to stand onstage and show the made-up differences between white people, say, walking (uptight and confined) and black people walking (spacious and belligerent). It’s overdone and we all know it.
We know ad nauseam the gross disparity in how race and the level of expectations are treated in sports. We know that the equation looks a lot like “popular athlete plus white skin equals slap on the wrist” because sports, on many levels, are just a microcosm of the rest of the world, and as long as President AssFace von FluffyToupee is in office, you can expect the kind of disparity that we’ve come to know.
So, God’s personal bandleader got a slap on the wrist. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. The funny thing here is, why do we care at all? I don’t want to argue that Mayfield should be suspended from the game, and I don’t want to argue that the middle Ball child, and his plus-two, should be serving five-to-10 in a Chinese prison for trying to steal a rack of goofy baller shit.
I was once a young man, and as such, I was also once an asshole (although my wife would probably argue that I’m still an asshole, hiyooo!), and young men do dumb shit, like grabbing their dicks on national TV and stealing sunglasses from designer stores.
But there needs to be a balance of punishment that doesn’t weigh the “crime” against the player’s popularity, Heisman status or race.
As we’ve seen, stupid knows no color, but we all know that if a black player had grabbed his package on national television, he’d be in a Chinese prison serving 10 years, unless, of course, some dumbass president who does it for the likes was there to save him, and then his parents better say thank you.