Friday, December 08, 2006

In racist-remark debate, coming to the defense of Anita Marks

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Dec 8, 2006 3:00 AM (8 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 5 of 13,397 articles

BALTIMORE - The politically correct police are out in force again.

Anita Marks is being accused of making a racist remark for calling San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman a “juice monkey.”

I know Marks, an ESPN 1300 AM and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network talk show host very well, and she is not in any way, shape or form a racist. To paint her as one is silly.

WNST talk show host Rob Long called for Marks to apologize for the remark. Long is a thoughtful, intelligent broadcaster.

He knows sports, and he also is aware when people say racially insensitive things, as opposed to just plain stupid things.

He has the right to say or do as he wishes, but he should also know that Marks is not a racist.

Before I go any further, let me say this: I do appear on Marks’ show every Friday night, and we talk about TV sports. Some might say I’m sticking up for a friend. They’re right.

I truly believe Marks did not intend her remark in an insensitive or hurtful way. To attack her for being racially insensitive in this matter is not only wrong, but totally unfair.

If we were to hang on every word that a radio or TV talk show host said without thinking through the entire situation, we’d spend our entire lives parsing words and phrases. That’s a waste of time.

Ask the many black athletes and broadcasters whom Marks has worked with if she’s a racist. The answer will be “No.”

I have seen it brought up that in 1983, ABC announcer Howard Cosell was widely criticized for calling former Washington Redskins receiver Alvin Garrett, an African-American, a “monkey.” What hasn’t been reported is that Cosell was defended by a number of top-name black sports stars, including Muhammad Ali, as someone who was a leader of the civil rights movement and not at all a racist.

In this politically correct world, we all must be careful what we say, but the audience also must also look at the body of a person’s work — and not just one item — before rushing to judgment.

The New York Post’s front page Thursday super-imposed the faces of politicians James Baker and Lee Hamilton onto the body of primates. The headline read: “Surrendering Monkeys.”

Anyone want to call Rupert Murdoch?

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at


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