Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Don't we have better things to do?

I must be bored today. It appears there is a speed bump on the road back to Green Bay for Brett Favre. No doubt in Favre’s mind, Green Bay management is to blame for sending him misadventuring to the Big City, where being “Broadway Brett” turned out to be more like “Midnight Cowboy.” We had heard about the complaints of two “massage therapists” who claimed that Favre gave undue attention to their posteriors before. One of them, Shannon O’Toole, received the following text messages on her cell phone:

“Brett here. ou and crissy want to get together im all alone.”

Followed by:

“Kinda lonely tonight I guess I have bad intentions.”

Obviously Favre had some kind of friendly contact with O’Toole and Christina Scavo, the other therapist. Frankly, I don’t know what to make of this; it’s hard to say if Old Greybeard was serious or just goofing off. Favre’s Jets teammates at the time admit that he brought a certain “enthusiasm” and “fun” that had been lacking before his arrival, but it is probably also true that he probably wasn’t comfortable with the big city life. Apparently the therapists didn’t appreciate his “loneliness,” because Scavo informed her husband, who then called Favre and “angrily” told him his attentions were not appreciated. We don’t know exactly how that conversation went, but I suspect that Favre’s “ah shucks” demeanor did not mesh with that of a typical New Yorker.

Scavo claims that Favre looked at her as if she was a “hanging slab of beef.” There is a picture of Scavo in the New York Post; frankly, I think that’s being generous. This and the two aforementioned texts are the basis for a lawsuit against Favre and Jets. O’Toole and Scavo claim that the Jets fired them from their positions because they “rejected” his advances, which is to assume that Favre mentioned the phone call to Jets personnel. But the Jets claim they never heard anything about the complaint until recently, and their law suit has no merit. They did their work for the season and they were not rehired for the following season. No seasonal contract employee has a "right" to expect to be rehired every year (update: now the women admit they entered into talks with the Jets that were a transparent effort to blackmail the team in order to get "their" jobs back, which the Jets rejected).

The Jets did provide the NFL with contact information for Scavo and O’Toole during their investigation of the Jenn Sterger matter; if they cooperated with the NFL investigation into Favre in regard to their own claims of workplace conduct, the NFL apparently found these claims without merit or greatly exaggerated. It certainly did not rise to the level of sexual harassment, since there is no claim (yet) that Favre ever had further contact with them again after the initial texts—which were “suggestive” only to the prurient imagination.

(Update on the case of Sterger--who was not a "media personality" with the Jets as the NY Post keeps calling her, but a "team hostess": Sterger's lawyer claims that in a "secret" meeting with Roger Goodell, she cried and insisted he hadn't led Favre on and felt no one supported her, although it was not mentioned if Goodell had asked her about her initial comments to Deadspin:"They were fun to laugh at amongst friends." Nor mentioned was any curiosity by Goodell concerning the testimony of her friend, Allison Torres: Sterger seemed to "enjoy" the attention and texted Favre back, not to mention had hundreds of naughty pics stored on her computer from friends, celebrities and "star athletes." Nor was it mentioned what Sterger's response was to those queries. No doubt Sterger's unhappiness would be somewhat less if her former employers at Comcast had shown greater appreciation of her "talents.").

Meanwhile, ESPN fired long-time play-by-play announcer Ron Franklin for calling sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards a “sweet baby” when she tried to force her way into a conversation he was having with two other announcers; when she expressed displeasure, Franklin told her to go and do a certain something with herself. This is unprofessional conduct that should not be tolerated, but is it a firing offense? Franklin had been working with the network since 1987; was this an isolated incident, or was it part of a pattern? Judging from various media operations’ past actions, it doesn’t matter if it is an isolated slip-up by an individual or a pattern. You upset a female colleague with a demeaning comment, you’re history.
The problem with this is that it is mainly political. Maybe these two have some kind of personality issue with each other. But you can’t speak to a woman in a manner that is an affront to her ego and tender sensitivities. Last year, Tony Kornheiser was suspended from ESPN after commenting on Hanna Storm’s short skirts on his DC radio show; apparently he thought they was a little much for a woman pushing 50. I don’t have a problem with her skirts, but what’s the crime about expressing an opinion? Why should it be deemed creating a “hostile” work environment if someone criticizes a colleague for her choice of clothes? Can a woman criticize a male colleague, or a woman can criticize another woman and not be similarly punished? No that I’m aware of.

I mentioned in a previous post how I was once “mistakenly” placed in temporary work environment where the female supervisor deliberately tried to maintain a female-only workplace. For four months I listened to these women “bashing” men all day. I read an article on some website written by a man who said that "giving women the intellectual space to be anti-male is necessary.” I guess I just take a dim view of this kind of double-standard--especially since "intellect" rarely invades that space (see the various American Association of University Women "studies"). The problem with one part of the world today is that we don’t know to how to adequately balance the right of free expression with gender sensitivities. It seems that there is an assumption that if men and women are de facto equal, then questions of personality and competency have no relevance; “sexism” is the only variable that has meaning in this environment. If most businesses ran on that assumption, they would have other problems to deal with. But the media lives in its own bubble chamber, where image is being fobbed on the public, and everyone is keenly aware of their own image and out to protect it at all costs. Egos collide with egos, and some egos are less certain than others. If you are former CNN host Rick Sanchez, you find yourself without a job. If you are a Jeannine Edwards, you can be sure your boss won’t even think twice about insuring the offender is out of a job.

I’ve come across masochistic comments from white men who think it is alright to take the slings and arrows of gender politics, and I tell myself “I wish these self-flagellators would speak for themselves; after all, they are currently in control of most of the elements of worldly success, and so they have less to lose. But for minority males, this bashing business just adds to the level of prejudice and justifies discrimination against them. In the “real world,” if white men are number 1 in this country, then white women are 1A. I have eyes. I know what I see. A survey released by some entity called Business First recently confirmed this: that in the Seattle metro area--as in many cities--racial disparities in income are wider than in the country as a whole; the per capita income of blacks is 54 percent that of whites, while that of Latinos is 46 percent that of whites. When I used to read the local newspapers, for "fun" I would check-out the mug shots in the "Who's moving up" segment of the business page; I need not mention that I was never surprised what people were on the list. This country still has a plantation mentality; even a few well-paid dark-skinned “gladiators” to entertain the masses doesn’t disguise that fact.

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