ESPN has suspended sports analyst Bob Griese for one week for making an offensive remark about a Colombian NASCAR driver. Griese made the gaffe on Saturday, when a graphic was shown listing some of NASCAR's best drivers. Surveying the list, Griese's partner asked where rising hotshot Juan Pablo Montoya was. Griese laughed, "out having a taco." The football
hall of famer has since apologized twice. While the ESPN decision has won praise from many quarters, others are calling the suspension an over-reaction. Most pundits, regardless of stance, rightly note that Colombians don't
even eat tacos.
- In Need of a Culinary Education, writes Teresa Puente, editor of Latina Voices: "Guess what Bob? They don't eat tacos in Colombia... Maybe he can spend that time reading up on Colombian food. But it doesn't excuse his comment. ESPN should also require him to get some sensitivity training. You can't lump all Latinos together and generalize about us. We're not all taco eating, Spanish-speaking, salsa-dancing immigrants...For the record, in Colombia one of the popular foods is an arepa, a sort of cornmeal pancake. I'm sure you know tacos are Mexican food."
- Off With His Head! feigns David Kahane at National Review: "When it comes to our compadres and comrades south of the border, joking is never allowed... Can you imagine — I mean, they don't even have tacos in Colombia, where Montoya's from! You start with taco jokes and the next thing you know we're on the slippery slope to the Frito Bandito, Señor Wences, Jose Jimenez, and former attorney general Alberto Gonzales. Naturally, Griese groveled and apologized for his reflexive racism once it was pointed out to him, but the damage was done, and those norte Americanos who persist in conflating everybody from ciudad Juarez to Tierra del Fuego were at once reinforced in their vicious, hurtful cultural stereotypes. ¡No pasarán!"
- Hold the Hyperbole, writes Jay Busbee at Yahoo! Sports: "It was a dumb joke, but it was also a race-oriented one, which gets people very up in arms these days, as you may have heard. Don't shoot me; that's the way the world is these days. Everybody's more sensitive than a drunken Irishman with a broken heart. (I'm part Irish, so I can say that.) Griese's comment was in the same neighborhood as golfer Fuzzy Zoeller's Masters line about Tiger Woods ("tell him not to serve fried chicken") -- thoughtless but not an instant indicator of evil, blackhearted racism."
- Well, I Guess ESPN Made the Right Decision, concedes an ambivalent Jay Busbee: "Still, ESPN had to take some action, and thus suspended Griese for one game for his comment. Fair enough; that seems appropriate. Though it fell to Montoya to give the perfect capper to the whole affair: 'Somebody mentioned it to me," he said. 'I don't really care, to tell you the truth. Yeah, I don't. I could say I spent the last three hours eating tacos, but I was actually driving a car.'"