Eric's Unfortunate Red Card/Yellow Card

I'm going to attempt to comment on something involving race, a subject that can blow up in one's face so, so easily. But I also can't shake the weird sensation left by Eric Wynalda's Red Card/Yellow Card halftime segment for last night's game.

Here goes....

I believe it was the first "yellow card" Wynalda dished and he gave it to the Chicago Fire's John Guppy for not giving current Fire assistant head coach Denis Hamlett the head coach's job. There's nothing wrong with that, mind you. And there wasn't anything wrong with comparing Hamlett to the Chicago Bears' (I think) Lovey Smith - at least not until Wynalda said something like (and I'm paraphrasing like a mother-scratcher here) "You might be asking why I'm reaching for comparisons with Lovie Smith and it's not just because these guys look the same."

If you look up at the top of the page, you'll know why that phrasing sounded so awkward.

Now, I'm 99.9% certain that Wynalda really wanted de-emphasize precisely what he wound up emphasizing - e.g. that both coaches are black. But why - oh lord, why? - did he not build the case that Hamlett was the "right guy" based on, say, maintaining Chicago's traditions by hiring within the organization (assuming there is one), speaking about Hamlett's bond with the players, anything to do with smarts, qualification, the high esteem of coaches around the league...anything that would have left dragged the comparison away from where he had rather unfortunately dragged it.

I waited for the segment to turn out of this jam, but it never happened. And, to be clear, I'm not bashing Wynalda or anything; he was tackling this subject off the cuff and here I am editing the hell out of this while I'm typing. It


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