Steve Serby is a writer for the New York Post, which means that lots of people read the things he writes on a regular basis. He recently used "Good for [Tom] Coughlin for tightening the noose around Plaxico Burress" as a sentence in the opening graf on a piece re: why Plax deserves to get punished by the Giants.
The problem with that sentence is, of course, that Burress is an African-American and the use of the word "noose" tends to have some pretty negative historical connotations. And, unsurprisingly, Reverend Al Sharpton is not exactly excited about Serby's work.
"To make such a blatant racist statement about an African-American football player with a neck injury is completely unacceptable," Sharpton said. "Clearly, the racial connotation is very disturbing. ... This is the verbal reflection of a hanging noose."
Sharpton said that if the Post did not acknowledge that the column was offensive, he would further highlight the issue but he did not specify what steps he would take. "They have to act swiftly," Sharpton said. "If we don't see action, I will lay out exactly what that is ... we would like to talk to someone there about whether it was the writer or editor who let this in."
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Now, personally, I have no real business deciding whether or not the use of the word "noose" is offensive, at least in terms of my own genealogical background. However, I'm a little torn on this issue.
For starters, Serby and his editors probably should have rethought the phrasing of that entire sentence -- it's not blatantly racist by any means, but, much like invoking Hitler in any sort of analogy, using "noose" or "lynch" while referencing an African-American in any context never pans out too well.
However, I also tend to think that Sharpton is pretty egregious when it comes to seeking out trouble and stirring the resulting pot; my opinion of him in that regard has more to do with what I believe to be ulterior motives on his part.
The fact remains, though, that regardless of why Sharpton is taking up this crusade, Serby and the Post editors needed to rethink this entire line of reasoning. Unless he was just trying to pull a Simmons and get everyone really upset at him for the sole purpose of refusing to apologize.
The Good Rev. Sharpton Does Not Appreciate the Post's Use of the Word 'Noose' originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on 2008-10-28T12:00:00+00:00. Please see our terms for use of feeds.