Irvin's words were without question racist. They were racist as hell. There is no other way to say it.
I don't call for firings much. Not my style. But if racial bomb throwers like Rush Limbaugh are penalized for their insensitive remarks, shouldn't Irvin be?
When you state that, for the most part, the lone way a white athlete can be a good athlete is to be part black, well, that is racist. Horribly racist and reinforces stereotypes that blacks are inherently big-thighed, bulging-biceped drones, incapable of being much else.
There is no difference between Irvin's words and those of Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder, who got canned. Not so different from the ignorance displayed by Limbaugh, who resigned.
Why aren't more blacks outraged? What Irvin said was just as offensive.
What's good for the goose should be good for The Playmaker.
In October of last year, Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry blamed a blowout loss to Texas Christian University on the fact that TCU had more black players than his team did.
"It's very obvious to me the other day that the other team had a lot more Afro-American players than we did," DeBerry said, "and they ran a lot faster than we did. It just seems to be that way that Afro-American kids can run very, very well."
DeBerry was blasted for what he said and apologized. Irvin has left the room unscathed.
If blacks are to fight the plague that is racial ugliness -- and racism remains one of the great threats to the Republic, no question about it, just ask that Seinfeld loser or Mel Gibson -- then we have to be honest with ourselves. We cannot blast whites for committing acts of racial stereotyping then remain silent when one of us does the exact same thing.
Saying blacks have the copyright on athleticism is unbelievably dangerous. If you believe one stereotype, then you must believe them all. All Asians are studious. All whites are exploitive. All Latinos are landscapers. All blacks can dance. The stereotypes do not leave much room for blacks becoming astronauts or Latinos becoming president.
This is an old, tired argument, so I will make it brief. I have been around too many great, white athletes to know better, to know that no race has the corner on being athletic. Books and studies have been written to the contrary, and they are all hogwash. They are done to reinforce stereotypes or old-school beliefs.
There is no difference between what Irvin stated and saying that the only way a black person can be smart is if he has white lineage. Think about it. No difference at all.
Remember the old days? In the 1950s, it was thought that blacks were not tough enough to play football. Now, according to some people, that is all we can do.
There was a time when we were too stupid to play quarterback. Now, we're too dumb to be anything but one.
Linebacker? Cool. Pilot? Nope.
Any time a person in position of authority or commanding air time says blacks have a genetic advantage in athletics, they are aiding and abetting the retardation of race relations. They are keeping us stuck in the past with old school notions and beliefs.
Just like Snyder and DeBerry. And now Irvin.
Until now, Irvin never bothered me as much as he apparently does some others. He is a rare breed for an athlete-analyst. He has strong opinions. You may hate them, but at least he has them.
Yet on the Uncle Tomfoolery Scale, with one being Amos 'n' Andy and 10 being The Birth of a Nation, Irvin, with his popsicle-colored suits circa 1980 and sketchy grammar, is perilously close to setting tomfoolery records the way he did football ones. There is a fine line between flavor and Uncle Tomfoolery.
Whenever athletes, commentators, coaches, and others comment on race, they often do not realize that such discussions require a scalpel, not a blow torch. You don't just run your yap about race the way you do about the cover-two defense.
Racial discussions require an educated sensibility, not diatribe. Such talks also require frankness.
What Irvin said was wrong. It was also racist.
And where is the outrage?
Mike Freeman is a CBS SportsLine.com National Columnist and the author of the newly released Jim Brown: The Fierce Life of an American Hero. It can be purchased here.