NICK WRIGHT GOT THIS ONE WRONG
Written By: Jermaine Every
*(Full disclosure: I did not hear it live on-air, but did read a version of the joke.)
Blurred lines is not only a good song to get your family functions going (nothing like the inevitable drunk “old man/woman” dancing), but it’s also a working title for the way America views it’s racial thoughts, opinions, and “jokes”. We just went through the whole Incognito/Martin/Dolphins saga involving racial insensitivities. We just witnessed the Michael Sam saga unfold (bringing up this situation for effect, they are somewhat similar on certain levels, but that in and of itself is up for debate). Now we hear a local sports radio host, Sports Radio 610 Nick Wright, get in an off-color joke this morning.
As I’m on the way to work, I get a text asking about Nick Wright’s joke. What I heard live wasn’t audible at the time because I was driving and changing stations (my multi-tasking has been described as adult ADD). When I read what was said, I wasn’t shocked at all. More or less disappointed. Nick has stated on occasion that he aspires to be Colin Cowherd. For those that aren't familiar, Cowherd is a bit of a jerk who likes to give outlandish opinions in an attempt to grab ratings and get people talking. This has been Nick’s deal the entire time I've heard him on-air.
I won’t repeat what was said (out of respect), but to paraphrase, there was a celebration Nick suggested that involved doing something criminal to a female slave. Seriously people? Do we really need to resort to cheap hits like this for ratings, Twitter mentions & follows? Is this what media members using as their “Dream Shake”? Your go-to move shouldn't be something that’s so polarizing. Good media members use wit, tact, and verbal gymnastics to drum up interest. Using the cheap heat of race jokes is plain old lazy.
Almost a month to the day, Lamont wrote a blog asking if Nick was ready to take over Josh Innes’ spot as Sports Radio 610’s face of the franchise. In the article, he specifically says: “Nick does not have that ‘I have to hear what he says next’ pop.” Re-reading the article, that line in particular, seems prophetic. If Nick sees the writing on the wall that he needs to step up his game to maintain a ratings lead, this was a bad way to man the wheel of a huge ship.
Another Lamont post comes to mind on this topic. Last week when we were seeing the Michael Sam saga unfold, Lamont posted an article in which he suggests the media using gay and racism as bait for listeners/viewers as if they care. Here however, it’s being used for shock value. What else do you talk about as a Houston sports talk show host the day after the NBA All Star Game, weeks after Super Bowl &months before draft, and still weeks away from another crappy Astros season? I get it. It’s a slow news period in sports right now. But can some media members use that time to inform and entertain as opposed to stunt-shocking us into listening?
Race-baiting is cheap heat at it’s best. It’s like a sex tape scandal to an aspiring star: put it out there and wait for all the attention. If you subscribe to the “any attention is good attention” school of thought, things like race-baiting and toeing unpopular lines of opinion on questionable subjects are acceptable forms of drumming up interest.
For what it’s worth (and trust me, it aint worth the calories burned to type), Nick did issue an “apology”. He continued to “apologize” for his “joke” on Twitter even after his show ended. I use the quotation marks because if a person is truly sorry about something, they wouldn’t have done it in the first place and would’ve made beyond sure they overly apologized. Instead, Nick more or less “explained” his stance, reiterated the historical accuracy, then said sorry.
In closing, if you’re leaning towards agreeing that Nick was an idiot for the joke, don’t do it over Twitter. He’s been known to be overly sensitive and block people for no apparent reason (such as myself, who by the way, has never met or talked Nick, barely Tweeted him). If you feel the need to voice an opinion on this subject, email Sports Radio 610’s program director Ryan McCredden and let him know your thoughts. And no, that wasn’t to get him in trouble. But to simply put voices with opinions, no matter which side you may fall on. Ultimately, whether or not anything is done because of this incident is no concern of mine and up to the powers that be at CBS Radio. Would I take joy in a man losing his job, hell no. Will I continue to listen to Nick’s show, yes. Will anyone learn anything from this? That is the only thing I’d like to see come of this.