While covering the Indiana Pacers-Washington Wizards game, Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise found himself shocked and disgusted by the profanity-laden, race-based rap music blaring throughout the locker room. But when he Tweeted his displeasure, he created controversy instead of accord.
With his Tweets on May 7, Wise renewed this discussion of racism in sports just as the controversy out of Los Angeles over racist comments by aging Clippers owner Donald Sterling began to slow.
Riling the topic once again, during his stint in the Pacer’s locker room, Wise took to Twitter to criticize the race-based and profane rap music he was confronted with there.
In one Tweet, Wise said, “Pacers’ pre-game locker room is pounding gangsta rap with Tiger and the Game. Apparently the n-bomb debate is not happening in Indiana.”
Pacers’ pre-game locker room is pounding gangsta rap with Tiger and the Game. Apparently the n-bomb debate is not happening in Indiana.
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) May 7, 2014
In another critical Tweet, Wise said, “B–ch this, H- that. Nbombs. If I was Adam Silver, I would take a hard look at locker room music as part of a mutually respectful league.”
B–ch this, H- that. Nbombs. If I was Adam Silver, I would take a hard look at locker room music as part of a mutually respectful league.
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) May 7, 2014
Wise also called the music “filthy,” and said that some of the white guys on the team looked “uncomfortable” listening to it all.
But while Wise may have thought he was going to be lauded for his sensitivity, he was attacked instead.
One place where Wise found opposition to his crusade against the vulgar rap music was on his own Twitter feed. His social media quickly filled with attacks, both those he re-tweeted and those that serve as replies to his other Tweets.
Other websites and writers also slammed the Washington Post columnist for daring to oppose the rap music.
Deadspin, for instance, scoffed at Wise’s anti-n-word crusade characterizing the columnist’s attitude as that of an “old man (who) yells at cloud.”
While Sports Illustrated blogger Gabriel Baumgaertner agreed that the particular songs being played in the locker room were not the best of the genre, he still criticized Wise for essentially acting as if he has that old “white burden” to help the minorities do what is best for them.
Total Pro Sports was also critical of Wise saying that the Post writer’s “particular critique does more harm than good” for the anti-n-word debate.
Complex Sports jabbed Wise saying he “gives off the vibe of a grouchy old man.”
The sports bloggers at Footbasket also agreed with those attacking the columnist. “Wise got a lot of hate, of course, from his tweets and for good reason,” Josh Dhani wrote.
Robert Littal of Black Sports Online was a bit more sympathetic, saying he understood Wise’s point, and noted that the players should be a bit more circumspect with the choice of music when outsiders are in the locker room, but he found Wise’s efforts as coming across as “funny,” regardless.
African American entertainment site Bossip seemed to make Wise out as a representative of all white people saying, “does their opinion matter?”
This isn’t the first time that Wise has criticized the use of the n-word and warned African Americans to stop using it. In November he called the n-word “the most vile, disgusting, loaded word in the history of the English language.”
Wise also criticized black people who claimed that they should be allowed to use the word because it’s their “culture.” Finally, he was infuriated that anyone would attack him for trying to eliminate use of the word.
“And I have a problem with anyone of any ethnicity telling me that my values and beliefs about eradicating slurs from public and private conversation are less important than having agency over them for personal use–no matter who it hurts, including millions of African Americans who want the word abolished and should have just as much say,” he wrote last year
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com