I've watched the replay, and the rundown, of the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins brawl this morning. I've seen the subsequent backlash against Nyjer Morgan, the Nationals leadoff hitter, who "sparked" the brawl by charging the mound after being thrown at for the second time of the night. To baseball purists (oxymoron) he earned the beaning by violating one the game's many unwritten rules; stealing second and third base while his team was down double digits. While I disagree with that sentiment (There is no way in hell that you can tell me that you're supposed to concede defeat just because you're down big early, especially in the 4th inning against a division rival), I still have to say, as Morgan's mama might, he should've known better.
See, Morgan was put into a classic scenario described in the cult movie, "Deep Cover". There's a scene where Larry Fishburne's character is being interviewed by a superior, who asks him, "What's the difference between a black man, and a n----r?".
Previous candidates who were asked the question responded with either dubious butt-kissing, or violent reaction. Fishburne's character sat, calmly, and simply said, "A n----r is the one that would answer that question."
And that was the right response. "Why?", you ask. Because any other reaction to blatant instigation is foolish and "niggardly" (Actual word. Look it up.). They want you to do something that either proves their assumptions about you were true, or reveals that your true persona is that of a coward.
Back to Morgan. He instantly made me think of that scene for two reasons: 1.) His first name is "Nyjer", and there is a definite phonetic connection to the other word. 2.) He had an opportunity to prove his doubters wrong, and chose to bypass that, solidifying the idea in many baseball fans mind that he was who they thought he was (And he let 'em off the hook!).
The perception of the darker skinned athlete in American consciousness is a debate that will never get old, even if at times it gets tired. Morgan's actions after the second beaning attempt were not uncalled for. In fact, I doubt there has ever been a time in which a baseball player who was thrown at twice in one game did not charge the mound, or at least make the attempt. But timing is indeed everything, and Morgan had recently been suspended for throwing a baseball at a fan in the crowd. He'd also separated the shoulder of Marlins catcher, Brett Hayes, the day before, in what some had labeled a needless home plate collision.
Had Morgan simply taken his base, as he did after being hit in the fourth inning, he could've potentially stolen second and third again, manufacturing another run, and helping his team, all while taking the high road (Which would be the Fishburne answer). The Nationals were down 14-5 at the time, and eventually lost 16-10. Whose to say a rally in the sixth inning wouldn't have narrowed the margin?
Instead, he charges the mound, because as he stated after, "Once is good enough, but twice...it's time to go."
I understand the impulse. So do his teammates, and his manager, Jim Riglleman, who said about the stolen bases, "The Florida Marlins don't decide when we run. We do."
I'd hope for a better impulse control though. Its one thing to be thought of as a n----r, it's another thing to go out and prove that you are one.
The perfect clothesline given to Morgan by first baseman Gaby Sanchez, should serve as a metaphor for what happens when you embrace the n----r impulse. It never ends well.
Los That Links
- More Nats news: The team has fired announcer "Nasty Boy" Rob Dibble, due to his criticism of their injured golden boy, Stephen Strasburg.
- The United States Basketball Team gets their swag back against Tunisia.
- The Arizona Cardinals have given Matt Leinart permission to seek a trade.
- Darrelle Revis' grandmother feels like her baby boy is being treated unfairly by the Jets.
- Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis had to be separated by head coach Mike Singletary. No word on whether the argument was over who has the better mohawk.
- Freddie Roach says Floyd Mayweather is sucka-ducking Manny Pacquiao.