Tell ’em, Bo
Will Cain’s job at ESPN for the past five years has been to say the sort of things you’d usually hear on Fox News (where he made appearances prior to joining ESPN in 2015). Well, Wednesday was his last day at ESPN before he goes back to Fox, and Bomani Jones made it a memorable one.
Cain went on First Take in the morning to criticize NASCAR for its handling of the alleged noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage. Cain said that releasing a statement saying that a noose had been discovered before it could be investigated showed “NASCAR’s motivations were other than being truthful.” The conclusion that there was no malice toward Wallace “undercut[s] improvement in racial relations” because people rushed to assume a racist incident had taken, Cain also said. “We are going to take a step back because we have sowed distrust, we have sowed division, and it will come back as a backlash on NASCAR and unfortunately, on Bubba Wallace as well,” he added.
This caught the eye of fellow ESPNer Bomani Jones, so Jones decided to call in to Cain’s radio show and ask how the outcome of the Wallace situation could be an “impediment to race relations.”
Jones asked Cain what he thought the biggest impediment to race relations in America is. Cain said it was an inability to view people as individuals instead of as members of larger groups and an innate human tendency toward “tribalism.”
“Really, the impediment to racism is white people not treating Black people as being of equal levels of humanity,” Jones said. “There’s been a level of subjugation of people in this country that is uncommon and is not something that we can look at all across the world and thereby ascribe all this tribalism.
“The problem I have is when you say that what happened with Bubba Wallace is going to be an impediment to race relations. Nah, man. Those people rolling on Speedway Boulevard before that race with those [Confederate] flags flying, those are an impediment to race relations. The person that had a thing [flying behind a plane] that said ‘Defund NASCAR’ on Sunday over the track, that’s the impediment to race relations. I found myself, actually, when the thing happened with the garage, not even really so much talking about that because the other things that were going on, those are far bigger impediments.”
Jones and Cain spoke for about 13 minutes, which sounds like a long time, but I promise you’ll find it worthwhile if you listen to the whole thing.
I don’t get the impression that Cain came away from the interaction convinced of Jones’s view, but Jones was able to effectively counter what Cain was saying, so maybe some people out there will be convinced to see this through his eyes.
Jones made it clear on Twitter after the fact that he wasn’t out to get Cain. He gave Cain credit for allowing him to call in and provide an alternate viewpoint. For anyone whose attention span is too short to listen to 13 minutes of radio, he also summed up the core of his message in just two tweets.
I’m glad Jones was able to get in under the wire and challenge Cain on his ideas before he left, because we know he’s not going to get any pushback like that on Fox’s airwaves.
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