A good year for nervy behavior

December 29, 2007|By GREGORY KANE

If the calendar on your wall says it's Dec. 29 - and it should - then that doesn't just mean it's my 56th birthday.

It means it's time for my annual Chutzpah Awards, given at the end of each year to those whose audacity and gall would consistently register a 20 if measured on a scale of 1 to 10. Without any ado whatsoever, I'll get right to it.

10th place: The Baltimore Orioles, for having the nerve to pretend they're a major league baseball team. Really, is any further explanation needed?

9th place: The officials and coaches of the Baltimore Ravens, who tried to excuse their pathetic 2007 season by playing the "we had too many injured players" card.

Who do these folks think they're talking to - Redskins fans? Many Baltimore football fans remember the 1965 Colts season, when quarterback John Unitas went down in a late-season game against the Chicago Bears and backup quarterback Gary Cuozzo was knocked out of a game against the Green Bay Packers the next week. Did the Colts and head coach Don Shula whine about injuries?

No. They went out and got some journeyman quarterback named Ed Brown, who slung a 65-yard pass to tight end John Mackey that helped the Colts upset the Los Angeles Rams in the final game of the regular season. Then Shula had halfback Tom Matte play quarterback, strapping the game plan and plays on a wristband for a playoff game against the Packers that the Colts eventually lost. In overtime.

The lesson is that champions rise to the occasion and overcome injuries. And the Ravens clearly aren't champions.

8th place: Blacks in Baltimore who protested the injustice suffered by the Jena 6, a group of black teens in a Louisiana town charged with beating and kicking a white schoolmate into unconsciousness.

Really, with nearly 300 murders here in Baltimore - most of them black men killed by other black men - why are you poking your noses into the business of folks in Jena?

7th place: To officials at the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, who tried to trash the former spokeswoman for the Division of Correction, Maj. Priscilla Doggett, and make her the fall guy for the rash of contradictory statements coming out of the agency in the wake of the slaying of corrections officer David McGuinn.

6th place: To the critics of those Republican presidential candidates who passed on attending the debate at Morgan State University.

They should have come because folks in Baltimore love Republicans so much, right?

5th place: To the NAACP, for issuing an "alert" about a "state of emergency" of perceived injustices committed against young black men, while being oblivious to the rising body count of young black men murdered by young black men.

4th place: To Gov. Martin O'Malley, for proclaiming that America was not "a country that has ever willfully chosen to condemn people to live in the shadows of our society." O'Malley earns his Chutzpah Award not just for uttering such nonsense, but for having the nerve to say it with a straight face.

3rd place: To all those in the Baltimore area who supported the arrest of 7-year-old Gerard Mungo Jr. by Baltimore police for riding a dirt bike. Eugene "Bull" Connor gleefully filled the jails of Birmingham, Ala., with scores of black children demonstrating for civil rights in 1963. Who knew his spirit was still alive and kicking in this neck of the woods in 2007?

2nd place: To those parents and relatives of some of the nine Robert Poole Middle School students charged with the atrocious beating of Sarah Kreager who've been quoted in the media. (And their little lawyers, too.)

Really, people, your little dears and clients aren't the victims here. Would it be too much to ask that you condemn this act of mob violence, no matter what the provocation?

1st place: To those executives at CBS who canned shock jock Don Imus after he called members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos."

Somebody had to win this thing, and who better than this hypocritical bunch of sissy Marys? They hired a guy to say controversial things to get ratings and then chumped out on him when the going got rough. They let Imus continue his pattern of saying offensive things for years - his comments about Italian-Americans were really over the top - and let him get away with it. Then this bunch all of a sudden has standards?

"We shocked that the shock jock we've paid to say shocking things said something shocking."

You could argue that these poltroons deserve all 10 places on this list.


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