Yesterday's NYTimes sports section had a front page article about former Atlanta Hawk Dan Roundfield, who died while trying to save his wife from drowning in Aruba. (She survived.)
The article included a lot of fond reminiscences of Roundfield from his wife, his sons, and his former teammates. They talked about how he always had a lot of good stories, how he was a devoted father, and how he was an underrated basketball player. It also highlighted how he had stayed married to the same wife throughout his career.
There were multiple pictures of the Roundfields in the article.
Roundfield sounds as if he was an all around great guy, and deserving of whatever publicity he gets.
The woman who actually saved his wife from drowning was Nicole Brandt, a 43-year-old massage therapist. She swam out to where the current was dangerous in order to save a complete stranger from being pulled out to sea. The Times described her role, but included no picture of her. This is somewhat understandable, as the article was in the sports section and Brandt wasn't a sports star, merely part of the faceless middle class.
But it makes one wonder, what if a white sports figure had drowned while trying to save his wife? Would he have gotten as much ink in the Times a year later? Somehow I doubt it.
A while back Al Neuharth, the late founder of USA Today, said that he wanted a positive black role model on the front page of his newspaper every single day. There are certainly enough positive black role models to fulfill that directive. And you wouldn't have to tell any lies in order to do so, though it might require articles that are less than newsworthy. But when a newspaper -- like USA Today, or the Times -- treats one race differently by consistently trying to emphasize the positive about them and ignoring the negative, it adds up to a big lie.
Likewise, when a newspaper gives a lot of publicity to a perceived white-on-black crime, like the one George Zimmerman was tried for, and simultaneously ignores the far more multitudinous and unprovoked instances of black-on-white crime, that, too, adds up to a big lie.
As I said above, Roundfield sounds like a great guy, as well as a hero, and I certainly don't begrudge him whatever accolades are heaped on him.
But my guess is that had he been white, the Times article wouldn't have been written.
Unless, of course, he'd been Jewish.
In that case, the incident in Aruba would most likely have been turned into a movie.