The calls to can Michael Irvin’s racist ass after his Tony Romo “must have some black in him” comment on the Dan Patrick show a few weeks ago were endless, but somehow I doubt anyone will mention the remarks Keith Olbermann made about Asians yesterday.
While talking about merchandise sales, Patrick asked Olbermann if he would be surprised that Allen Iverson’s jersey is more popular in China than Yao Ming’s, to which KO responded, “Yes…well I mean not everybody’s Yao Ming’s size.” The two immediately erupted with laughter.
Olbermann did cover his ass better than Irvin following his laughter, talking about how amusing it would be to see three foot tall children wearing a Ming sized jersey.
My point in brining this up certainly isn’t to condemn Olbermann, who is phenomenal on the radio and MSNBC, but rather to point out the inconsistencies of those who are quick to play the “he must be fired” card when someone makes a tasteless, yet amusing joke.
The truth is both comments were harmless, but they were very similar. Irvin made the same predictable joke the rest of the world makes whenever a white athlete can run fast or jump high, while KO and Patrick had a laugh about the universal Asian stereotype.
The difference is the latter won’t draw a second listen, while Irvin faced national scrutiny.