I’ve been working in office-based environments for a while; over ten years. In the course of my tenure, I’ve been subjected to various forms of diversity training, sexual harrassment training, and even (guffaw) social management training (aka how to not be an asshole to your coworkers). The ones I remember were the ones that made me laugh my ass off. Such subjects are usually dreaded when broached, and even when presented in a humorous light, can be used to educate people on these subjects. It’s like comedy traffic school; driving safe is no laughing matter, but poking fun at the idiots on the road was hilarious.
When the San Francisco 49ers’ public relations manager decided to make a media sensitivity training video for the chuckleheads in the locker room, it was obvious that his intent was to mimic the successful videos he had seen in the past by bringing a humorous element with the help of some of the faces around the front office. The subject matter was highly subjective, but in the context of a football locker room, not so much. Taken out of context, the entire Bay Area is now up in arms over it and the person who created the video, Kirk Reynolds, is out of a job. When the 49er players were confronted with it, they all said different things, but the one thing they did say was, “it was hilarious.” See? They remembered what they saw. The San Francisco Chronicle ran it above the fold, in the same font as the headline with the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Oh yeah, that’s really objective journalism… and worthy of a front-page (not front sports page) headline.
While driving into work this morning, KNBR’s morning show (with Tim Liotta and Brian Murphy) seemed to be packed to the gills with phone calls, emails, and other expressions of outrage over the fact that this video was offensive and used stereotypes. Okay, sure. Taken out of the context of the frat house-like nature of a professional football team’s locker room, I can see how some people would be offended by the manner in which the message was relayed. But then again, some people don’t like the humor of Robert Schimmel, Chris Rock, or Dave Chapelle. It wasn’t as though this video were broadcast as a special event on ABC or ESPN; it was meant for the consumption of football players, not the public. Terry Donahue, the asshole ex-general manager, took it upon himself to use the video to sink Kirk Reynolds’ career and he succeeded in his task. But instead of coming down on Donahue for being such a prick, we’re focused on the video and its content, only because the subject matter is a hot button item.
Yeah… that’s reasonable (not).
I’m an overweight Hispanic male living in the Bay Area. My reaction? Fucking hilarious, give the guy points for making it memorable and getting his message across at the same time. Hand him a raise and not a pink slip. Of course, the kneejerk reaction from Doctor York was predictable and Donahue was banking on it.
Personally, I think that we need to lighten up and understand that this is a pointless debate. No one got killed, no one got hurt. Pride reared its ugly head this morning and will most likely pervade my day as I listen to Gary Radnich and then Rick & Rod beat the shit out of this dead horse. I will not listen to the Razor and Mister T even more so because I know they’ll ride out the public outcry for the ratings, but out of all the people I’ve listened to so far, I think Ray, Murph, and Gary got it right.
It was funny; it was not indicative of the ten-plus years of excellent services Reynolds gave the 49ers, and it was a tool of Donahue to get back at a guy who basically helped get him fired.
Lighten up, people. It’s fucking football, for shit’s sake.