Tonight’s Tennessee-Vanderbilt game had few pleasant moments for Commodore fans. AJ Ogilvy was held to seven points on 1-6 shooting. Two promising freshmen fouled out. The team played no defense. It was an ugly game. There is, however, a demographic for which the game was even less pleasant: fans of accurate geographical and ethnic terminology.
As was probably inevitable, broadcasters Jimmy Dykes and Brad Nessler turned their attention to President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Ruminations on the historic nature of the day ensued, followed by the team throwing it to sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards. Edwards then filed what is simultaneously the greatest and most discouraging sideline report of my young life:
“I talked to Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli – who is from Nigeria – before the game about Obama’s inauguration. He told me that it isn’t as big of a deal to him as it is to most people, because all they have in Nigeria are African-American presidents.”
There was a pause. Then, my friend, couchmate, and fellow Vanderbilt graduate incredulously says “African-American presidents?”
I am insatiably curious about who is at fault here. Did Ezeli actually say “African-American”? Or did he say “black presidents” and Edwards replaced it with the seemingly safer but completely inappropriate “African-American”? Forgive me for my skepticism, but I would bet that Edwards dropped the ball on this one. I have a hard time believing that the African-born Ezeli would call his country’s presidents “African-American.”
Finally, because we leave no stone unturned here at Fan Interference, I can most assuredly tell you that all of Nigeria’s national leaders have been Nigerian.
EDIT: If you dare, you can venture into the ESPN conversation for this game to verify that I am not making this up. Look at the second comment made at 10:30. Then leave quickly before your brain cells start deteriorating.