Saturday, February 25, 2006

Misunderstandings, Race, and Ass Holes in San Francisco.

See it centers around a little outing that I planned with Chrissy, who I always run into at sports industry related fuctions. The latest was The Leigh Steinberg Party at the Super Bowl. ( A great party, but more about that later.) She is perhaps the only person other than my best friend Beth Schnitzer, who actually recognizes me and says hello.

So, I thought getting together and talking would be fun, as she's been quite nice for a while now. I didn't have any date idea in mind; frankly it was the business of finding out what a person -- her in this case -- was doing that may be such that we could work together in the future.

Anyway, Chrissy has the idea of inviting both Beth and Gary. I thought that as a good idea as Gary's a friend who helped me on the Super Bowl: Oakland campaign and who sat next to me at Super Bowl XL (I got his ticket for him).

Well, I was informed by Beth that Gary and Chrissy had dated. I feared another drama scenario ahead, and started at one point to back out of it. Then I asked my friend Sarah to come as Beth could not make it, but Sarah had a mid-term. So, I was stuck. And still my gut was saying it wasn't going to go well.

I was right.

We planned to meet at Aqua, which is one of my favorite San Francisco places to visit. I go on Thursdays as Kathy's the bar tender there and I've known her for about 16 years.

Anyway, I arrived at Aqua at about 6:49 PM and seated right just as I walked in was JT and Mary. JT is someone I met six years ago, while I was working to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland. At any rate, he was trying to gain the NFL as a client to a company called Dream - something or other. I said I could help him do that. At any rate, the conference call with the CEO of Dream - something or other - was annoying. The guy said to me "Why do I need you to get into the NFL." And I felt he was being nasty for no good reason, so I told him he should try it on his own, and essentially ended the conversation. I had no time for rude ass holes, and that's what he was being.

Well, JT was upset that I didn't try harder. But the stakes were not that high because the person I was talking to didn't sell me on the idea of working with him; it's a two way street, and they needed me much more than I needed them.

Well, I had not talked with JT for some time after that. Meanwhile, Beth had developed a friendship with him, and so he started showing up to her parties -- but he'd never say anything to me. Wouldn't even look at me for a time. But after a while he came to so many events that I got rather annoyed with his unnecessary behavior, and so complained about it to Beth on several occasions. Whatever the connection, he at least speaks now. But we've only had one coversation of meaning since the "warming" period.

Well, JT was sitting with M Condy, who's husband Charles owns Aqua and three other restaurants. M is also a friend of Beth's. M's OK, but at times she's more than a bit weird toward me. That happens only when she's not with Beth and I see her in public. For example, I was recently at The Balboa Cafe and standing at the far corner of the bar. Where I stand is such that if you order a drink at any place at the bar, and look toward the back of the place, you can't miss me. But that's not why I stand there.

I do so because it gets me away from the crowd, and frankly a few of the white males who walk in there can be a little "stupid" in what they say to a person of color after they've had a few drinks -- this even happened once when Beth and I met for a drink about a year ago. Since I'm totally tired of anything that smacks of racism, I stand away from the crowd to avoid the desire to smack someone upside the head who might say something stupid. Now that written, it doesn't happen often at all. I like The Balboa Cafe especially when the regulars walk in, but that's another story for another time.

At any rate on the day I'm thinking of, M was there but when I looked over at her, would not allow her eyes to meet mine. Now, I'm the only black person there, and given where I stood impossible to miss. So, I resolved that I would treat her just like she treated me; I said nothing. I did this until a really nice and lovely Irish woman came over and said "We were debating whether you played Rugby or Cricket." I laughed. That woman turned out to be with a group of friends, which included Mary. So, I was pulled over, and then Mary talked to me. At that point, I was concerned that she had too much to drink, and so got her some water. She was fine later.

So, back to the present. M said hi, but there was no place to sit over there. I wanted to find a stool and order food. So, I went down to the other end of the bar and found the only place to sit. As I did, Aqua's great host Jean Pierre came up to say hello. A nice person. Consistently gracious.

I ordered wine and the Aqua Classic Appetizer, which is a great dish of chopped Steak Tar Tar and other seasonings. Then Chrissy arrived and Gary showed up about 25 minutes later. We were fine, until two things happened: first she and Gary had broke up, and then were acting like, well, kind of cheezy, feeding each other food and acting like they're on a date rather than hanging with a friend -- me. Gary seemed more like he was concerned that he was competing with me for her, which wasn't the case. It was all bothersome to me. But the kicker was this weird ass hole who JT and Mary were talking to and who came over to where we were. He shook Gary's hand and Chrissy's, but basically ignored me even though Gary introduced is -- until I called him on it. He then walked over, but had nothing of value to say -- I can't even remember his name. All I got from his words -- to Gary, not me, even as he was standing next to me -- was that his dad owned some resort and that he knew some woman in Chicago who was a "Wrigley" as in the chewing gum and baseball stadium.

Big deal.

But Gary and Chrissy never made an effort to stop the guy from being an ass hole, and so I was out of the conversation they all were having. I was pissed. For one thing, I never got to talk with either one of them about NFL stuff, or anything else. And Gary and I had unfinihed business that was for him, not me. And it was a friendly gesture on my part, this deal I was trying to craft for him.

As Gary was talking to the ass hole, I told Chrissy about his behavior and how from my perspective the guy may have a race issue spinning in his head. I mean he walked up and saw me, a black guy sitting with a blond woman, so he could be racist, given his response toward me. But she said "I don't understand this because I don't see color." I tried to explain to her a black person's point of view, but she wasn't listening and didn't try to, which irked me.

So, we continued to talk and M walked over. After a point she complained that Beth wasn't there and "always says she's going to be somewhere and doesn't show up," to which I quickly corrected her that her statement wasn't true and she should not even say that to Beth, explaining that I would come after her -- I was playing -- if she accused Beth of that. The reason I came off so hard was that Gary and Chrissy were nodding there head in approval of what Mary was saying, and so I got pissed. I don't like "two-faced" behavior. Beth's a friend, and so they should honor her as a good friend, not talk about her behind her back.

Mary walked back to the other side of the bar and we started talking with a gentleman named Wally, I believe. After we told jokes somehow Chrissy started talking about USC QB Matt Leinart and how she thought he was cute. I listened to her talk and then asked about Vince Young. She said "I'm not attracted to him, and I don't date athletes." So I asked if she really just preferred white athletes since Matt Leinart's also a football player. "No," she and Gary and Wally -- all of whom are white -- said.


At that point, I'd had enough. They got their bill; I paid mine. On the way out, Gary and Chrissy -- she was his ride home or whatever -- stopped to talk to Mary and JT and the other people. D Blackford, who also worked with me on the Super Bowl and stopped to talk earlier -- a good bright spot in an other wise dark evening -- asked where I was going.

"I'm leaving," I said. And that was that.

I didn't hear from Gary or Chrissy, and I didn't contact them. And it was Gary who wanted NFL business -- and I was trying to help him -- gratis. Now, I don't care one way or the other.

Earlier in the encounter Chrissy said "I don't see color." I really hate when people say that -- It's not true. No. I've never heard anyone black, Asian, or Latino or Jewish say that -- only whites who are Irish or English, but not Italian.

Those same people who say that are the first to mark "white" when stating a dating preference in a personals ad. I think Chrissy meant well and she's certainly not mean sprited, but just isn't sensitive to how what she says may impact people of color. So, in a way she's right -- she doesn't see color.

And that's the problem.

I need to blog more!

Wow, I didn't realize I had not written a single post since Wednesday. I've got to change that one. We've got over 20 blogs now, and I suppose I should establish the one-post-per-blog-per-day minimum. Sounds like a plan.

Colts GM Bill Pollian on NFL Network Now

NFL Network's Rich Eisen is talking to Indianpolis Colts President GM Bill Polian at the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine, so I thought I'd try to type what he says. The quotes are close to exact, but not right on.

On the Scouting Combine:

"First combine was in 1984 and with about 150. Now it's grown into a major event.

On Reggie Wayne's new contract and not franchising RB Edgerin James:

"Hopefully, we will be able to get him back. That may happen if there's no CBA. Reggie's been an important part of our team...We wanted to get him signed." Poliann said it would have made no sense to "tag" Edgerin as the number was "untenable."

On the 2006 draft:

We have three or four people contribute from the draft each year: Cato June, and others. The way our model is set we have to have contributions from younger players.

On the CBA:

We're wating to see what happens. All of the good things we have had come from labor peace. We've got Peyton (Manning) and Tony (Dungy) and have been to the playoffs six out of the eight years. How did we get there as a team in the smallest stadium in the league? The salary cap.

On the Competition Commiteee and Mike Holgren leaving it:

Rich Eisen asked if the Super Bowl Officiating problem had to do with it: "Absolutely not. He wants to spend more time with his family..,.He may change his mind in Florida.

Polian says that the committee is not going to look at just the officiating problem but the whole game.

That was it. Polian's off to other matters.