Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bloggolalia: Guess the Anonymous Source

Just a short column for this Friday. I'm the nosy type who always loves trying to guess who "anonymous" is in various newspaper and magazine articles. Now, when "anonymous" is identified as a government official, I have no chance of guessing correctly. There's a lot of those. But what about when your local sports columnist says "a player" said something controversial? You're in luck!

For example, when Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson were competing for the Bills QB position, an "offensive player" on the Bills team criticized Johnson's leadership. Now, why would a player on the offense criticize one of the two contestants before it was clear who was going to win? Johnson used logic, figured out it was Flutie trying to undermine him, and accused him of it. I think he was right.

Or, consider when Charlie Rosen quoted an unnamed veteran Orlando Magic player some years ago who criticized Tracy McGrady's defensive intensity. At the time, the best sources Charlie Rosen had in the league were connected to Phil Jackson in some way. Also, who on that roster was an outspoken veteran with enough credibility to challenge a superstar? Horace Grant, of course, who had played with Jordan and O'Neal and knew what a superstar should be. I figured it out, and, interestingly enough, so did Tracy, who apparently tried to fight Horace on the plane as a result.

Anyway, keep your eye out this year for those "a player" or "a coach" blurbs in your local paper. Beat writers are often not smart enough to disguise who the player is. (And frankly, in basketball, with only 15 players on the squad, it's nearly impossible to disguise identities.) A little sleuthing with a current roster in hand can often reveal the player's identity, and also make your blog more marketable because you can provide extra info on a team. Just don't be wrong!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Guest Bias: The Big Lead

Just in case you didn't know, I won The Big Lead's guest post competition for the week. I posted about the The Greatest Game Ever (That Nobody Saw). Admittedly, the post was a little sloppy in focus, because I was trying to max reader response. But the comments are great. I especially recommend Jay the Most Hated's recollection of foreshadowing a baseball calamity and Lowbar watching the Super Bowl on a ship before the signal faded...with less than a minute left in the Rams-Titans Super Bowl!

Also, you need to read The Starting Five's take on Big Box Sports Media Outlets. I am both fascinated and perturbed at how often management can spin a story to make the player look bad in the press. D-Wil shows how it has been done before.

For example, the way Brady Quinn was vilified as an ungrateful kid for not signing with Cleveland after they "saved" him by drafting him, for example, was ridiculous. By their own admission, the Browns were trying to trade for him as soon as the 13th spot. So why did so many think the Browns could lowball him when the Browns would have drafted him as high as 13th if they could have? Management bias, of course, as the GM and coach did their best to spin the story in Cleveland to make Brady look bad.

Finally, thanks to The Extrapolater, True Hoop, and others who linked to my blogger ethics post. Thanks also to all who commented, especially brave souls Jack Cobra, Jordi, and SML who answered every question. Without participation, this site is dead. I'd estimate 80% of the enjoyment I derive from this site is from feedback from the reader, so thanks.

Pure Sports: Female Jugglers

Two more juggling posts at least, reader. I know, I know, but really, there's not much else going on, and like I said, I'm rather busy nowadays. I don't have cable, so I can't give you insightful analysis of the WNBA play-offs.

I find it oddly soothing to sit back and watch the pins/balls rotate in the air to music. This one is for the female jugglers that I found on Youtube, and then I'll have two more for male jugglers and team jugglers at some point. Juggling seems to be a sport where women might be able to beat men, because of the emphasis on touch and control. I'm not sure, but I believe women are a little better at precise handiwork than men, based on scientific studies? Anyway, take a look and see if you think you could do as well.
Before I show off just how good the Russian girl is at this, here's an American girl juggling to impress her juggler boyfriend.

Caution: The following video is rated "A" for adorable. Olga Galchenko, 6 years old, juggling 3 balls at once. I can't do that now. More info about her and her brother, the juggling prodigies, at Wikipedia and Time

Olga attended circus school in Russia, where she was trained quite well in her juggling. 12 years old. Kick-up into 5 clubs. What's that? Watch.

5 clubs, on a unicycle:

5 clubs, while doing a split. Watch the end. Ouch! ha.

Here's a longer video of her practicing her solo act, still 12.

Olga and her brother then got "extraordinary talent" visas to come to the US. Olga is 17 now, starting college somewhere in the US. As always, check for more. Here's her act at 15 at the World Juggling Federation competition:

Friday, August 24, 2007

MCBias Special Investigation: Is the Gay New Jersey Net Rumor True?

Many of you no doubt remember when the rumor hit that one of the New Jersey Nets players was gay. The rumor was that he was a prominent member of the team (so it seems safe to say Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, or Jason Kidd). Also, "The NBA player, who is African American, has been linked to a number of women in the past - all of whom are Caucasian. He is also known for enjoying the night life with his teammates and good friend Tyson Beckford. For legal reasons, has decided not to print the name of the player."

Suspicion immediately centered on Richard Jefferson; after all, Jason Kidd was in the middle of a divorce, and Vince Carter was married to a black woman. However, there was some interesting evidence that I found from Adrian Wojnarowski that the rumor itself was planted from Joumana Kidd:
"Around the organization, they believe Joumana plans to deliver damaging information on Jason and possibly his teammates. This could test the limits of locker room peace and the rush of a resurgent Nets season." and
"As the Kidd marriage dissolved in recent months, there was one Net who told people that he believed Joumana was responsible for spreading falsehood stories about his lifestyle...In the end, he didn't have proof – just sharp suspicions."

Nets fan blogs appear split. El Friends Du Nenad also noted that it appeared Joumana was behind the rumor. However, in June gigginonya had a different perspective when they learned that Richard Jefferson was engaged.

So what is the truth? Is Richard Jefferson the gay Net, or is the rumor false? Using the extensive on-line sources available to a blogger with my clout (err, that means I used Google image search and Flickr), I present to you some candid photos of RJ with ladies and men alike.
The strongest piece of evidence that the rumor was wrong is this picture:
The picture is from the premiere of ELF, and says "Nets Richard Jefferson (Thanks Justin) and his Beautiful Gal pal." I don't think the girl is Caucasian (light-skinned black or Indian?). So the rumor is even more shaky; it can't be RJ, because here he is with a gal pal that's not Caucasian.

There are also pictures of RJ at the opening of what appears to be a strip club. And for once he's actually smiling; in most pictures I'll show you, he's not.

Although I have to admit, this fan seems a little too comfortable around RJ:

In the end, I think there's a better than 80% chance the rumor isn't true. It seems clear that the Nets believe Joumana Kidd made up the rumor, even though no one will say so on the record. And if you read the rumor, it doesn't fit RJ, either. Remember, RJ was overseas when he was younger; so how could he still have kept in touch with the "childhood friend" the rumor refers too? It's a shame that an anonymous rumor like this is going to follow RJ for the rest of his career, especially if it's not true. It's even more unfair because it appears it was done to intentionally smear him, if Joumana Kidd really was behind this. The rest of the photos from my investigation are below. Click the pictures for larger versions.

Richard Jefferson in Miami

ME and Richard Jefferson at an airport

Fellow Wildcats

i love you richard jefferson

me and richard jefferson

Me and RJ

New York, New York 066

richard jefferson & rachel.

Richard Jefferson and Me

Richard Jefferson and other tall people at 18 Lovers to celebrate Will's bday
There's several ballers in this picture; is the white guy possibly Luke Walton? And who's the guy in white? Ah, questions, questions...but once again, RJ has his Yankees hat.

yes.... that is richard jefferson

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blogger Ethics 101

I know, gentle readers. You're thinking "When will MCBias return with posts about actual sports instead of juggling videos and self-referential blogging tripe?" Ooh, that reminds me, this really good juggling video came out yesterday. Err, I mean, my knowledge of baseball nowadays is minimal. So I don't want to embarrass myself there or insult your intelligence. And I get the feeling my readers are even more annoyed by my WNBA posts. So, with due apologies, this blog is going to continue to be a little off-beat until the NFL and NBA start up.

One thing I never expected when I started this site were ethical dilemmas. Yet, in the past 8 months, I've had quite a few. I was wondering, what would you have done in these situations? Some are silly; others are rather important.

Dilemma: To what extent should I exploit athletes and fans?
1. While attempting to find photos for my "Superstar Be" series, I came across several photos of NBA players having a private party on a boat with some women. The photos themselves were fairly tame; the women were clothed, etc. But this wasn't that far removed from the Vikings scandal, and with the right post treatment, it would have attracted a lot of attention. To post or not to post?
2. I also found a picture of an NBA star visibly drunk at a wedding, another of said NBA player shirtless, and some videos and pictures of drunk fans supporting their favorite team and carousing. The fan stuff was borderline "R"-rated stuff, but nothing illegal. Do I post them here or forward them to some other blogger, or forget what I found? To post or not to post?
3. A friend told me he had met an NFL scout at a wedding, who proceeded to inform him about the drinking habits and homosexuality of two players in the league. To post or not to post?
4. On another photo search, I found some suggestively posed pictures of an attractive U-20 female athlete on her site. It was clear that she meant them for her friends to see to think she's hot (low self-esteem among young female athletes about their looks is a frustrating topic for another day). Should one post those pictures since no password was required to obtain them, or try to warn the athlete "Your swimsuit photos should probably be protected or hidden in some way."?
5. Often, news coverage makes it easy to bash athletes in a paint-by-numbers, stereotypical way; the young, rich arrogant minority male, the older, intolerant, white male, the unattractive, athletic female, etc. It requires a little fudging of the person's actions and personality to do so, as very few athletes fit the profile exactly. To what extent should one bash athletes sans nuance just for the sake of appearing strong and authoritative?
6. I was at a female sporting event and taking pictures of the players. One player's pose that she did for me would have made her look silly if I took the picture and posted it on the Internet. Do you tell her to fix what need fixed, or mutter "I'm not really media" and slip her your phone #, or do you snap the picture anyway?
7. Most male bloggers really don't know who the attractive female athletes are (I've noticed a sudden surge in this category recently, but not before now). Should one feature any female athletes on their blog as sex symbols (rather than as athletes or people) or send links to other male bloggers, knowing full well that this could cause the athletes stalking problems or unwanted attention?
8. An athlete who shares my religious beliefs does some scandalous things, and somehow most bloggers miss the full story. Do I break the full story (again, nothing illegal took place to my knowledge), knowing that it will give people ammo to bash his and my faith, or let the story die down?

Dilemma: To what extent should I exploit my fellow bloggers and other writers?
1. I noticed that an ESPN personality strongly hinted that she was not sexually straight around the time Meech's book came out. However, she wouldn't quite say it plainly. Force her out with a post, or let it go, assuming she wasn't ready quite yet to share the full truth?
2. Several times I have gotten in some small flame wars on rather popular sites. If I would really go after the person, and not apologize, it would draw a lot of attention to this blog. Plus it would make me feel really good. And I felt the people I was arguing with were vulnerable enough that I could also get the commentariat to turn on them. To flame or not to flame?
3. A fellow sports blogger shared my taste in females in his Myspace friends section. He didn't appear to have "real" relationships with some of them, either; I was pretty sure some of them were of the "search and add" variety. Is it right to shamelessly piggyback off his friend list or not?
4. The Ladies... Hot Blogger contest featured a lot of machismo, as you would expect. I quickly realized I had no shot at winning, and that I would really enjoy mocking some of the more pretentious entries via some tasteless posters. To humiliate male bloggers and get more traffic for my own blog at their expense, or not?
5. A female blogger caught my eye when I realized she was an attractive woman. If I was so inclined, I could use my blog as an excuse to "talk shop" and befriend her. Is using a sports blog as an excuse to get closer to pretty women shady or not? (Oh man, I'm a little afraid to read just how enthusiastically some of you bloggers will say there's nothing wrong with this. I'm baiting you!).
6. Criticizing big names in blogging tends to cut down my chances of getting a link from them. On the other hand, criticizing small names in blogging looks petty and cheap. Kick up, kick down, or never kick at all?
7. Do you comment on sites that you disagree with their mission or style to increase my own hits from new visitors, or not? If I secretly think that your writing and thought processes rival that of someone on the cusp of puberty, do I still leave a "great blog, man" comment, or just leave the site alone?
8. In general, to what extent do you make clear to bloggers and readers your biases in religion? politics? sexuality? Those things make a difference in what stories you choose to cover and how you frame them. Is it fair not to lay out the facts up front?

Let me know your own ethical dilemmas in the comment section. Look, we're not going to create a class or 10-step program. Everyone blogs for fun and makes their own ethical decisions. But I think that it's good to realize that there are more ethical dilemmas out there than you would think, and it's good to know your own policies and morals before you run into a dilemma.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Blogging Laws I Like to Break, Part 3

Ok, I warned of less frequent posting ahead, and it starts next week. So I'm leaving you with one of my more controversial Blogging Law entries today, to make up for it. Don't forget to keep an eye on, a video project soon to be released by the Cavalier of fame.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of my Blogging Laws series if you wish.
9. You shall constantly remind us how superior you are to ESPN and other MSM. You shall also hint about how daring you are to "speak truth to power."
It's good to see the blogger backlash to the ESPN backlash starting. I too wonder if there is significant overlap between the ESPN linkers and the ESPN haters. While The Starting Five and Leave the Man Alone have been doing a great job covering issues related to Michael Vick, bloggers aren't linking to them. Instead they are linking to ESPN. I'm not seeing any type of conscious effort to escape ESPN; I'm just seeing a lot of armchair whining.

In the past few years, ESPN has shut down Page 3, hidden Page 2, and canceled the Playmakers series. They got rid of Mark Shapiro, who was responsible for the "Sports is Entertainment" push. Yet they still get flack for "not being sports enough" from bloggers. Those bloggers are the very ones who do soft posts that don't have much to do with sports. In other words, ESPN is their competition!

Really, are you going to believe "Wal-mart is evil" signs when they all have been made by the local store-owner? Agenda much?! Don't you think that if ESPN showed Will Leitch, the writers of The Big Lead, or nearly any professional blogger 200 G's a year to blog on Page 2, they'd leave in a heartbeat? I do. And it doesn't count if you speak truth to power and there's no possibility of a backlash. Look at the hits from the blogs that criticize ESPN; the most-visited posts come from their criticism. Bias much? Read more about my views on blogger hating here.

10. You shall randomly insert pictures of hot models/actresses/singers to improve the mediocrity of your text.
You know by now that I certainly don't disapprove of posting pictures of females in general. Let me clarify with three points.
* It's one thing to have a headshot of an attractive woman. It's another thing to post shots of the "90% of me is bare, except for 3 squares of cloth" variety. I do most of my Net surfing in public areas. Do you know how irritating it is to constantly have to resize/minimize the screen while reading a sports blog so you don't get the "MCBias, is that porn?!" comment from a coworker/librarian/parents/ladies? Somehow I don't think my squeaking "Um, no, it's sports!" is going to rescue me from an uncomfortable situation.
* If images of pretty girls that have nothing to do with sports are why you read sports blogs, um, well, you need lots of help. We're supposed to be sports bloggers. Yes, hot women may take up the 95% of our thoughts not devoted to sports blogging, ha, but we can compartmentalize this much, right?
* Additionally, how are we ever going to get any female readers if we're objectifying them left and right? That's precisely the reason I have soured on What legitimate comment can I leave to a post that objectifies men? "Um, I always thought Athlete X had cute hair too"?!
Aside: I've done my best to make this site as female-friendly as possible while still being true to what I like. I've intentionally recruited women to comment on this site, talked about women's issues, and attempted to befriend nearly every female sports blogger there is. Besides the obvious that I enjoyed doing those things in and of themselves (and making my fellow bloggers envious at times, heh), I did so because I know female traffic makes most sites. Women are more loyal readers in my limited experience, and also where women go, men follow. It's not just common sense to make your site more female-friendly, it helps the bottom-line too, in my opinion. We can't all live off white male readers in their 20's, ha.

11. You shall brag about your journalism or English-related degree as if it makes you more qualified to blog.
This may be the most controversial blog law that I criticize, because certainly my love affair with semicolons, "heh", and "?!" may have been hammered out of me had I majored in English. But it annoys me when someone mentions that they have such a degree with the hint that it makes their blog automatically better than those who are not similarly educated. For example, because I have some decent training in technology, I am able to add/find some content that I would bet journalists cannot. I am probably being overly sensitive about this, but it still does annoy me. I don't think bloggers are journalists. I have no idea what we are, but it's not journalists, I'm pretty sure.

Pure Sports: Galchenko, Volume 1

Dear readers, you are surprisingly patient with my randomness, and once again I'll test you. I've become fascinated with juggling on YouTube, and some of those videos will be finding their way here. I know juggling is on the edge of being a sport for many of you, but I ask you to give the videos a chance; you may like them too.

This is a video of Vova Galchenko juggling in his hometown of Russia. I love the visuals of him juggling with statues, tanks, and trains in the background.

Find out more about the Galchenkos at Here is a video of his girlfriend, also juggling.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bloggolalia: Bloggers Meet People in Person?!

Lately, I have been made aware of a shocking trend in the blog world. Apparently, male and female bloggers alike are meeting IN PERSON, and potentially even starting relationships. I present to you evidence here (see Update), here (see question about dating a blogger), and here. Now, there have been plenty of blogger meet-ups here and there, but I am amused that documentation of actual relationships or planned 1-1 meetings is appearing. What do you think about this? Besides the easy joke that you thought blogging was done to keep females away, not to bring them closer?

In my own opinion, I've been involved in online communities before this one, and think that meeting in person is a little overrated. I spent a lot of time trying to plan some blogger get-togethers, and usually they either fall through or are rather mediocre. Now, maybe that's because I was involved, ha. But I just feel like cautioning my fellow blogger buddies that the in-person meet-and-greet can also mean that you realize that you wasted those 5 hours a week talking to Commenter X on-line. Meeting in person fundamentally changes the relationship, for good or bad. Frankly, it usually moves it in the direction of truth and realism. That can be a good thing, but it also means that you sadly realize that your on-line buddy is not as cool/attractive/whatever as you thought. I shall now break my fingers before I give any examples as to what I'm talking about.

Anyway, sorry this was a rather mediocre post, but I had some time to kill and didn't want to waste any of my better ideas.

Monday, August 13, 2007

AV Monday: Maria Sharapova

I've given Elie Seckbach a hard time in the past, but he recently interviewed Maria Sharapova, and I thought it was worth linking to.

A few hurried thoughts. I intentionally have paid no attention to women's tennis in a while. I didn't like how the players' sexiness trumped ability in the way the sport was portrayed, and most of the players also seemed obnoxious. Amusingly, Maria is the opposite for me; not physically attractive in this video, but also someone who seems friendly and a nice person. Anyway, apologies for the boring analysis, but I had an attack of blogger guilt for posting up a video sans commentary.

EDIT And now, I have to go track down some fan pictures too as usual. Why do I feel so guilty for not making a perfect post for my limited readership when I have a very important work meeting in an hour? Please don't answer that. Not much of a selection, to be honest, except for the Lebron James and Maria Sharapova candids. Otherwise, doesn't look like she gets out and mingles with the average fan too much.

Maria Sharapova i Jessie

Maria Sharapova and LeBron James


Soooo hot

Me and Maria

Matty with Maria... The kids never been happier

Amanda and Maria Sharapova

nancy with maria sharapova 12-12-6 at land rover

Suzy (8th and Ocean) and Maria Sharapova

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bloggers Going (Semi-Sort of-Kind of) Big-Time

Just to mention a few bloggers moving up in the world:
Will Leitch is occasionally a contributor on Red Eye, the 2AM show on Fox News. I found this out by being up too late one night and being confronted by his smiling face while channel-flipping. Kind of frightening, actually. For the record, he was not wearing a black t-shirt, and did a decent job. The show itself was amusing but rather sensationalistic (wait a minute...that's just like Deadspin! what a coincidence! heh).

A new You-Tube sports show is up, titled Bleacher Bloggers. I am excited about this, because I still think there is a gaping market need for good sports video online. It included another talented video-blogger, Yankees Chick. Listen to her talk about what it's like to be a female blogger at the 3.5 minute mark. I was saddened by her answer. I have this idea that it must be great to be outnumbered 9 to 1 by the opposite gender in your hobby, ha, but I underestimate the cruelty of people. The issue of female sports bloggers being disrespected will be a future post on this blog, now that I'm more aware of it. I'm curious as to how bad things are. I'm also mulling a strategy for fixing some of those problems. If you are by some chance a female sports blogger, comment or talk to me, I may need your help with said solution.

In addition, the 2 Michelles are going on the road this year to EVERY NFL game of the Dolphins. (And don't you know, I will not be in town the week the Dolphins play my team. Commence mutterings of regret under my breath). What's cool is that they will get their video on the Dolphins web-site; go to their site to see the good news.

Finally, I thought Matt Ufford's post on the Seattle Seahawks on was one of the best-written and sincere blog posts I've ever read. Of course, that meant it was treated rather harshly by the commenters. I haven't minded criticizing Ufford or other writers before when necessary. But when he does a great job, I'm going to say so, and he did.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hank Aaron's Shrewd Suffering

Like many of you, I was paying attention to the Bonds at-bat yesterday. I heard the at-bat live, and was surprised to hear the Hank Aaron video commentary afterward. What surprised me more today is how little credit he's getting for it. Here's a man whose record that he worked so hard to obtain is being taken from him. Worse, it appears that Barry Bonds, the man who is breaking his record, is cheating. And yet, he is willing to offer congratulations to Barry on the accomplishment. No one would blame Hank Aaron if he decided to stay away or made bitter comments about Barry once Barry broke the record. But instead, we have Hank Aaron, willing to put the game first and think "Innocent until Proven Guilty", offering congratulations to Barry Bonds. I thought the videotaped message was an impressive act that let Hank look like a martyr of sorts while still giving him wiggle room should Barry Bonds be convicted of steroid use. Just masterful on many, many levels, and I was surprised so many writers/analysts brushed it off so quickly in today's articles. I'm sure that as you read this Hank Aaron is sending off his bathrobe proclaiming him as "The Greatest Home-Run Hitter Of All-Time" so that they can stitch "All-Natural" in between Greatest and Home-Run, heh.

Also, can we please have a moment to honor some other people who worked very hard on a project for a long time. They worked hard to do the best they could, and for a long time they did it the right way, the natural way. But then, one day, they decided to bend the rules a little bit; they got their hands om some illegal substances. And they injected those illegal substances into their project. Their names? Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. The project? The book Game of Shadows, designed to expose cheats. The illegal substance? sealed grand-jury testimony that itself was illegal for them to have. Cheats writing books about cheats? I think that Barry cheated. But I still think Mark and Lance got way too much sympathetic press from their writer brethren. They too cheated. And the Game of Shadows book is forever tainted in my eyes.

New blog laws on Friday, hopefully.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Open Bias: Is the WNBA Too Black for You?

It's old, but I found this blooper tape of WNBA Draft Picks in 2004 trying to say "Go Girl World" rather amusing.

Anyway, I got myself down to my local pizza shop to watch the Detroit Shock play the San Antonio Silver Stars. Detroit won a close game. It was a good game, as it should have been; Detroit and SA lead their conferences.
Aside: Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn NEED to coach in the NBA. They are still Bad Boys to the core and each got a technical foul. After Mahorn got his, he surreptitiously adjusted his glasses with his middle finger, knowing that the TV was panning on his face. Laimbeer also informed his team or the sideline announcer (forget which) that "Because the game's on TV, they'll call more fouls against us to keep it close."
Anyway, I still had to wonder, "Why isn't the WNBA more popular?" I personally like basketball in general, so I like the WNBA as well. The WNBA people I observed at the WNBA draft seemed pleasant and interesting. I've talked about this before and given suggestions for improvement. But I thought it'd be more interesting to link to some complaints about the WNBA. And I have to give my dark hypothesis, after trying to put a nice face on things in my previous analysis.

Hypothesis: The WNBA is too black (and thus, unattractive) for white males, who form the majority of the sports-viewing public. Thus they do not watch.

I decided to interview my favorite white male; myself. I did an informal study of WNBA players by looking at last names that begin with A-G on the WNBA list of players. (Yes, random sampling would have been best, for you stat heads). Here are my results.
32 of the 50 players were black.
From the pictures of the players in uniform from, I thought 4 out of 50 players were moderately attractive or higher.
Allowing myself to google players who might be "on the bubble" and also relying on my memory, I bumped that up to 12 of the 50 players.
Of that total, TWO of the 12 were black. What does this mean?

I graded 2 out of 32 black players as of at least average looks (Nikki Blue and Swin Cash, for the record) and 10 out of the 18 white players as of at least average looks. In other words, my measurement is about what you'd expect when I grade white players; about half of them are of average looks or higher, half are below. But when I grade black players, I find less than 10% of them of even average looks. And I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded person, and I like the WNBA and have no problem with female athletes. Yet I still come up with that result. One has to conclude either that I am racially biased to think that white women are prettier than black women, or that my sample was somehow biased.

Now I'm sure some people are going to accuse me of racial bias or being myopic. That's ok; it's worth it to prove the larger point here. And I challenge you to do a similar study with the list and tell me what you find. It's more people than just me. I recently read something that really opened my mind on this issue. White people, where do you think black people ranked TV shows like Friends? Seinfeld? You think they enjoyed those shows as much as you did? Ask some of your black friends. You might be surprised by the answer. (Idea for this courtesy of the Bias book by Bernard Goldberg.) On TV, we want people who share our skin color (or, even worse, who look just like us). That's who we find most attractive. And that's why the WNBA will never catch on with the majority of the viewing public.