I know I write on a blog that knocks its boots to a tune of crass humor, dick jokes and calling Buffalo media members all sorts of defamatory names (except those names are all true, hence no defamation! ZING), but man oh man even I draw the line somewhere. Like, for instance, terrible puns that make light of real world shitty things. The kinds of puns that you find on the front or back pages of the New York "we're owned by a criminal wiretapping parent corporation and have absolutely no standards when it comes to integrity, law, morals, ethics, hygiene (see Brooks, Larry) or credibility" Post. The kinds of puns that make reasonable-thinking people cringe at the poor humor of it, not to mention that complete lack of sensitivity to the personal impact that some news stories can have on the subjects of said stories.
Like, for instance, the pun used in a screen graphic by Jonah Javad, a WGRZ sports anchor, to describe the latest news about Mario Williams' alleged struggles with suicidal thoughts and pills.
Listen, I get that this story started with news of Williams' engagement being broken off by his ex-fiancee, and that Williams was suing her for return of the ring, and that hahahahaha that's so funny because basically no millionaire athlete is ever supposed to exercise his legal rights when it comes to money because FUCK HIM HE'S RICH. TMZ had a laugh at it, I got into a spat with one of Bomani Jones' twitter followers
over the legality of conditional gifts like engagement rings and the whole thing seemed a pretty silly thing generally.
Then Mario's ex comes out with details about how he had said she could keep the ring and how the lawsuit was meant to harass her, so she counter-claims in the lawsuit and we all scratch our heads about "oh man, Mario may be an idiot lulzzzzz." But then, unexpectedly, she mentions the text messages, and the depression, and how he was talking suicide and pills and suddenly the shit isn't at all funny anymore. It's entirely too real, too serious to be funny.
And then, shortly thereafter, as if he was reporting on a last second touchdown or a player being cut or a coach being hired, Jonah Javad decides that a motherfucking pun is a good idea.
Not only are puns stupid about 80% of the time even when they're about meaningless shit like hockey games (I'm looking at you NHL dot com
), but they're downright callous when they're used to talk about real shit.
I get that, as you see above, Mr. Javad has gone on twitter to issue apologies about his intent and how he didn't mean to make light of Williams' drug use, but that he meant stupor as in "dazed." But, wait... So, in other words, Javad wasn't poking fun - because that's what a pun does, after all; if pokes fun - at the alleged use of pills, he was poking fun at Williams' more general mental state. He wasn't making a joke about, perhaps, an attempt at suicide, but really just at the depression - the daze, I guess - that led to the attempt?
Cool, because that totally doesn't contribute to the outstandingly unfair and prejudicial way that we think about mental illness in our society.
I absolutely understand that the sports media in this country, and in particular my beloved hometown, is more often than not ill-equipped to deal with the complex issues surrounding mental hygiene, particularly where the ideal of American athletes is centered on mental fortitude and any deficiencies therein are signs only of weakness. Which is why, when reporting - as they should - on the inevitable instances where the issues of mental illness and sport overlap (increasingly so with the traumatic brain injuries prevalent in football), the same bullshit shtick that can work for sports suddenly does not work anymore.
As many explanations and apologies as Mr. Javad wants to throw out, fine. I don't doubt he's an incredibly decent guy. But this shit is really inexcusable. It has to be better than this.