Players From Mars – Fans From Venus

June26/ 2010

With everyone lathered up over sports agents and athletes, this is an appropriate time to bring up some serious ponderables.   Today’s title comes from a psycho-babble book about men & women being different.
This column is a bit longer than a normal column.  I’m hitting you with both barrels to get it over with.  There is a bathroom break 2/3 way thru.
Will the sensible insights I’ve pointed out in recent columns make the slightest difference in UNC Athletics or College Sports.  No, not the slightest.  Although, “insiders” with more public cred than I have, tell me I’m “nailing it”.
Has anything caused you to question paradigms you hold sacred ?  Reconsider a few assumptions?  Most importantly, has doing so been entertaining?  Most of this comes down to personal opinions.  Yours is the only one that really matters to you.  Right?


Some fans say “paying college athletes” will solve all the problems.   Some fans say “a free education” is enough payment.  Both are trite and should be ignored.   The problems with college athletics will outlive Kindly Ol’ Bill Friday and Kindly Ol’ BobLee. May outlive Marvin too.

SEC FB coaches like Saban and Miles and Spurrier are trashing “sports agents” as sleazy pimps.   Isn’t that like Kim Jong Il telling us Hugo Chavez is a bed-wetter?


College football players have always been a swaggering bunch.  Red Grange swaggered (and galloped) around The Univ of Illinois.  Jim Thorpe swaggered around Carlisle Indian School.  A lot of my friends swaggered around UNC in the late 60s.

Swaggering = boys being boys i.e. commiting petty crimes.  It’s being bigger & stronger than others and simply because.  Swaggering at UNC (and NCSU) prior to the late 60s was all done by white boys. …… If Alonzo Squires was standing in the Frankin / Columbia intersection urinating at midnight – white athletes put him there.  If a big boy hit a little boy at a frat party – the big boy was a white athlete.   There was beer and liquor.  But no drugs to speak of.


Some white athletes came from wealthy families. 90% came from the middle class spectrum.  A few even came from hard-scrabble situations.  In the 60s there were less than ten black athletes TOTAL at UNC.  About the same or fewer at NCState.  There was one very dominant “culture” at UNC and NCSU and everyone embraced it.


A lot of the UNC / NCSU fans who matriculated back then now hold positions of influence at their alma maters and in their communities.  Their memories of UNC athletes, while no longer valid, are still firmly held.


In the 60s:
98% of the fans in Kenan Stadium or Riddick & Carter Stadium were white.


Players from Venus – Fans from Venus too. 
Even the players from Venus/New York at least looked like the fans from Venus/Sanford. 40 years later, different paradigms are in place.

85% of the FB and BB athletes at UNC / NCSU are African American.  That % is higher if you only consider the two deep depth chart.   FB walk-ons and Carolina BB’s cute little “biscuit boys” skew the #s slightly.

With all due respect to the cohesive magic of “diversity”, cultural chasms exists in the US of A …. and specifically, in college football.  Mars has a culture – Venus has quite another.

…. 94%+ of the fans in Kenan And Carter-Finley are still white.  85% of the gladiators toiling on those arena floors are black.  A goodly number of those black gladiators come from impoverished situations with cultures VERY different from “suite people”..


Q:  BobLee, are ALL black athletes from impoverished situations?
A:  No, but apparently many are.  It is a convenient stereotype depending on one’s agenda.

Q:  BL, what’s the connection between impoverished situations and athletic prowess?
A:  I have no idea.  If anyone does, let me know.
Q:  Is black culture “bad” or just “different from white culture”?
A:  I’m pretty sure “just different” but different is not always appreciated by differing cultures.


Players now from Mars – Fans still from Venus.  


Jock swaggering is no more/less than its ever been.   85% of swaggering athletes will commit 85% of the mischief.


If you have noticed that UNC FB/BB athletes are

Keen perception of the obvious.

now predominately black, you are not “a racist”.  You have a keen perception of the obvious.

If the predominance of black athletes in FB and BB bothers you you might (1) sign up for sensitivity training or (2) become a soccer or baseball fan.
If you think it makes no difference whatsoever.  You are into terminal naïveté.
Players Are From Mars – Fans Are From Venus.
It makes a difference.

UNC fans learned more about Marvin Austin the past ten days than they really wanted to know.  His physical appearance, his language, his general deportment, his style.   Date a girl for three years, then one day see her without make-up !!

After three years in Chapel Hill, Marvin Austin is still Marvin From Inner City DC,    He is not Marvin From Meadowmont.  His Pygmalion clean-up didn’t take at all.  Marvin came to UNC from a quite different culture.  Apparently he decided to keep the culture he came with.  Does that bother you?  Is this conversation making you uncomfortable?  Why?
Has seeing those “dreads” hanging out of Marvin’s helmet for three years bothered some of you?  The Kupec brothers nor Buddy Curry wore “dreads”.


If you are a UNCer from the 60s, Ricky Packard was in your Geology 101 class.  Brandon Spoon lived in the apartment above your son in summer school.  Mark Paschal’s mom and dad go to your church.  Do you have a personal connection to any player on the current UNC FB team?   Had you ever thought about that before right now?


Is the reality:
You have no connection to them
…… except for your enjoyment on Fall Saturdays.

They have no connection to you
…… just preparation for “the league”.


Every college has its legendary campus jock tales.  Those ribald tales grow larger with each telling.  “Two blondes in Larry Miller’s corvette” becomes “four Playboy bunnies and Kitty Carmichael in a French maid costume.”  Such is the evolution of ribald jock tales.   98% of UNC fans vicariously imagined partying with Mills.


How many UNC fans imagined themselves at that South Beach pool party with Marvin and the Lil’ Nell-ettes , swigging Purple Drank while poppin’ caps at passing porpoises in the Intercoastal.  Do you know what Purple Drank is?


Marvin Austin is an extreme exaggeration of UNC FB 2010.  Chris Washburn & Charles Shackleford were extreme exaggerations of NCSU BB in the 80s.


Butch & Blake are not recruiting Angels or Thugs.  They are simply recruiting the biggest, fastest, strongest, most aggressive football talent they can get.  Thugs often get caught in that net.  Angels rarely do.  I don’t know why.  Is that OK with you?  Yes, is an acceptable answer.


Q:  BobLee, Why do Butch/Blake and Roy primarily recruit black athletes?
A:  Willie Sutton robbed banks because “that’s where the money is”.   Black athletes in FB and BB are better than white athletes.

Q:  BobLee, why is that?
A:  There are many theories involving physiology, kinesiology and, sociology.  One of those “ology” theories is probably correct.  I don’t know which one.
Q:  BobLee, Suppose Butch and Roy were asked to recruit more white athletes?
A:   (1) It would generate some terrific column fodder for me.  (2) Our current W-L % would diminish considerably and (3) the slimey agents lurking on the UNC campus would hand out different shiny baubles.
Q:  BL, are black athletes more susceptible to the siren’s song of sleazy agents?
A:  I don’t think so.  I believe “culture” and “character” are unrelated. A sleazy siren can sing in many styles.  Many might disagree with me at this point.

The price of seats (and suites) keeps going higher.  The culture gap twixt the country club/corporate fans and the gladiatorial entertainment on the floor of the arena grows wider and wider.  It will be even wider in 3-5-7 years.

If they tuck that funny hair inside their helmets and wear high socks to cover their calves; could you pretend it was Don McCauley or Harris Barton or Jeff Saturday.  Would that reduce the perceived cultural chasm?

To graybeards, Carolina Football is still “Choo Choo”.  To my momma who died at 93 six years ago, Carolina Basketball was Rusty Clark.  Very tall – very white – became a doctor.  That worked really well for a lot of UNC fans besides my mother.   Who personifies Carolina Football and Basketball to you?

BobLee …. we get your point.  Talk about Basketball.  OK.


This is the bathroom break I promised you.  

You’ve got eight minutes.   GO!



For 40 years Carolina Basketball really hasn’t changed its culture OR HAS IT. OK, a couple of scary guys over 40 years but easy to overlook a Makhtar Rasheed a Rashad.  As team ethnicity % shifted the “look” of Carolina BB stayed the same.  Polite, clean-cut, Gerald Unk’s lasagna, Alexander Julian shirts/ties.   OOPS … how many remember “the pissed-off posse”?


The one break in those 40 years was The Doherty Era.  Matt actually said he wanted “a team of Mandingo warriors”.  Look up the term if you are clueless.   Think Big East Basketball.

Recall the scene at Matt’s Public Lynching w/ Meez and Dickie hemming and hawing while the media snapped photos of “the pissed-off posse” on the front row ….. Felton, May, McCants, et al decked out in FUBU, cornrows and angry defiance.


EMTs in Charlotte treated sixteen cases of “the vapors” among the ladies bridge circle at Quail Hollow Country Club.  A Cultural chasm in Carolina BB was unsettling.


Ol’ Roy ran the FUBU posse thru the Carolina basketball bleaching machine.  VOILA!  On that glory road to St Louis the former FUBU warriors were sportin’ Brooks Brothers button downs and peace was restored at Quail Hollow.  Speaking of Quail Hollow, Johnny Harris & his South Park Pals won the lottery to become Butch’s official Carolina friends.   Nothing wrong with that.  All fine folks far as I know.


Roy knows that fan perception is all that really matters in keepin’ the peace in Dean’s Dome.  Lets mask that cultural chasm, or simply have “them” look and act like “us”.  OK, that works.


BB Players From Mars (or Poplar Bluff) – but look/act like Fans From Venus after Roy cleans them up to.  Compare Marvin Austin to Marcus Ginyard  huumm.




In three years, no one has found the courage to tell Butch what shade Carolina blue is.   Who is going to suggest he borrow some of Roy’s Carolina bleach to “Carolina culturify” Blake’s Bully Boys.  Here’s a thought – If Butch Davis doesn’t know Carolina “blue” maybe he doesn’t know Carolina “culture” either ! Has anyone ever seen him wearing tassel loafers …. with no socks?

Could Butch still be stuck in “Univ Miami culture”?  Do you much care?  Does Johnny Harris much care?  Does it matter what rival fans say?  What does matter about college sports?

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