Thursday, January 23, 2003
One good man can make a difference
By Jason Whitlock Page 2 columnist
So I've been invited to Hugh Hefner's Super Bowl party on Saturday night in San Diego.
Normally, I wouldn't think twice about attending such a drab event the night
before the big game. As a serious football journalist, the 24 hours before
kickoff are best spent locked in a sportswriting war room with Len
Pasquarelli, John Clayton, Peter King, Adam Schefter, Thomas George and
Clarence Hill, going over potential blocking schemes to combat Tampa Bay's
Was Britney selling a soft drink last year ... or sex? The NFL should distance itself from such exploitation.
Plus, I have some strong reservations about the NFL associating itself with
Hef's Playboy magazine, a wonderfully written rag that promotes itself by
objectifying young, curvaceous women as nothing more than sexual playthings
Seriously, when is the NFL going to draw a line in the dirt, do the right
thing and distance itself from advertisers and companies that profit from
promoting sex? The beer commercials that are played between breaks in the
game have gotten completely out of hand. While I don't particularly
understand what all the fuss is about the Miller Lite commercial that shows
two athletic women settling a great-taste-less-filling debate by shredding
each others' clothes and wrestling in the mud, I am absolutely mortified and
repulsed by the latest Budweiser ad.
You've seen the ad? A couple is sitting on a couch watching a sporting event
and the woman keeps making thinly veiled references to the size of the guy's
manhood. "You have such cute little hands," she coos at the end of the
This is just the kind of trash TV that is ruining our youth and sends a
terrible, self-confidence-destroying message to young men. And just think
about the negative, totally inaccurate stereotypes that are subtly being
forced on the minds of impressionable young women. I mean, we're in the 21st
century, we're allegedly a sophisticated society. Size is completely
I'm not afraid to admit it. I have cute little hands. A firm, warm handshake
is oftentimes the first impression a man makes on a woman. Now, because of
this sexist, dehumanizing, filthy beer ad, I'll never comfortably shake hands
with another woman. Now, when meeting a woman for the first time, I'll be
reduced to making some gesture or motion that draws attention to my size 13
We're counting on Jason to investigate the truth of what goes on at the Playboy party.
At some point, if Tagliabue and the league want to be taken seriously, they
need to publicly stand against the forces that profit from the exploitation
and ridicule of men with cute little hands. As Johnnie Cochran so eloquently
put it: "If the motion in the ocean is right, the glove that protects the
love doesn't have to fit tight."
So for all of these reasons, I considered boycotting Hef's Super Bowl party.
But then I thought about it. I'm a journalist. I'm against war, but that
wouldn't stop me from going to Iraq to report on a war. On the contrary, as a
journalist, the No. 1 story I want to cover is a war.
So it only makes sense that a man committed to ending pornography would have
a natural lust to party with Hef and his bunnies Super Bowl week.
I need to fully understand this issue. The most effective and efficient way
to bring about change is to work from within the system. I need to attend
this party for you, readers of this column. It's important that I go to the
front lines of the sexual-exploitation industry so that you don't ever have to
go there yourself. I'll make the sacrifice and report back to you what I see,
what I feel, what I smell, what I hear. I'll land as many one-on-one,
in-depth interviews and photos with scantily clad Playmates as I possibly can.
But I need your help. Having never attended one of these decadent events, I
need some recommendations on what I should wear, whether I should take a date
and how I should interact with the Playmates.
Should I dress like Hef and wear a smoking jacket and pajama pants? Or should
I put on my best Troy McSwain-tailored suit? Should I lie and tell the
Playmates that I'm Nate Newton visiting the Super Bowl on a weekend furlough
and that I have a bag of the sticky-ickee-ickee back in my hotel room? Given
Hef's penchant for dating multiple women at the same time, should I attend
the party stag or bring a potential, undiscovered Miss April?
If you have any suggestions, drop me an e-mail at Ballstate0@aol.com. I'll
try to respond before Saturday night.
Jason Whitlock is a regular columnist for the Kansas City Star (kcstar.com), the host of a morning-drive talk show, "Jason Whitlock's Neighborhood" on Sports Radio 810 WHB (810whb.com) and a regular contributor on ESPN The Magazine's Sunday morning edition of The Sports Reporters.