How does it feel now, Johnny Mac? How does it feel when you’re falsely accused and have to defend yourself, by yourself, against absurd accusations?
How does John McEnroe think Doug Adler felt — and still feels — when McEnroe cowardly took a pass after their network, ESPN, fired Adler for being a racist based on a claim McEnroe knew to be preposterous?
In a world gone nuts, now McEnroe is on the defensive for inane claims that he deeply and publicly offended a young woman, recent U.S. Open champ Emma Raducanu, this summer after the 18-year-old Brit withdrew during a match at Wimbledon due to “breathing troubles.”
Drawing upon his own excessively nervous experience as an 18-year-old playing at Wimbledon against Jimmy Connors, McEnroe, working the tournament for the BBC, said it appeared Raducanu’s nerves “just got a little bit too much” for her.
And now, after Raducanu’s thoroughly unexpected victory in Flushing, McEnroe is being bashed for his bashing of Radacanu, which, of course, is ridiculous as he never came close to bashing her.
As McEnroe last week told CNN, “I meant exactly what I said.”
What’s the big deal? There is none. But these are days when anyone who chooses to make a big deal out of nothing will succeed, especially if fabricated furor can be attached to race, gender or politics.
But again, where was McEnroe to defend Adler when the entire tennis and TV media and anyone in the game who could apply logic and reason to the facts abandoned him after he was fired by ESPN as a full-fledged racist during the 2017 Australian Open?
Adler was summarily canned after a stringer for The New York Times tweeted a lie — that Adler had, for no given reason, just called Venus Williams “a gorilla,” when, in fact, Adler praised her with, “You see Venus move in and put the guerrilla effect on, charging.”
“Guerilla tennis” by then had become such a common phrase that Nike made an ad campaign in 1995 starring Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras playing “Guerrilla Tennis.”
But ESPN, always cowardly and selectively petrified by the most dubious of racial claims, panicked. It fired Adler in anticipation of a Times follow-up that never came — likely because The Times knew its reporter had been recklessly wrong.
Yet no one stood up Adler, not Nike-funded McEnroe and not Nike, which was busy backing radicalized Colin Kaepernick’s anti-Americanism. All silently allowed the gross injustice perpetrated against Adler.
And the one person who could have put a quick end to the unjust, insane and now four-year persecution of Adler, Venus Williams, didn’t want any part of it. She knew Adler had used a tennis term, that he did not call her a “gorilla.” She could have saved Adler’s career, his reputation and his health — he soon after had a stress-related heart attack.
But she took a pass, with, “I pay attention and address situations that are noteworthy.’’ So she allowed an innocent man to walk the plank now reserved for accused racists, real or imagined. She could still throw Adler a life ring, but she might still consider the continuing, Devil’s Island-doom of an innocent soul a “situation” that’s not “noteworthy.”
Ah, but now the kicker. This past Monday, The Times’ guest columnist was Nike-funded Venus Williams. She wrote about the importance of maintaining and improving her physical and mental health. And she advocates that we all show more sensitivity and help toward the misfortunate.
She ended it with, “Let’s show up for ourselves and for one another and recognize what it takes to be strong.”
Quite candidly and indelicately, I wanted to puke.
Collinsworth commentary just keeps coming & coming
I wonder if NBC is aware that Cris Collinsworth is not the same analyst it hired back from Fox in 2006, that after roughly seven hours of watching Sunday afternoon football, few are in the mood to 3 ¹/₂ hours of a fellow who has become a know-it-all blowhard who gives whistle-to-next-snap lectures.
NBC and Collinsworth on Sunday have Chiefs-Ravens. Consider that fair warning.
Patriots-Jets on CBS Sunday, has “Hollerin’ ” Kevin Harlan (still no evidence that he knows what he hollers about) with steady Trent Green, who’d be even more valuable if he were to call out bad acts on the field rather than pander to them. Green was better with Greg Gumbel, as they’d listen to each other.
A new book about famous news anchors, Ira Rosen’s “Ticking Clock,” portrays the hard-hitting star of CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the late Mike Wallace, as a boorish, crude and selfish creep.
Years ago, when this column accused Wallace and “60 Minutes” of taking a conspicuous journalistic dive — no tough questions allowed — in landing an “exclusive” interview with Tiger Woods (conducted by Ed Bradley), Wallace went wild.
First, Wallace called The Post’s sports department secretary and cursed her out. She had no idea what he was cursing about.
When I called him back, he cursed me out, but he confirmed that there was a prearranged agreement with Team Tiger to avoid “certain questions.”
Mets voice Rose gets good news
Post-intestinal surgery exams of Howie Rose were clean. Now a long recovery begins, prognosis good.
Rob Manfred’s commitment to kids as “MLB’s top priority” was on full display last Sunday on ESPN, as Yankees-Mets, an 8 ¹/₂-inning, 4:06 game, ended after midnight. As reader Wayne Brown of Alabama notes: NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” telecast began after Yankees-Mets and ended with the game in the seventh inning.
Florida has offered a full scholarship to an eighth grade QB, Julian Lewis. Seriously. Guess he already meets the academic requirements. Seriously.
TV continues to slot nearly 4-hour college football games into 3-hour windows, regularly creating fourth quarter and overtime viewing chaos. Doesn’t help that thoroughly unintended replay rules cost most games many dead-time minutes.
Reader Dave Charak asks if these league, team and network-partnered sports gambling “free bet” come-ons are “eerily familiar to dope pushers’, as in: ‘The first one’s free’?”
Stu Feiner, considered among the worst of scamdicappers even among peers, has joined Barstool Sports as a sports gambling tout. Feiner was fined by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs for bogus advertising.
I raise, and fold: Mets manager Luis Rojas on Tuesday pulled four effective relievers in order to lose to the Cardinals in 11. He’s saving his bullpen for big games down the stretch.
Colleges and NFL teams continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to win games lost to misconduct penalties. Mostly ignored from last Saturday’s 17-7 Rutgers win at Syracuse was the aid provided by Orange coach Dino Babers, flagged for excessive griping at officials. Rutgers, moved from the Syracuse 22 to the 11, on the next play made it 7-0.
Reader Bill Hoyt writes he’d one day like to attend the funeral of one of those obnoxious, starved-for-TV attention PGA gallery clowns so he can hear the mourners holler, “Get in the hole!”