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NBC SportsTalk: Brandon Phillips confirms that, yes, Jared Hughes said something racist, but it’s all over now

Sep 12, 2012, 8:23 AM EDT

brandon phillips getty Getty Images

The ugly comment threads that developed following the Brandon Phillips-Jared Hughes posts yesterday were made ugly when a number of people decided — based on nothing other than their own preconceptions and prejudices, it seemed — that no, there’s no way Jared Hughes could have said something racist to Brandon Phillips. That it must be Phillips who is the racist, and he must by lying! Oh, and white folks are the real victims of racism these days.

You think that’s an exaggeration? Go back and read the comments if you have the stomach for it. I assure you, it’s not an exaggeration. People actually said that stuff.

However, Brandon Phillips went on NBC SportsTalk last night, and was interviewed by Erik Kuselias. The video is below. There are two takeaways from it:

(1) The issue is in the past, as he and Hughes talked it out, they came away with it with newfound respect for each other, and it’s over; BUT

(2) When asked point blank if something racist was said, he said yes, something racist was said (go to 1:50):

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Obviously this is over now. Phillips was surprised and understandably agitated about it on Monday night, as he noted it was the first time he had ever heard such a thing on the diamond. Despite this, Phillips is putting it in the past, made it clear that he’s not going to make a federal case out of it and wants to move on. Good for him for being so levelheaded. We should move on too.

But all of you guys who jumped to immediately scoff at the notion that something racist was said — the people who, it always seems, want to offer any remotely possible explanation for an event, however ridiculous, before acknowledging that racism still exists in this country — should take note.

It does exist, it does happen, and your desire to pretend otherwise — or, to go even further and actually claim that white people are the real victims of racism — is pretty frickin’ astounding.

133 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. ningenito78 - Sep 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Bottom line is Phillips dropped the race card. If its legit fine. But he really left this Hughes kid out to dry. That’s really not fair. If he was racist say what he said. To just throw the card on the table and walk away is the reason there’s so much debate here to begin with.

    • paperlions - Sep 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Yeah, well….when Hughes made a racist remark during a game…he pretty much hung himself out to dry.

      How many interviews has Hughes had in which he denied making a racist comment? I think that currently stands at ZERO. If you were falsely accused of making a racist remark would you sit quietly when you had dozens of outlets to tell the truth? Probably not.

      As astutely pointed out by Cur, the entire focus (especially by white people) has been on the accuser rather than the accused, who has yet to deny anything.

      • skids003 - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        Why should he interview? He’s been hung in the court of public opinion, so anything he does does nothing more than draw more attention to himself. He probably wants it o go away, unlike the media and liberals who just want to keep stirring the pot.

      • okwhitefalcon - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        It looks like Hughes and the Pirates are taking a stand and basically calling Phillips a liar:

        @jonmorosi

        #Pirates release statement from Jared Hughes saying he “did not make any comment with a racial undertone or connotation” to Phillips.

        @JonHeymanCBS

        phillips had told folks he heard hughes call him “boy.” the tape they have doesn’t show that (tho it shows the swearing)

      • paperlions - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        If that is/was the case….you’d think they would be a little louder about it. Not sure how this could be just a misunderstanding if something racist was said, which Phillips maintained was true after talking to Hughes.

      • saints97 - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        Now that he has denied it, I am sure that this will release him of liability in Paper’s eyes.

        Or Paper will just jumped to the next argument to assume guilt. Gee, I wonder which it will be.

      • paperlions - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        First, you recognize the irony in your assumption of what others thing?

        Second, piss off. I’ve lived too many places and got to see too many white people be racist assholes and then turn around and deny it for any white person to get the benefit of the doubt. Don’t like it, you can blame your fellow race members (of which I am one) for allowing such behavior and opinion.

        Third, if Hughes was innocent, then Phillips was being an asshat in 2 ways. First, my making public comments when he wasn’t sure what was said, and second for not apologizing after the fact, which he should have done as earnestly as possible….rather than maintaining his contention that something racist was said.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        This is turning out to be exactly what I said on a previous post. Phillips should have been much clearer in what he heard or thought he may have heard. This was there would be no confusion for anyone…from the fans to the players themselves. Obviously, as I said, the Pirates organization is going to get their backs up about this because one of their family is being accused of racism.

        Had Phillips said “He called me Boy” then Hughes could have said “I did not call him Boy…I said blah, blah”. Then they could have talked it over and then the issue could have ended. Just because Phillips and Hughes work it out does NOT mean MLB is happy and it does NOT mean the Pirates are happy. An apology, while nice, is not going to be enough to get Hughes off the hook IF HE SAID SOMETHING RACIST.

      • Marty - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Tape is tape. If Hughes denies it then I believe him. If Phillips is so edgy as to post stuff like this on twitter then it is totally reasonable to conclude it was a misunderstanding.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        I will agree “most” of the focus has been on the accuser.
        Do you think maybe…just maybe….
        It has just a little bit to do with how the accuser has a penchant for running his mouth before he thinks?
        I mean…like it or not…the dude has a reputation for running his mouth before he thinks.
        Something I was taught at a very young age. My Father hammered it home frequently.
        Think. Before. You. Speak. Cause’ once those words are out…you can’t get them back.

      • paperlions - Sep 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        Damnit….I had a response all typed up and HBTs damned auto-refresh erased it. FU HBT autorefresh.

        Short version. I agree.

        Now that it has become a he said – he said situation instead of a he said – no one responded situation…Phillips doesn’t have much credibility….still strange to me that the 2 guys talked, Phillips said everything was good but that Hughes DID say something racist (how could he be good with that?) and Hughes says it isn’t so.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        It is strange to me as well Paper.
        I mean…#4 said he said something racist but they are okay. Then Hughes says he didn’t. Personally, as I stated yesterday…
        It is very hard for me to believe McCutchen would have his back if he said something racist.

        I am thinking one of two things happened.
        1) Hughes did refer to #4 as ‘boy’ & they both agreed it was not said under the context of racism. Insensitive maybe…but not intended to be racial.
        2) Phillips thought he heard something racial and after talking with Hughes he realized this was NOT what he heard. If so…I think Phillips is trying to save face.
        Which could be another reason why he said they were good.

      • cur68 - Sep 12, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        There’s also a third possibility, StLouis1:
        Phillips is doing his friend, McCutchen, a favour and letting this go without launching a formal complaint or making more of a deal about it. Seems to me, from the interview, Phillips is adamant he heard what he heard, he spoke with Hughes, he spoke with McCutchen and then he’s decided to take this no further. In a similar situation I did the same thing: as a favour to a dear friend, I let it go, but in no way shape or form was I going to say “I was mistaken”. That’s what I saw Phillips doing. A favour.

      • gostlcards5 - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        paper…you get a thumbs-up just for using the word “asshat”. I’m not sure where I heard it first, but it’s been my new favorite word for about a month, probably just for the mental picture it provides.

  2. koufaxmitzvah - Sep 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    All of this concerns a tweet, right? An informal, 140 character message made after a ballgame with the heat of the battle still wafting in the air?

    • thereisaparty - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      I don’t see how the method of communication is relevant

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        I’m saying that people are flipping out over something that bears nothing. Brandon tweeted an immediate impression based on hearing a slur. No one should really care so much about it, and yet there are 180 posts discussing “ramifications.”

        Later, he met the player he tweeted about and talked it over with him. He now says he’s fine, and so there is another 100+ comments posted.

        Again, this started with a tweet. An informal, character sensitive impression.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Considering Phillips has almost 600,000 followers, there really is nothing “informal” about it. Also, considering that there are more than a few posts here at HBT that are specifically about one or two tweets, it is again, not something to be taken lightly when someone puts something out there on Twitter. Especially someone with over half a million followers.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

        So an appropriate response for Phillips is to now extend an apology to Hughes on his tweeter handle so Brandon’s 600,000 followers get a much needed follow-up. That future article will, no doubt, receive another 150 messages, none of which will indicate any amount of closure to the problems of race relations in America.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Oh I agree 100% that race relations in America aren’t going to obtain closure based on Phillips apologizing and tweeting that he misheard. But Phillips and the Pirates organization will. Because I can guarantee you that MLB had their antennae up on this and aren’t going to let “We hugged it out” be enough. If Hughes said something racially insensitive, he should be punished for it…and if he didn’t…well, I’m not sure Phillips should be punished for “mishearing”, but he should clear it up nonetheless. With his followers and with his non tweet-following fans.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Should be Hughes and the Pirates Organization…..

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 12, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        Believe me, I’m with you on the raising the sensitivity of the general public for “common phrases” and their meaning. I can see Hughes not knowing what it was he had said, and I can see Phillips raging about what was said after the fact on Twitter. I can not, for the life of me, understand why the general public needs to get all up in the fact that Craig reported the tweet in the first place. In a sense, the answer is to not report on tweets, but, man, it’s mind boggling to see how powerful 140 character long public impressions have on people.

  3. ningenito78 - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Paper lions- ok. So the fact that he hasn’t come out denying anything doesn’t mean shit. It could just be that he said ‘boy’ and is afraid it could be perceived that way. And if the word ‘boy’ is now a derogatory term for blacks well then it’s a sad state of affairs. Just because people are becoming more sensitive doesn’t make it racism.

    • thereisaparty - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Now a derogatory term? NOW?!

  4. phranksta - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Boy it’s a sad day when a man gets persecuted and labeled racist when he refers to another person as “boy”… It’s not like like millions of Americans say “that’s my boy”, “thatta boy!”, or any other phrase with the term “boy” on a daily basis. Poor Brandon, I hope he can get over this tragic event! …Praying for you BP.

    • thereisaparty - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Ohhhhh. Hughes was telling him “atta boy!”?

      Context is everything. It is ignorant to think that “boy” does not have powerful, historical, racist connotations and can be used in a derogatory manner.

  5. Marty - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Is it fair to question if Phillis (or any person) is legitimately hurt by being called “boy”? Are we sayin that every black man carries the burdens of history?

    I think it’s time we examine if these things are so truly hurtful as to garner an epic response.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 12, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Is it really too hard to ask people to think before they speak? That what might be cocksure swagger for some is actually signs of an inherently racist society?

      We all live here together. Folks will eventually come to terms. Reginald Denny (since he was brought up before) forgave his attackers, in a news conference, with some of his attackers.

      It’s obvious we all need to learn history. That is, if we all want to get along. If instead we want to hide behind monikers and blast out impressions and demand to win every argument because there are only two-sides to everything, and every argument demands a one-sided solution that dominates the other side, then nothing will ever change.

      Jean Paul Sartre is, for once, smiling.

  6. hbegley6672 - Sep 12, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Pirates have released a statement and Hughes denies ever stating anything racist. Doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, doesn’t mean he did. I just want to know if Craig is calling him a liar?

  7. ningenito78 - Sep 12, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Stlouis1baseball pretty much nailed it.

  8. raider2124 - Sep 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    A’s a white guy. Anyone someone black says any of the words: white ,guy ,bro, dog, car, cash, movie , couch, bed, clothes, hair or hat. I will label them a racist. It works both ways.

    • Lukehart80 - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      Well said. Oh wait, no it wasn’t. Your writing is like that of an 8-year-old and your ideas are those of an idiot.

  9. raider2124 - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Craig calcaterra you need to get out if your liberal bubble. It dies exist, how about the new black panther party sitting at voting booths with clubs. Put there to intimidate old white voters. Also the leader of the party maybe the most racist person in the country, in the past year he held speeches urging his members to kill white babies and white women. Actually I think there are more racist comments and acts coming out of the black community then any where else. They go around spewing there hate unchecked and given a pass by writers similar to you.

    • Tony Price - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      Speaking of living in a bubble.

  10. gostlcards5 - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Let’s see what we’ve learned from this:
    1) This country has a rich history of oppression against blacks. (knew it)
    2) As unfortunate as this is, racist things still happen every day. (knew it)
    3) A racist thing did or didn’t happen in this case. (we will never know, unless someone provides proof)
    4) Both Hughes and Phillips COULD be telling the truth. (knew it, perception is everything, and she’s a sneaky bitch…)
    5) Andrew McCutcheon = classy dude, and one hell of a hitter (knew it)
    6) Brandon Phillips (opinion derived completely separate from this situation, and for the record, I don’t think he had any reason to lie either) = asshat (oh wait…I’ve been the one trumpeting that for 2 days, so knew it)
    7) Jared Hughes could be an asshat, simply a dumbass, or just a regular dude (ok, scratch the regular dude, because in the heat of the moment, he might be a psychopath). 8) People will hear/derive whatever they want to out of anything you say. (knew it)

    Wow, so I guess that means after all this crazines, (with nothing conclusive on #7) all I really learned was #3…funny, that means I didn’t learn anything! Hat tip to stl1baseball for the closest thing to proof anyone provided, with his opinion of the replay.

    I leave it with the same thing I said yesterday, look at the core of the man (or woman) to determine what he is. There are many good and bad people out there, and in my eyes, that has no relation on the color of their skin.

  11. stercuilus65 - Sep 16, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    Somebody put a fresh set of diapers on Craig he’s crying again…

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