ESPN Double Standard? Why Wasn’t Bonnie Bernstein Suspended? Will Leitch Gets Ethered the “Respectable” Way

Apology seems suspect. Listen to the audio and hear for yourself below

ESPN’s Bonnie Bernstein recently made some comments on Mike and Mike’s radio show that all should find offensive. The question to me is, why hasn’t she been suspended like Jemele Hill?

What is your excuse here ESPN?

This is why we fight here for inclusion. This is why we scream bullshit when people compare Imus’ comments to Jemele’s.

I spoke about this yesterday on a radio show that will be posted as soon as I get the link.

What the hell is going on that this hasn’t gotten any mainstream attention?

Bernstein’s comments:

“It’s sort of like, you know, and this isn’t — I’m prefacing this by saying this is in no way an analogy to sports because I know we live in a hypersensitive society — but I remember a while ago I was reading an article in the New York Times about Palestinian suicide bombers and I just remember being struck by the notion that from the point of birth, people in Palestine are taught to think that dying in the name of God is a good thing.

They grow up wanting to be suicide bombers. So bringing it back to sports — and again, I’m not making the comparison or the analogy — if a young talented basketball player is being told at an early age that they are destined, it is a good thing to focus on basketball and not worry about what’s going on in the classroom, why are any kids going to be worried about what’s going on in the classroom?”

NAAJA Letter sent Wednesday 10:32 AM by email

Hi Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg:

This morning, Dr. Bonnie Bernstein, a veteran sports reporter and radio reporter, made a very racist comparison between NBA players and Palestinians who raise their children to become suicide bombers. I am writing on behalf of the National Arab American Journalists Association asking that you address the issue. I think it was very inappropriate for Bonnie to use that racial stereotype of Palestinians as an example to back up her comments that NBA hopefuls “are programmed” to make it in the NBA the way Palestinian children are “programmed” to become suicide bombers …

I don’t need to explain that suicide bombers are not a race or ethnicity, or that there are 7 million Palestinians and have been only 50 suicide bombers over the past 15 years, or that suicide bombers come from all walks of life (in the film Pearl Harbor, the character of Jimmy Doolitle said that if his plane ran out of gas while bombing Tokyo and couldn’t make it back to the states during World War II, he would simply crash his plane into a Japanese building — making him, a typical American, a suicide bomber, too) …

It is not about being politically correct. If you wanted to have a discussion about suicide bombers in the Middle East and Iraq and their ethnicity and the act of terrorism, you could probably fill five hours easily on radio. But that wasn’t the point of Bonnie’s comments, but rather a gratuitous slam against Palestinians. I know you guys are pros when it comes to sports and I would hope you might make mention that the comparison was inappropriate and in fact is racist.

In this day and age of understanding how easily minorities and ethnic groups are defamed by casual racist comments and especially how easily it happens on radio — Don Imus is a good example — we should try our best to be respectful. I think Bonnie should address the issue also.

Thanks and best regards
Ray Hanania
PO Box 2127
Orland Park, IL., 60462

Bonnie Bernstein’s apology

This IS NOT about the get back. This is all about fairness. Jemele has gone through it. Do you know the number one search (because of her interviews obviously) to this site besides The Starting Five?

Jemele Hill nigger.

Wow. Don’t give me any bullshit that because Barack has won the nomination so racist attitudes have quelled.

This is what her superiors at ESPN need to address. Some of the comments after Jemele’s pieces are sickening.

Why is she such a lightening rod?


Yo Will….I really didn’t appreciate this post. I didn’t find it “respectable”.

Crazy you posted it on your getaway day huh?

It’s cool, ’cause do you feel the “ether” again?

Dude what’s your deal? Why don’t you face the fact that there are alternative means of critical thought?

Did you listen to the piece? Could you comprehend what I was saying?

Most didn’t, but it was meant for you. You know what the hell I was “saying”? Didn’t “we”?

What’s up with that “we” shit?

We “sick”?

By the way…love the “pic”

Dig the hair did. “Sleep” much? Is that how you “<3” the wall when you are in the “shower”?

“We” still “sick”?

Is this snark over with in your “writing” because you’ve moved on?

Do your former “commenters” have any “brains” whatsoever?

What is “Deadspin?”

Are you a “journalist” again?

What are you going to do now?


Dude, go see a “doctor”.

Tell him to up ya meds kid.

44 Responses to “ESPN Double Standard? Why Wasn’t Bonnie Bernstein Suspended? Will Leitch Gets Ethered the “Respectable” Way”

  1. Rashad says:

    I can’t defend Bonnie. But I will say that history shows that using the name “Hitler” in this country is the quickest way to get reprimanded..ask Marge Schott and now Jemele. But Bonnie is allegedly smarter than that, and I can think of a million other analogies off the top,that would have been perfect for the point she was making. AND considering Dana Jacobson got suspended for much less earlier this year, it wouldnt be such a big deal to suspend bonnie for a bit. but does she even work this time of year?

  2. Joe says:

    Another “dumm-ass” broad shooting off her mouth!!! Will ESPN ever learn their lesson!! They forget about the other “dumm-ass” that shot off her mouth about Tiger Woods!!

  3. I am never surprised when I see the double standard. There is Hill and then there is Bernstein…two very different people and because of that, things are and were handled differently.

    As for Leitch…if he is a journalist, then I’m an NBA Champion.

  4. origin says:

    Nope Mizzo doesn’t surprise me at all.

  5. Miranda says:

    I’m not surprised either.

  6. Jordi says:

    As my parents told me at an early age, It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Maybe Bonnie Bernstein was not taught that. Her message that environment factors and social groups emphasize what the youth decide is important does have merit. However, her examples are about the worst possible. Had she completely omitted mention of the Palestinians she would have made sense, and had a solid point. But alas, she needs to stay away from the social comparisons. She should get ESPN’s basic “stupid statement” suspension.

  7. Mizzo says:

    Jordi a lot can be said about the country we live in if she hide slides.

  8. Temple3 says:

    Is this how Black folks get caught up in “other people’s shit.”

    In the most marginal and peripheral way, the question of equity for BLACK JOURNALISTS is being posed in the context of an ignorant comment about Adolf Hitler and an equally ignorant rant (if not moreso) concerning Palestinians.

    Aside from the photograph, one would be hard-pressed to discern any “operational Blackness” from Ms. Hill. Her columns are routinely tinged with the worst apologia in her genre. As for Ms. Bernstein, she is a Jew of European ancestry. Her people have long-established the right to kill Palestinians with impunity. Do you think she lost the right to speak ill of them merely because she works for ESPN? Hardly.

    Hence the need for suicide bombers.

    I find this whole conversation odd. I’m not sure if you’re defending Ms. Hill’s right to be an anti-Black behavioral apologist or an anti-Jewish idiot or a writer free from impositions of racism or all three.

    I’ll let it die if you will. This is not a sound place to build an argument. If we were mediocre people who’d been nothing but second-class since time immemorial, I could understand — but we’ve done better at the bottom of slave ships.

    You’re tooooo good for this.

  9. Mizzo says:

    The question has to be raised my brotha every single time a new precedent has been set.

    I’m not defending Jemele Hill’s words, but how would I look piling on a friend? How many times do you see that publicly from folk who are cool with others.

    Where’s the fuckin’ loyalty?

    I will say for all of time that I’m still miffed why this has made the stink that it has. We’ve talked about this but I will say again that I don’t understand why Blacks can’t use Hitler’s name given OUR history with him.

    We also talked about if there would be different response if Jemele said Josef Stalin or Benito Mussolini.

    This is more about scrutinizing the outcry in both instances. I would be remiss not to have something documented here and this is the stance I choose to take.

    You and others are correct that maybe because Bonnie chose Palestinians she’ll get a pass here.

    Seriously, I want people to look past that I am friends with Jemele and seriously debate me why the name Hitler is off limits even in a sports analogy. Remember people this originated from a talk radio station (my words would be different if this came from a credible source or from a Jewish group from the gate) in a town that has a long standing history of racism. Bill Russell played for the Celtics, not for Boston. We all can surmise that some of the folks criticizing Jemele hate Blacks and be totally correct.

    The racial psychology in all of this is the indicator.

    Who is the victim in all of this (Jemele’s case)? If there’s no victim then was their really a “crime” committed?

    That’s my issue. This has nothing to do with Jemele’s writing. Nothing at all. I would say the same if say Scoop (even if he is another friend) or even Whitlock made the comment.

    I have yet to hear from Jewish folk whether or not they were offended in Jemele’s case.

    I’m being vague for a reason people. I just haven’t heard the right response on this and I’m a little bit confused why.

    A few questions: Are your responses based on your opinion of Jemele’s writing? Do people really care about this? Are people skating around the Holocaust? Are you just sick of shit like this? Does ESPN and its editors have any accountability in all of this? What do you think Jemele’s purpose is at ESPN? Is Bonnie beyond reproach because some would say she looks good?

    What Bernstein said is incredibly demeaning to Palestinians and the future of their children even if she’s a Jew.

    It should be an interesting Monday.

  10. Hasani says:

    Give it a rest Mizzo. You simply look petty, vengeful, and childish as you peevishly hunt for a caucasian verbal slip up, gleefully clicking your heels once you think you’ve found it. What Bernstein said isn’t remotely controversial. Do you even realize how desperate and petty you appear?

  11. Mizzo says:

    Friedman I’m not going to indulge you with a response. Minimize my words all you want but we all know you aren’t the human I’m speaking to.

    Keep it moving 🙂

    Oh another thing, until you write a post for the site, you will be ignored on the basis that you come off as a spam bot.

    Has nothing to do with dissent.

  12. Temple3 says:

    I firmly believe in loyalty and yours is commendable – as I’ve stated before. You are right to post your eloquent defense. If you don’t do it, I cannot say who will. There is something to be said for “equality before the editor.”

    Nonetheless, with respect to “other people’s shit” – I stand by my original position – which is to say this:

    1) Contempt for Hitler is not the exclusive province of European Jews. As I’ve stated before, the Nazis learned everything they knew from their German fathers who practiced genocide in Namibia against Black folk using concentration camps. No mention of this from Hill on this – in her initial snarky post or her apology.

    2) Bernstein’s comments were not merely critical of Palestinians, they were critical of Black folk (I’m assuming — since there is no FLOOD of non-Black US-born players in hte league — let alone a flood with test score isshuhs). She suggested, without nary a stitch of empirical support, that the woes of a nation might be attributable to folks seeking to join the league without any edumacation. Now, haven’t y’all done the work to find that a HUGE number of players in the league have college educations, come from two-parent homes and live in the suburbs? And yet, in the same way that Jemele DID NOT ASSERT HER RIGHT to reference Hitler based on the use of ideology and tactics HONED IN AFRICA, no one has blasted BERNSTEIN for suggesting folks in the inner circle of elite ballers don’t stress education.

    There is a place to stand where independent and free-thinking Black folk present new paradigms of perception and CLAIM our space – in the past and the present. The Nazis were not the first to use concentration camps and gas chambers. Germans did this before there was a Nazi Party. Bernstein is not the first to suggest that the communities which surround athletes care more about bling than books. Jemele has said as much on an infinite number of occasions. And still, the FACTS ON THE GROUND suggest that those most successful athletes benefit from sound systems of support at home.

    For every Leon Powe that grinds his ass off and goes to Berkeley, there are three other guys whose parents were right there for him every step of the way — and for every “rap sheet” baller who can barely utter a complete sentence, there are two Leon Powe’s (at least). Bernstein and Hill need to be hammered for much more than these “comments,” but ESPN does not have the capacity to even recognize the many errors of their ways.

    This is the reason why I do not seek inclusion. We created all this shit. There is no need to be included. We are what is. Just be and be free. Sometimes you just have to claim the entire thing.

  13. Temple3 says:


    By the way – I don’t doubt that how people perceive Bonnie Bernstein has something to do with it.

  14. Mizzo says:

    Crazy you basically said the same thing my Pop spoke on the phone earlier today.


  15. Temple3 says:

    It’s all good. We are one. Be good.

  16. origin says:

    D@MN Temple that was so true brotha.

  17. Jordi says:

    Temple3 hit the nail on the head as to why I really hope Brandon Jennings makes it without having to succumb to the one and done NBA-NCAA rule. There is no doubt in my mind the NBA’s rule is akin to a literacy test used to hold a certain class of people down so they can’t participate without jumping through unnecessary hoops. Odds are there won’t be a Kevin Love every year.

  18. Eric says:

    I love it when white folks position themselves as being experts on black people. And obviously jews have been programmed to be blown up in their pizzerias for their zionist aspirations.

  19. Okori says:

    Eric: que? I mean what does that have to do with anything except to try and prejudice the pool?

    and I don’t have any problem with what she said save for the fact that I thought it was a cheap writing ploy. I mean there are millions of other analogies she could have used, but she went with that one.

  20. Temple3 says:

    Jewish pizzerias?

  21. Hasani says:

    Say, where are all those angry Palestinians and Americans of Arab descent who should be angrily parading the streets over these vicious Bernstein remarks? What’s that? You only use that as a criterion for “offensive” when it suits your agenda (Jemele Hill)? Yeah, that’s what I’ve come to notice. The hypocrisy around here is really something special.

  22. Eric says:

    Okori, I have a problem with what she said because she couldn’t possibly know how black athletes are being raised. How can she even suggest that black parents are telling their children not to worry about school and that they are destined to play in the NBA? Where did she get that from? Mike and Mike love pushing that garbage on their show. So I gotta disagree with you. There isn’t an analogy that can be used to illustrate her delusions. And there isn’t an apology good enough to excuse her bigoted view point of people she doesn’t know.

    Temple3, I was trying to make a point(albeit poorly) about how silly that womans comments were. And you know if anyone would have said what I wrote about Jews on a radio show all hell would break out. A half-hearted apology would never do. Abe foxman would be screaming bloody murder. It just seems to me that a jewish woman would be much more aware of the harm that stereotyping and slandering folks can cause. foolish me.

  23. MODI says:

    mizzo, I couldn’t agree more with your point and it is not relevant to how one feels about Hill’s writing. Your “loyalty” to Jemele doesn’t compromise the fact that you are right even if you had no loyalty at all. Even if Hill is being treated differently by the media because she is a black woman, then ESPN and others must be called out on it. Period. Jemele is basically incidental to that principle. Equal treatment for black-female journalists is the issue.

    Bernstein’s comment is clearly worse than Hill’s on multiple levels, but it is true that “there’s no victim” in Hill’s words. Schott’s Hitler reference was a semi-ENDORSEMENT of Hitler after a history of statements. Hill’s comment was nothing more than “hyperbole-gone-wild”. It was far more of a journalistic offense than an anti-Semitic one. That is why no one from Jewish groups were really complaining, only Celtic fans, Imus supporters, and those offended on journalistic grounds. It is up to journalists to distinguish between “Hitler references” rather than reflexively throwing them all in the same pot.

    If Jemele isn’t protected then the rules will just be applied to the next black female journalist (or just black journalist) — even if she is better than Hill by leaps and bounds. Again, this has nothing to do with Jemele.

    Temple, your point is well taken that this is not the greatest example to fight for equity for black journalists, but it is still a useful one to make a point. She is the only black female journalist, so pickins are slim here…

  24. michelle says:

    Same ish different day. Not surprised at all.

  25. Temple3 says:


    There is something to be said for “equality before the editor.”

  26. eric daniels says:

    Bernstein is a cute, pretty non-threating white girl who doesn’t challenge the prevailing “white boy sports mantra” and their sexist, racist attitudes while Jemele is an “ungrateful nigger bitch” who should be happy that ESPN made her an “affrimitive action hire” because she can’t write. Like Michelle Obama any black woman who shows some comptenece (even though i sometimes disagree with her) who isn’t some white boy fawning “sista” like Tracey Bingham or ghetto sterotype is a “angry black woman” and we know what that is.

    Brenstein comments are more insidious because she insults Palestinians and young black ballplayers entering into the NBA as suicide bombers but she is sterotyping both Arab and Black American Men as potential terrorists or criminal- minded. I think her being an American Jew is giving her cover and since the CEO of the station is Jewish she is being protected unlike their handling of Jemele’s comments which sounds tame compared to Bernstein.

    And Mizzo, I never follow the NBA draft because unlike baseball, football, and hockey you never know if these players drafted in the 1st round will attain superstar status and many will end up playing overseas or be joruneyman ballplayers in the league.

  27. Hasani says:

    eric daniels — same racist generalizations for you, different day. With Mizzo I simply have a philosophical difference, and certainly respect the rationale behind his opinions even if I disagree. Eric, on the other hand, I consider to be something of an embarrassment.

  28. eric daniels says:

    Friedman/Hassani/Eric ? whomever you want to represent at a given time,whenever I say something you don’t agree with you call me a “racist” Well being called a “black racist” is something I don’t give a damn about anymore. And at least know the terms on whom is a racist and an embrrassment sorry dude but when you are using my name or other ethnic sounding names to butress your conservative ideals on race and sports you make yourself an embrrassment.

    “Racism, by its simplest definition, is discrimination based on the racial groups to which people belong. People with racist beliefs might hate certain groups of people according to their racial groups, or in the case of institutional racism, certain racial groups may be denied rights or benefits. Racism typically points out taxonomic differences between different groups of people, even though anybody can be racialised, independently of their somatic differences. According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction between the term racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination.”

    Sorry, but the MSM is racist along with it’s white sports fans who rip on black althletes because they resent the money they are being paid or should I go on ESPN and check the comments whenever a black sports writer like Jemele Hill either right or wrong you can read the racist rantings of white males who behind a computer can and will say anything they want to making death threats against these players family members and I am an embrrassment WHITEBOY PLEASE…. You yourself are the true definition of a racial apologist for white misbehavior and since you don’t have the guts to write under your true name and defend your viewpoints like a man you are PUSSY.

    And since I don’t have the power to oppress 180 million white americans by denying people like you your rights or use the legal and violent means then I can’t be a “BLACK RACIST” or whatever that term means, but you are a bigot who is a troll instead of looking for honest debate.

  29. Hasani says:

    Eric — of course you don’t mind being called a racist “any more.” Most racists really don’t care about that. You’ve joined a rather large club of ignoble, ignorant, and ranting people.

  30. […] following incident was touched on in very few places, one of which, though, was The Starting Five. Unfortunately it was my birthday […]

  31. eric daniels says:

    White Troll, you make me laugh but l don’t have to hide behind pseudonyms because I am willing to defend my viewpoints like a man. And not use the same racial rationale of black families, crime when A WHITE GUY feels he is losing a debate unlike yourself TROLL. Maybe you are not used to seeing a black person be “racially incorrect” without blaming whitey for their problems, I have merely stated a long-term practice when it comes to racial issues in the most ugly way to say them troll. I don’t feel the need to pretend and be civil with someone who is an obvious liar and hasn’t provided any proof that I am a racist. I quess it’s because you don’t like


  32. sankofa says:

    Eric man…come on!

    Don’t call that a Pussy! A Pussy is a good thing. From that place comes life, human beings. And we know everybody want’s to get next to some Pussy.

    That thing and its kind came out the other end. That’s why it hides in the dark to foul up the forum we have here. Even I, who’ve had my moments, over stand that to waste energy reasoning with a rock, is not time well spent. Be at peace brother, your point is embraced by those who value your imput.

  33. Co Co says:

    Breathe ya’ll……

  34. […] youth were generalized as “suicide bombers”, The Starting Five rightfully asks ESPN Double Standard: Why Wasn’t Bonnie Bernstein Suspended? And while TSF searches for answers, we might also want to ask how the likes of Jay Mariotti, […]

  35. MODI says:

    note of clarity: mizzo, the above was linked a couple of days ago, but I just discovered it was to the wrong url (ESPN of all places!!) and just corrected it.

  36. Miranda says:

    OMG___________LMAO____________*gasp*_________oh________________________LMAO______________________________Oh Sankofa……oh I have tears______LMAO____that was absolutely classic…damn….i can’t stop laughing…..

  37. Josh says:

    It doesn’t matter what Bonnie says she’s still hot!!! She can say anthing she wants. Anyways she sounds stupid what she said doesn’t really make much sense its ok though because Bonnie’s hot while Don Imus is a ugly old guy. Its a double standard but what if it was Paris Hilton was saying that she wouldn’t be attacked because the media thinks shes stupid.

  38. sankofa says:

    Miranda it’s the truth though (smiling)

  39. URAJOKE says:

    Dr. Bernstein was completely correct in prefacing her comments due to the hypersensitive nature of the trash in this country. Get over yourselves.

    Her comparison was a valid one and the only point of contention for anyone here is use of Palestine. Yes, there are suicide bombers there, no, she did not say they were the exclusive base of suicide bombers in all of society… nor did she at any time state that all palestinian children are raised as such.

    Jacobsen wasn’t suspended for insulting catholics or Notre Dame du Lac, she was suspended for doing so in a less than professional, publicly intoxicated manner.

    The first amendment should be re-written to specify ‘freedom of whining’ for all the far-too-sensitive-overly-liberal people residing here. Groups like this are the reason drug dealers, child molesters, rapists, and other habitual offenders are allowed to walk away from courtrooms and incarciration only to be let freely back into society.

  40. michelle says:

    Talk that trash elsewhere! For you to not even understand there are so many double standards in the country shows you are what your name says; A JOKE!

  41. The Streets Don’t Lie…

    Through mismanagement and inexperience eBay has eroded the trust of millions and the publishers in the ePN program. Read this forum post about how John Donahoe and Steve Hartman are quickly becoming the laughing stock of the affiliate marketing commun…

  42. John Roberts says:

    Yes, this is outrageous! But we can’t expect a biased Jew to tell the truth about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, can we? Besides, few of them even know the “real” truth as they’ve been indoctrinated with ‘hate’ from an early age as well (talk about hypocrisy!). The Facts: Palestine had their land stolen from them by the League of Nations in 1948. The Balfour Declaration of 1912 clearly proves that Palestine existed pre-1948, and states England’s intention to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. And it actually says “in Palestine.” This easily debunks the age-old Zionist claim that Palestine never existed before then. Plus, documented world history clearly places Palestine in the time of Alexander the Great (and the Bible takes them back even further).

    By this time, non-retarded people should see that it’s obvious that this was planned long ago and that’s why Palestinians are so pissed off. Sure, they do some bombings, but they have no choice! These people live in an AshkeNazi death camp for crying out loud! They want to build a bridge, but they’re forced to build a bomb because Israel is the biggest warmongering nation on the planet. They have over 200 nukes, yet flat-out refuse to be inspected by the U.N. or ATEA. They are also the only middle-eastern nation that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and are also guilty of several war crimes, including attacks on the U.S., like the U.S.S. Liberty and bombing of a U.S. embassy in Africa (Kenya, I think).

    Research these documented facts people!

    Fire This BITCH!

  43. […] see if ESPN suspends Mike like they did Jemele. Send to Facebook Sphere: Related Content FShareWidget.displayFShareButtonCode({ […]

  44. Jack says:

    I got to this page because I’ve been seeing alot of tweets about crushes on Jemele so I googled her.
    Jemele is an excellent journalist as I see you agree in your article about her Hitler comment.
    I believe you’re not a good journalist if “everyone” likes your work.
    Let people hate on Bonnie, let people hate on Jemele, neither of them said anything even remotely close to Imus, and we all need to chill out. This is from the future.