Even if I didn't know that Floyd Mayweather Jr. had a fight set up, on May 5 in Las Vegas against Miguel Cotto, I could have told you that the best sweet scientist of this era was due to glove up in short order. This is not because I have any particular psychic abilities but because Mayweather has begun a campaign to stir the pot on Twitter.
A little after 4 p.m. ET Monday, Mayweather wrote, "Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise."
The reaction was swift, severe and completely predictable. You see, this is because Mayweather is almost as good at manipulating the media (chuckleheads like me who he knows will spread the word about his latest Twitter escapade) and the masses directly as he is inside the squared circle. I say almost as good, because it really doesn't take a master to get people to respond to minor league race/ethnicity baiting, as Mayweather engaged in when he took a shot at New York's latest folk hero, Knicks guard Jeremy Lin.
I wonder whether Floyd has lost something off the fastball in the pot-stirring arena, and whether that might translate into a lessened effectiveness in the ring against Cotto, because his statement is easily picked apart with minimal effort. Lin became the first NBA player of any color, of any ethnic origin, to score at least 20 points and dish seven assists in his first four starts.
Mayweather engaged in similar idiocy in September 2010, a few months before he took on Shane Mosley, with a UStream diatribe against Manny Pacquiao, in which he engaged in unseemly racial stereotyping. He directed the Filipino Congressman and oughta-be rival Pacquiao to "make some sushi rolls and cook some rice." He also said, "We're going to cook him with some cats and dogs."
You can argue that the shame should be on us for reporting the foolish antics. Maybe we should feel sympathy for Mayweather, who turns 35 on Feb. 24, who perhaps senses his stellar ride won't be infinite and is facing a jail sentence starting in June for assaulting his ex-girlfriend in 2010, less than a week after the UStream silliness.
Rather than being mad, I'm sad, because with his talent, he doesn't need to "stay relevant," which is the term he always uses in the context of staying in the news, by resorting to such lame and obvious stunts to get ink. If history plays to form, we should be receiving an apology along the lines of the one Mayweather put out a few days after his UStream rant. "I do want to apologize for what happened the other night," Mayweather said then. "I want to apologize to everybody. They felt it was a racist comment that came from me. I don't have a racist bone in my body, you know. I love everybody. Some of my guys are Muslims. Some of my guys are Jews. Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, whites, it doesn't matter. There is nothing but love in my heart, you know what I'm saying?"
We do know what you're saying, and we think you're capable of better.