I asked friend and fellow blogger Maurice from the very funny site The Wiz Wit to weigh in on Hayes' comments about Chase Utley getting a pass from fans because he's white. Maurice is black, and I felt he could present a much different perspective on the comments.
These are his words, with only slight formatting edits. When you're done reading, please check out The Wiz Wit for its hilarious commentary on Philly sports.
Do I think there's a racial element to how fans feel about certain players (i.e. liking Utley more than J-Roll)? Yeah, I do. It's probably not as prevalent as Hayes is claiming, and the dude was being crazy reckless with his wording, but it is there.
The fan base is undeniably mostly white, and many of those fans will find it easier to identify with a player like Utley more than a player like Howard, for the simple fact that he looks more like the people in their lives. I'm not saying that's the case with all, but I'm saying it's definitely the case with some. And that may just be human nature.
Philly is a diverse (yet somewhat segregated) city, and while it isn't at a point where it's openly looking for white players to fill out rosters like perhaps the Utah Jazz or Indiana Pacers do, there are reasons why fans like certain players or cut them more slack than others. And sometimes it's (subconsciously) racial. Like how there were so many fans with Kyle Korver jerseys when he played for the Sixers.
Is a 16 year-old white female Phils fan going like Chase Utley or Ryan Howard more? Probably Utley, because he's talented, cute, and looks more like the other people in her life. She probably would rather bone him, as opposed to Howard, for those same reasons. This will change when she sleeps with her first black guy in college.
Hayes certainly didn't bring this issue to the surface in any type of constructive or articulate way. Do fans hate LeBron James simply because he's black? Hell no. Does it play a small part? Maybe. Some white people (more-so older people) really dislike the whole cocky-flashy-black-guy-with-a-lot-of-money thing. Howard and J-Roll aren't on LeBron levels of self-glorification, but it's there. You can try to sell me that their dislike is a reflection of that attitude more than their skin color, but I'm not completely buying it. People in Denver LOVE The Birdman.
Utley gets criticized when he deserves it, as do the rest of the players. My point is that fans may be just the slightest bit extra lenient with Utley because they like him more. And the reason why they like him more, might be the slightest bit, subconsciously racist.