Robert Littal

Recent Articles

Nothing funny about harassment of women in person or in social media


If something sexist is said about a White woman, it’s breaking news. But when the same happens to a Black female, the silence sadly is deafening. Six tweets were sent last week by Artie Lange, supposedly a comedian, about ESPN’s First Take Host Cari Champion being his sex slave. It seemingly took forever — actually a couple of days — for her

employers to finally speak publicly in Champion’s defense. Black Sports Online’s Robert Littal wrote in his November 4 post, “What Lange said isn’t just disgusting, it is racist and disturbed. Continue Reading →

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Another View Extra — Coaching Gopher basketball a career killer




By Charles Hallman


Only two coaches in Minnesota men’s basketball history have ever led teams to a national championship: Clem Haskins won two NIT crowns in the 1990s, and Tubby Smith won the 1998 NCAA title at Kentucky. Both Black men have the most 20-win seasons: seven for Haskins and five for Smith. However, both men also have the dubious honor to have been fired at Minnesota. Despite a 511-226 career record in 22 seasons, Smith unfortunately is a victim of college sports’ “What have you done for me lately?” philosophy. “When you let a guy go with the character and the skill of Tubby Smith, you better have an idea of somebody who can turn things around, and I don’t know of any of the elite coaches [seeking the Gophers job],” says Washington, D.C. radio host Mark Gray.  “I don’t know what direction they are going, but you are trading a sense of value when you disrespect a guy who’s a Hall of Fame-caliber coach.”

Minnesota AD Norwood Teague thinks that the next coach will have an easier time than Smith did selling the idea to blue-chippers that playing in a “classic” Williams Arena, a place that only looks good when it’s full of people, is an urban hoopster’s dream. Continue Reading →

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Gophers fire a great coach rather than build a great team — Tubby’s gone. Who’s next?


Former U of M coach Tubby Smith was not fired last week but weeks earlier by the information bubble-blowing media. One knuckleheaded bubble-blower said on local sports radio a few weeks earlier that the only active Black coach to win a national championship “had no credibility.”

“We live in a state where we’re used to inconsistency and a lot of fair-weather fans,” notes former KFAN host Henry Lake. “They went all in emotionally when the Gophers got ranked eighth in the country, and when they started to struggle the fans got bitter… Also factor in the media pressure from certain individuals in town that built the momentum up and ramp it up for changes to be made.”

“I think [Smith] did a masterful job rebuilding a dead program in Minnesota,” says Washington, D.C. radio talk host Mark Gray.  

Gophers AD Norwood Teague, during his March 25 press conference following the announcement earlier that day of Smith’s firing after six seasons, claimed, “We made this decision based on an evaluation of the overall body of work.”

Then let’s look at Smith’s “body of work” and compare it to his three predecessors after their six years at Minnesota:

Tubby Smith (2007-12): 124-81

Jim Dutcher (1975-81): 108-61

Clem Haskins (1986-92): 89-90

Dan Monson (1999-2004): 100-86

Unfortunately, too many locals got Gopher-giddy when the team’s No. 8 ranking in early January ultimately didn’t mean Bo Diddly. Continue Reading →

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Finally, parity in men’s college hoops




Can we say with all surety that parity was finally achieved this year in men’s college basketball? KFAN’s Henry Lake (HL) and Robert Littal (RL) of BlackSportsOnline recently shared their thoughts on this and this year’s cliché-filled NCAA tournament already in progress. (Please note: Lake and Littal’s comments were made prior to Sunday’s tournament selections.)

View: Was there indeed parity this season? HL: There always will be premier schools, but what I think is different this year is that some of those teams that we always penciled in as top seeds in the tournament essentially have taken a step back, [and] other teams have taken a step forward. I am not surprised that there is parity. Continue Reading →

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Sports highlights, plus banished words of 2012

Two members of our MSR sports experts’ panel recently released their 2012 best sports stories. Nate Parham of Swish Appeal places at the top of his list the Indiana Fever winning the 2012 WNBA championship. “I think Tamika Catchings [the finals MVP] has done so much for women’s basketball…throughout her career. I think the entire women’s basketball world was rooting for her to win a championship. People are comparing it to LeBron James [winning his first NBA title this year].”

Baylor’s undefeated season “obviously was a huge story,” Parham says. Continue Reading →

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Scarce Black commentary on March Madness



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Whether cable, regular television or satellite radio, it doesn’t matter when it comes to March Madness hoops coverage — it’s nothing but a media Whiteout. Call it March Monotony if you will. For every Tom, Dick (Vitale) and Mary, we get token appearances from Greg Anthony and Len Elmore, both of whom offer excellent insights but too often seem to be working on a word restriction edict from their employers. The same goes for Carolyn Peck and Vera Jones, who gives us “fit-in” analysis, which leaves us sadly exposed to mumbling others who sound like inexperienced Specs Howard Broadcasting School grads. And of course I’ll miss announcer Gus Johnson, now with Fox, and his genuine enthusiasm, leaving us instead with bad Mel Allen copycats. Continue Reading →

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Pay-for-pain scandal: Black athletes, journalists on NFL bounty-hunt allegations



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has allegedly concocted a “headhunting” system for his defensive players: $1,000 if a player was carried off the field on a stretcher after a hit; $1,500 if a player just got hurt and left the game unable to play. Former NFL player Jack Brewer, who played on four NFL teams, including Minnesota, told the MSR Monday that the New Orleans bounty scheme was a well-known secret. “It’s nothing new — it’s always been there,” he recalls, vividly remembering what happened to then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC championship game. Allegedly there was a $10,000 price on his head if someone took him out. If you recall, the host Saints treated Favre like a Timex watch that day; he took a bad licking and barely kept ticking as the Vikings lost in overtime to New Orleans. Continue Reading →

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