Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tarnish Upon Chrome

Make sure that your worst enemy
Doesn't live between your own two ears.
- Laird Hamilton

In the immediate aftermath of his horse's failed run at horse racing's Triple Crown at Belmont Park this past Saturday the co-owner of California Chrome, Steve Coburn, made some on-air comments that were (to be kind) unfortunate.  Irrespective of the amount of vitriol contained within them, it appeared as if most of the people who heard them, whether live or over NBC's airwaves, were prepared to take them for what they were:  Words expressed in frustration by a man whose dream had just been crushed right before his eyes.  We the people of these United States know a thing or two about operating on pure emotion.  It is a sin of which all of us likely has been guilty or shall be guilty of committing on at least one occasion in our own life.  As sins go, it is not a biggie. 

However, Coburn then awakened the following morning (presumably after having had sufficient time to calm down, cool down and cheer up) and resumed his war of words.  After having focused his remarks Saturday evening on cowardly horses and the cowardly cowards who own them, train them and will not run them in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness Stakes (and conveniently overlooking the fact that the last three horses to win the Triple Crown competed at Belmont against horses that had run in neither the Derby nor the Preakness - and Secretariat even managed to somehow squeak through by a mere thirty-plus lengths), Coburn expanded his field of fire on Sunday to include this rather unfortunate comment:

"It wouldn't be fair if I played basketball with a child in a wheelchair because I got an unfair advantage," Coburn said. "If your horse is good enough to run in the Belmont, where was he in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness? It says Triple Crown, not one out of two, one out of three or two out of three."

He left unsaid that his unfair advantage against a wheelchair basketball player was less than his disadvantage against anyone in an IQ test or a test measuring class or character.  Respectfully, his Monday mea culpa was a day late and a dollar short.  It was - more likely than not - the by-product of at least one terse conversation between his lawyer and the lawyer(s) for the companies that signed endorsement deals with Coburn and his partner at Dumb Ass Stables last week for various and sundry items marketing California Chrome. 

His true colors were on full display neither Saturday nor Monday.  They were in full blush on Sunday when he had time to reflect upon the inanity of his post-race comments the evening before and rather than walking away from any of them simply invited the world to F*ck Ourselves Very Much.  A classless boor who - when faced with adversity - revealed his true self to the world that had been worshipping at the altar of his three-year-old colt and marveling at the story of how Chrome was transformed from a $10,000 purchase into a $3 Million prize-winning champion. 

The great Mark Twain once observed that, "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." 

Mr. Coburn would be well-advised to heed Mr. Twain's advice.

-AK  



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