Fingers got tired today with all the wagging being directed at Adrien Broner.
The moralizers and poo-pooers were busy taking it to AB, who proved to be About Boorishness at the Wednesday press conference in Vegas to hype what he is declaring will be the glittering center-piece of a career which perhaps looks better on a Wiki page than it does when dissected by an in the know fight fan.
Days from the PPV clash, Broner slung slurs at the Phillipines, cracking “jokes” which asserted that their citizens are all about eating house pets for supper, and he made the room uncomfortable across the board when he took aim at Al Bernstein. Yep, 37 years in the business Bernstein, Uncle Al, who has had an enviable run as a commentator who has managed to be candid in his assessments, without getting under athletes' skin. But his run hit a wall Wednesday, in the form of Broner.
“The Problem” first took to the mic and thanked God first, so he got off to a chill start. God first, then Al Haymon, and he said he wasnt there to talk a lot of shit. He must've changed his mind right away, because he started in on the promoters and producers. Why wasn't the room filled with fans, just lame old media? And then his temper and volatility came to the surface; Broner said he felt under-loved, with everyone talking about what's next for Pacman after Broner.
Yes, expletives went undeleted, as S words and eff bombs were thrown in more volume than AB sometimes exhibits in the ring. But no, he wasn't done…After Pacman had his say, which included noting that all this is nothing personal, and that all involved are friendly outside the ring. Yes, he was acting the part of conciliator, a deft politician who'd like to get votes from both sides of the aisle. If you like stump speeches, you were transfixed.
Broner next put his stamp of disappoval on the affair. Al Bernstein strode to the mic, to help structure the event.
He asked Manny a query, then another, about being 40, about craving KOs, then went to the other corner.
Broner glared at him and flurried at Uncle Al, after being asked why a win would be very meaningful, would constitute turning a corner: “I ain't even going to lie to you, I ain't going to fuck wit you, bro. I don't fuck wit you, you be talking too much Twitter about me on Twitter. Yeah, you, bitch ass nigga, I'm gonna let you know. Um, um, I'm just bein' real, bro. I just already feel like you against me.”
“I'm not against anybody, but this isn't me, it's about you,” Al protested. He was standing tall at the mic stand, looking down at Broner, age 29, who looked away, but kept throwing. “I'd rather Roy Jones or Stephen A Smith ask me some questions, I don't fuck wit you,” said Broner.
Bernstein asked for a faceoff, then looked to try again, and ask trainer Kevin Cunningham to weigh in. Cunningham shook his head, no dice. Broner warned KC not to answer, saying that this was an issue of “gang gang,” meaning the crew sticks together. All for one, one for all, is how they used to say it in more square days….
So, the wagging erupted on social media. About Boorishness, was the bottom line.
I asked Bernstein what he thought about the eruption. “Well, I guess he was upset,” said Bernstein. He didn't want to get into a deeper inspection of the bashing by Broner.
Over at Showtime, executive Chris Deblasio offered this when I asked him what the company line is regarding that Broner beefing at Bernstein: “That’s Adrien’s prerogative although I don’t agree that Al has any bias against Broner. Al is a consummate professional and Hall of Fame analyst. He calls it like he sees it. Always.”
My three cents: The greatest sin in the sports entertainment and entertainment sphere, period, is being boring. Broner isn't that, is he? So, I ask you, rhetorically, would you rather Pacquiao's foe did like Manny, and offered platitudes and pleasantries, topped off with a lengthy Bible passage? Or would you rather the pot get stirred, and you got provoked and I had something to write about?
I realize this isn't an easy answer, all cut and dried. Hey, Broner sometimes, no, make that oftentimes says things that make me uncomfortable. But sometimes that discomfort comes because he hits a nerve. Now, he might do so in most politically incorrect fashion. The crack about eating the cats and dogs, yeah, that's some Louis CK territory there. But all that finger wagging, let me put it out there…a lot of waggers secretly adore instances like we saw between Broner and Bernstein, and won't admit it. Basically, Broner in that moment pretty much did what he gets brought on board to do, what he's off the record contracted to bring to the table…he talked shit, pushed buttons, stirred the pot, and gave us something to talk and write about. On this occasion, this press conference was not About Boredom. And many of the people decrying AB's antics are secretly not displeased by them.