An Unnecessary Apology

It should not come as even a small surprise to anyone who has read these rants for a while to hear that I am not someone dedicated to politically correct speech or thought.  I try not to go out of my way to say or do offensive things; but I recognize that everyone must encounter “minor offenses” on a regular basis in life; and so, I don’t think that is such a big deal.  In fact, I believe that the First Amendment guarantees that one will hear or read something offensive on a regular basis if the standard for “taking offense” is set very low.

I mention this because Al Michaels felt the need to issue an apology recently based on a remark he made about the NY Giants.  What he said was that the Giants were …

“… coming off a week worse than Harvey Weinstein.”

I’m sorry; I don’t see why that comment required an apology.  Harvey Weinstein had indeed had a bad week; he was identified as a serial sexual harasser/abuser/predator; that is a bad week for anyone.  Moreover, he stands accused of some pretty heinous behaviors/actions and – for the life of me – I have no idea why that would insulate him from scorn.

  • Memo For: Al Michaels:  Kudos.  That was an apt metaphor.  No apology was needed.

While tangentially on the subject of TV sports commentators, ESPN has hired Katie Nolan after her departure from FOX Sports1.  This personnel decision has drawn a lot of media attention and I simply do not get it.  The tone of most of the commentary here is that FOX Sports1 made a huge error and ESPN scored a huge coup here.  For me, this personnel shift registers about “Meh!” on the Importance Spectrum.  Here is my bottom line:

  • I do not dislike Katie Nolan in any way; at the same time, I would not tune in to any program because I knew that she was hosting it or was a guest on it.
  • I saw her with Scott Van Pelt on the late-night SportsCenter show he hosts; my take-away was “Meh!”

Josh Gordon is seeking reinstatement in the NFL after his umpty-jillionth substance abuse suspension.  Frankly, I don’t care one way or the other if the NFL reinstates him or if the Browns choose to keep him on their roster if he is reinstated.  What was interesting is that Gordon claimed that when he was in college – at Baylor in the Art Briles Era there – one of the coaches “tutored him” on how to beat the drug testing he was going to have to submit to after his first substance abuse incident.

Obviously, that allegation has not been proven and the “tutoring coach” has not been identified; however, if true, this is yet another indelible stain on the Baylor football program under Art Briles.  Coaches love to portray themselves as teachers/mentors who do more than draw up game plans and design plays.  The image they like to paint for themselves is that they are in loco parentis – they are stand-in parents who mold young men into adults who are positive contributors to society.  Somehow, that image does not square with teaching substance abusers how to beat drug tests down the line…  Here is a link to the report on this matter.

In one of his recent Sideline Chatter columns in the Seattle Times, Dwight Perry posed an interesting rhetorical question:

“Does reporting WWE rasslin’ results qualify as fake news?”

It seemed to me that expounding on the answer to that question might be a great mid-term question in a course on Ethics in Journalism.  And that got me to thinking about some other rhetorical questions for which I do not have great answers.  Consider:

  1. Q: If all scoring plays in the NFL are automatically reviewed, why don’t they also review potential scoring plays where the ruling on the field is not a score?  [Answer: I have no idea why they do not, but they should.]
  2. Q:  When will the Golden State Warriors play their first playoff game?  [Answer:  The regular season ends on Wednesday, April 11; the Warriors first playoff game will be in the most advantageous TV time-slot between April 12 and April 15.]
  3. Q:  Whatever happened to Joba Chamberlain?  [Answer:  I don’t know.  What I do know is that the NYC media had him on track to become a pitcher somewhere between Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan until he wasn’t on that track any longer and they dropped coverage of him like a hot rock.]

None of my rhetorical questions would be worthy of posing to a course on Ethics in Journalism – or any other course for that matter.  But there is a question that I would like to pose here for your consideration.  Consider this your ‘homework assignment”:

  • Q:  Given the recruiting scandal that is under investigation by the FBI at the moment, would you be surprised to learn that the “rating services” – the ones who declare that this kid is a 5-star recruit and that kid over there is only a 4-star recruit – receive “inducements” that might influence/inflate the ratings for specific prospects?
  • If this situation were to obtain, would it bother you?
  • Why or why not?

500 words or less…

Finally, here is another item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

“It seems only fitting that the Red Sox handed corpulent third baseman Pablo Sandoval a $90 million contract, then had to eat nearly half of it.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



7 thoughts on “An Unnecessary Apology”

  1. So, the “FBI” can figure out the inducement linkages between a “1” candidate and a “5” candidate but can’t find Hillary’s servers, the Uranium One paperwork or proof of Russian Collusion? Well, all-rightly then. I think I hear the comic crashing and burning on stage telling his piano player to “play me off charlie…”
    Impermissible inducements (say that five times fast) are just a tip of the billion-dollar industry that is college athletics. Might as well say we’re going to clean up how DC works, or drain the swamp, or, well, you get the picture.

    1. I wonder what would happen to the money in college sports if 90% of the total revenue derived from radio/TV, gate receipts, sponsorships, apparel contracts (the whole shooting match) were allocated by law to reducing the tuition and fees of undergraduate students who were not already getting financial aid from the university.

    2. Jim D:

      I wish I could offer a view that is less dystopian than yours – – but at the moment, I cannot. I am sure that the investigation will continue here and that there will be charges brought eventually against someone for something. Unless a whole lot of new information becomes available that convinces me that any of these shadowy activities are actually Federal crimes, all I can say is that the US attorney would not want me on the jury trying these cases.

      Also, after the FBI is finished and the Commission on College Basketball has gone the way of all flesh and the NCAA makes now rules, I have exactly no confidence that the NCAA can or will enforce those new rules such that all of this goes away. Oh well …

  2. I wonder why anyone would pay to have a recruit rated a 5* or 4* unless it was naive parents of a player. The college coaches are actually the ones creating the high ratings, so I do not think they would pay anything. If Calipari or Williams or Self is after a player then he must be high level recruit, so he gets a 5* rating. If the schools recruiting a kid are Cleveland State and Georgia Southern, if he is your favorite you better wish very hard he gets a 3* rating instead of a 2*. I can see where AAU teams might want to have their kids rated high as a way of getting more kids in their program, but the shoe companies are already funding those teams. But, who really cares except fans of the top D1 schools. Who else would pay for a rating?

    1. Doug:

      Parents/family members might pay in anticipation of getting a larger “under-the-table” inducement for the player to go to Whatsmatta U. An AAU coach might pay to have some of his players rated more highly in order to attract future players who are really worthy of top rankings. A high school coach at a private school might do the same in order to help his recruiting.

  3. In 2002, Al Michaels (in front of John Madden) matter-of-factly said that the Tuck Rule was a good call. For that, he should apologize at the grave of Al Davis.

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