Unethical Blog Post of the Day

Darren Rovell writes a sports business blog for CNBC, and maybe he was under a deadline, but it’s no excuse. In his blog today, Rovell writes an essay entitled, “Marathon’s Headline Win Is Empty.” His theme: everyone was excited that, for once, an American runner won the New York Marathon. But Rovell throws cold water on that bit of misguided national pride…

“Unfortunately, it’s not as good as it sounds. Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he’s not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies.”

It constantly amazes me that after over 200 years proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that an American whose parents came over on the Mayflower is no more American than one who became a citizen yesterday, some people still fail to respect the wonder of this nation, a community of immigrants and the  descendants of immigrants, bound together by ideals and aspirations, not national origin.  Keflezighi has been a U.S. for eleven years, but he’s still not American enough for Rovell.

If anything, the fact that Keflezighi is a naturalized citizen—like Einstein, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, like Charles Steinmetz and Cary Grant, like Samuel Gompers and Madeleine Albright, like Bob Hope and Ayn Rand—gives us more reason to be proud of America, and that our system works, making us stronger, smarter, and faster because we can attract the best and boldest from around the globe.

It’s just a business sports blog,  and I suspect Rovell will soon be getting beaten up in media venues with a lot more visibility than this one. And I suspect, or hope,  that he didn’t think through what he wrote very carefully, and will soon be issuing a “I didn’t mean to offend anyone” apology. Still,  the attitude that his words convey, even if he didn’t intend it, is at the heart of the racism, bigotry, and xenophobia that still warps our political discourse and divides our communities.  The core ethical value being neglected here is respect: respect for fellow citizens, respect for the immigrants who have the determination to become Americans, and respect for what being an American means.

Meb Keflezighi is as American as I am, or Darren Rovell. It was sure great to have an American finally win the New York Marathon.

[Hat tip to James Taranto]

3 thoughts on “Unethical Blog Post of the Day

    • We all are unethical a lot of the time—the point is to value being ethical and to practice thinking about what’s right in time to avoid doing wrong. I’m pretty sure I’m unethical much less frquently than I used to be, but like everyone else, I need all the help I can get. If there is anyone out there who is ethical 100% of the time, he or she is the one who doesn’t belong here.

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