“Fuck that nigger.”
—-Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison, muttering behind his hand into a live microphone after answering a post-Final Four game news conference question about Wisconsin player Frank Kaminsky, whose heroics had contributed greatly to Kentucky’s 71-64 defeat by the Badgers, ruining the Wildcats’ undefeated season and the favored Kentucky’s hopes of another NCAA basketball tournament championship.
Stay classy, Andrew.
We are constantly told how college sports builds character, sportsmanship and life skills, and that the experience itself is a valuable education that will serve students well in their future careers.
Harrison later said, in multiple tweets apologizing on Twitter, that his remark was a misunderstood “poor choice of words”—well, except for the word “that”—and that he really admired and respected his rival. Harrison did not explain why his admiration and respect did not extend to shaking hands with the team that had just beaten his, as NCAA practice dictates.
If, by some chance, Harrison does not succeed in his imminent NBA career (that will prevent him from actually getting a degree) or does not make enough millions before flopping that he has to support himself with less lucrative pursuits, his lack of basic manners, civility and judgment will prove to be quite a handicap, I imagine. Too bad he didn’t learn any of that in college.
But I look forward to having it explained to me once again why a black man calling a white one a “nigger” following a vulgarity should be excused as simply a charming cultural expression of respect that one can only appreciate in the context of the larger African-American experience, while a white man saying the same about a black player would become an instant national pariah and risk having his house burned down.
Side note: It took me 15 minutes and visits to six web sites before I could find out exactly what it was that Harrison said. Most sources vaguely reported that he had uttered “an expletive and a slur,” or plunged readers into a game of “Hangman” with the statement being reported as “_ _ _ _ that _ _ _ _ _ _.” The Washington Post settled on “[Expletive] that [N-word].” Which expletive??? This is ridiculous, and as inexcusably bad journalism as refusing to show the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that caused the Paris massacre. The story is about what Harrison said, and it is impossible to inform readers about the incident without saying exactly what was said.
“Oh, Tommy—you’re such a pig!”
On the flip side of the hit post about Emily Heist Moss’s open letter to her harassers, we have the B-side (I know this metaphor marks me as a fogy ): my objections to a New York Times essay by Lynn Messna, who declares that she doesn’t want her son to be gentleman, because gentlemen are sexist.
“Start to complain about your preschooler adopting gentlemanly behavior and you quickly discover how out of step you are with the rest of the world. Almost everyone I mention it to thinks it’s lovely and sweet. What’s the harm in teaching little boys to respect little girls?..But I don’t think it’s an overreaction to resent the fact that your son is being given an extra set of rules to follow simply because he’s a boy. His behavior, already constrained by a series of societal norms, now has additional restrictions. Worse than that, he’s actively being taught to treat girls differently, something I thought we all agreed to stop doing, like, three decades ago. Continue reading
We all know Vice President Biden’s mouth is only loosely connected to his brain. To some this is charming; to others it is irritating or scary. His tendency in unguarded moments to slip into vernacular hitherto regarded as undignified and inappropriate for high elected officials and unsuitable for family newspapers is part of a national crisis in civility. It is a symptom of it, but when our leaders give in to destructive cultural trends, they reinforce them. Continue reading
There is apparently is little that a politician can do today that is so uncivil, embarrassing or undignified that partisans won’t cheer it, and that fundraisers and marketers unencumbered by things such as values, responsibility, and shame won’t try to use to raise money. Call the President a liar during his State of the Union Address? Fundraising gold! Shout “Baby killer!” on the floor of the House? Great!! Use it to get those checks flowing!
Now, not to be outdone by the shameless venality of the GOP, Democrats are using Joe Biden’s resort to gutter-speech, to the President, during a formal ceremony, on national television, as part of a new fundraising pitch. CNN reports that Democrat donors who give at least $25 to the cause will receive “a limited edition ‘Health Reform is a BFD’ T-shirt in a super-soft, fine jersey (men’s) or baby rib (women’s) cotton fabric,” according to a new fundraising page posted on the website of Organizing For America, the White House political group housed in the National Democratic Committee. Continue reading
Every time I hear about a new tell-all book by a famous person’s former lover, spouse, political aide or appointee, full of embarrassing revelations about what celebrities, political leaders or admired (or reviled) historical figures did or said behind closed doors or in the dead of night, I admire Bob McElwaine just a little more. When he died this month, the Washington Post obituary described him as a man who knew how to keep a secret. He did, but he was much more than that.
Robert McElwaine was a gentleman. Continue reading