On Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer accused American society of being intolerant of gay athletes: "There are no openly gay players, but there are lots of gay athletes in major sports, and the fact that they still feel as if they'll be ostracized if they come out is – says something about the times we're living in." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer made the comment in reaction to a story about the son of former basketball star Magic Johnson coming out as gay. In that report, Willie Geist proclaimed: "Magic has been a champion of causes within the gay and lesbian community for decades....with the support of such a beloved icon, there is renewed hope that this will help break the taboo of open sexuality in the sports world....There remain no openly gay players in any of the major professional team sports. But Magic said in that interview yesterday he expects that to change and soon."
If liberals in the sports media have their way, your favorite sporting event will soon be a little more like an episode of “Glee.” Writers and talking heads at outlets from ESPN to NBC Sports are in a full-court press. They want to see openly gay athletes in American sports, no matter what it means for the games, the fans, or the athletes themselves.
On CNN Wednesday, BuzzFeed sports editor Jack Moore called for a gay pro athlete to come out of the closet and be "a Jackie Robinson of this cause."
"It just shows that more than ever we need some major pro athlete to come out of the closet at the height – like while they're in the league," he ranted. "But we need a Jackie Robinson of this cause because we just need an example to show that, yeah, I can still play at the same high level," he added. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Take heart, everyone: the NFL is changing. Football players these days are more tolerant, more willing to embrace social progress. They are moving in the direction of the country as a whole. Such were the conclusions reached by CBS’s Jim Axelrod.
In a segment aired one day before the Super Bowl on CBS Saturday Morning, Axelrod proudly told his audience that players’ attitudes toward gay marriage are evolving. Players like the 49ers’ Chris Culliver, who recently said a gay teammate would not be welcome in his locker room, are a dying breed. What’s more -- and this is apparently newsworthy to CBS -- football players are actually capable of disagreeing civilly and rationally about gay marriage. [View video after the jump. MP3 audio here.]
A Google News search ths morning on "Harbaugh brothers Catholic" (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates and originally omitted items), returned 24 items. A broader search at the Associated Press's national site on "Harbaugh Catholic" (not in quotes) came up empty. This is disappointing, given that both brothers are by all accounts very active in and devoted to the Catholic Church.
The stories found at Google News were predominantly from Catholic-oriented publications, with the most notable exception being one by Matthew Barrows at the Sacramento Bee, whose story comprised 15 of those 24 listed results. Excerpts from that Thursday piece, much of which was about the Harbaugh brothers as youths, are after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Comedienne Wanda Sykes is having a problem deciding which football team to support on Super Bowl Sunday.
She told NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno Friday that despite growing up in Maryland, "I'm gay...Me not rooting for San Francisco is like booing Africa" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Californians will be surprised to learn that the income-tax increase voters approved in November was, according to Doug Ferguson at the Associated Press (HT Steven Greenhut at Reason.com), "the first tax increase in the state since 2004." I had no idea that residents of the once-Golden state have been so lucky in avoiding any tax increases of any kind for so long. (/sarc)
It would appear that Ferguson, in his coverage of golfer Phil Mickelson's mea culpa for having the nerve to observe that California's onerous taxes might lead him to make difficult decisions which might even include retirement, meant to write that California has seen no statewide income tax increase in nearly a decade. But that isn't what he wrote. Maybe I should cut the AP reporter some slack because he's on the sports beat, and in context, one could see that he was probably only referring to income taxes. But I won't, because of the final excerpted sentence seen after the jump (bolds are mine):
Joe Scarborough was a voice in the politically-correct wilderness this morning on the subject of women in combat. On today's Morning Joe, as other panelists voiced unerring if occasionally cautious support for the Pentagon's decision to permit women in combat, Scarborough sounded a stern warning note.
"I'll be damned; if we find out that the Pentagon is lowering standards for politically-correct reasons, then you know what? Then the blood of dead Americans in future battles will be on their hands." View the video after the jump.
There were eight coaching changes in the National Football League during the past few weeks. It must be assumed in the absence of contrary evidence that each franchise's owners made their choice based on who they believe has the best chance to take their team to the playoffs and Super Bowl.
The "problem" is, according to league's human resource people (are those really full-time jobs?) and their eager supporters at the Associated Press and ESPN, all eight new coaches are white. As a result, barely four months after the league earned a "high diversity hiring grade" from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport ("its third consecutive A grade on racial hiring and its first C-plus for gender hiring"), the "Rooney Rule," which requires that teams interview at least one at least one minority candidate for head coaching and top managerial jobs, is not good enough (bolds are mine):
ESPN has parted ways with Rob Parker, a commentator for the sports network who caused a national controversy by saying that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is “not one of us” and only “kind of black” because he is engaged to a white woman and is rumored to be a Republican.
Two veteran DC area sports talk radio hosts, ESPN980's Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban, were suspended, on Tuesday, for making fun of Gabrielle Ludwig, a 6-6, 50-year-old former male college basketball player, who came back to play the woman's game.
According to the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg, the two were suspended for engaging in a discussion last week about the fairness of a transsexual playing against women, an exchange that included the kind of lockerroom jocularity typical of sportstalk radio. Apparently that mockery drew the ire of LGBT activists.
Two days following his controversial comments on the “gun culture” in America, Bob Costas appeared on MSNBC’s Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell to not only defend himself but to double-down on his statement during Sunday night's halftime coverage of Sunday Night Football.
O’Donnell, who announced that he loved the Costas tirade and the Jason Whitlock column which prompted it, provided Costas with the perfect venue to defend himself without answering any scrutiny for the other side of the gun control debate. [See video below page break. MP3 audio here.]
On MSNBC's The Ed Show Monday night, New York Times sports columnist William Rhoden defended NBC sportscaster Bob Costas's controversial comments, made during halftime of an NFL game Sunday night, on the murder-suicide committed by Kansas City Chief player Jovan Belcher, even agreeing to the idea that the NFL commissioner try to ban players from owning guns.
Costas had quoted an anti-gun screed by sports columnist Jason Whitlock, in part: "Our current gun culture ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it." (Video below.)
In a video posted at the Daily Caller by Jeff Poor (HT Hot Air), Fox News's Greg Gutfeld went after Bob Costas's opportunism and hypocrisy on gun rights in the wake of the Jovan Belcher tragedy. He also took on Jason Whitlock's inexcusable characterization of those who believe that the Constitution's Second Amendment means what it says and insist that our government to continue to act as if it does as racists.
The video and a transcript follow the jump (internal links added by me; bolds are mine):
You could see this one coming and hardly a surprise that it came from Ed Schultz.
On his radio show yesterday, Schultz was talking with a caller about Kansas City Chiefs' linebacker Jovan Belcher killing his girlfriend and committing suicide over the weekend when Schultz made a predictable suggestion (audio) --
Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath called out NBC's Bob Costas on Monday's Piers Morgan Tonight for gratuitously inserting his pro-gun control views into a NFL telecast: "As a football fan, I'm not up to that kind of a halftime take. There is a time and a place for it, and I wasn't pleased about that."
Namath also hinted that gun control efforts were ultimately futile because of humanity's unpredictable nature: "I think there's always going to be a problem dealing with firearms, with knives. It's the animal we are that cause the problems." [audio available here; video below the jump]
Jim Axelrod filed a completely one-sided report on Tuesday's CBS This Morning linking the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide to a lack of gun control inside the NFL – and in the country in general. Axelrod turned to only pro-gun control advocates as talking heads – Brady Center flack Marcellus Wiley, NBC's Bob Costas, and New York Times sportswriter William Rhoden.
Rhoden blamed the widespread availability of guns in the U.S. for sportsmen getting involved in violent incidents: "Why do athletes love guns? Well, the reality is that this is a gun culture. Lots of people - and lots of people with money - own guns." The correspondent also outlined that liberal newspaper journalist "says the issue of guns and athletes is about youth, money, and perceived power." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow isn’t even a starter, but the media still can’t resist taking potshots at him. “Good Morning America” ran a chirpy segment about Tebow – the backup quarterback for the New York Jets – being anonymously ripped by his teammates.
In the opening segment of Friday's Good Morning America, Amy Robach teased a Nov. 15 segment on the Jets quarterback by questioning: “Tim Tebow’s fall from grace? Celebrated for his dramatic last-minute touchdowns and praised for his faith. Now, being torn apart by his teammates behind his back. Why is the most popular man in football no longer hailed as a hero?”
As far as Joe Kernen of CNBC's Squawk Box is concerned, the word 'virgin' and Tim Tebow are synonomous. Apparently, there can be no conversation about Tebow without bringing it up in a mocking manner for what is essentially a deliberate and faith-based decision.
In an interview with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on Wednesday morning, the conversation transitioned from politics to football. Co-host Becky Quick asked about the backup quarterback, wondering what the future may hold for him. As complimentary as he could be, Johnson was adamant that Tebow will be on the team for at least three seasons.
That's when Kernen perked up, posing an innappropriate question for the team's boss without a second thought. [ video below the page break, MP3 audio available here ]
The Washington Post Sports section on Wednesday turned political with an article headlined "Wisconsin governor fumbles on Twitter: Walker sees collective bargaining in a new light after Packers' loss." Would the Post actually fail to recognize the difference between private-sector unions and public-sector unions, the subject of Walker's reforms? Yes.
Strangely, the author wasn't a sports reporter. It was Brad Plumer, a veteran writer for The New Republic and Mother Jones whose usual Post habitat is Ezra Klein's Wonkblog. In fact, that's where this article is found online. Plumer joked "When it comes to professional football, the usual rules of politics apparently take a timeout."
Openly gay and outspoken same-sex marriage advocate Thomas Roberts today devoted a segment of his MSNBC program to a pre-recorded interview with Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is publicly supportive of a new Maryland law legalizing same-sex marriage. Yet nowhere in that interview did Roberts mention that it was a Democratic state delegate who tried to silence Ayanbadejo.
As I noted on September 10, the broadcast networks were silent about State Del. Emmett C. Burns's August 29 letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti in which Burns called on Bisciotti to "inhibit such [political] expressions" from his players. While Roberts did note that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke out recently in favor of NFL players speaking their minds on political issues, the MSNBC anchor failed to mention that that was in response to a question at a press conference regarding Del. Burns's statement.
NFL commissioner Robert Goodell weighed in on a recent controversy involving a Maryland state legislator who sent a letter to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens that called upon him to silence linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who supports same-sex marriage. "I think in this day and age, people are going to speak up about what they think is important. They speak as individuals and I think that’s an important part of democracy," Goodell answered diplomatically.
Reporting on the story, Politico's Kevin Cirilli gave readers the background that State Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr. played in the controversy, but avoided mentioning Burns's party affiliation in both occasions when he referenced Burns, an African-American Democrat and Baptist minister:
Barely able to contain his glee over the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthused to political director Chuck Todd: "...some of these numbers are ahead of the wildest dreams of the Democratic campaigners." Todd agreed: "They are." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd touted leads for President Obama in the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, and eagerly noted: "...the right track, wrong track numbers, for the first time since we've been testing in these state polls, the right track is over 40%." Todd then cited partisan talking points to explain the modest improvement: "Some Democrats have been telling me, that's the Clinton bump, referring to Bill Clinton's speech [at the Democratic National Convention]."
Promoting his fawning profile of President Obama for the October issue of Vanity Fair on Tuesday's NBC Today, contributing editor Michael Lewis described a game of basketball he played with the commander in chief: "...it was actually very revealing...he doesn't let anybody treat him like the president. If you're watching the game, you'd have no idea who – which one is the president...he likes a really challenging environment...it's a relationship among equals." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The gushing from Lewis was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "What did you see about the way he [Obama] handles himself on the court that sheds some light on his personality and how he might handle himself in the job?" Lewis observed: "...he's effective on the court, he's a good basketball player – but he plays a game that seems very risk averse....But then all of a sudden, when there's a risk to take, it's boom. He's got the personality of a sniper."
During the first centuries of Christianity, Christians were thrown to lions in arenas to be jeered by mocking crowds. Today, Christian athletes face the taunts of a media strongly opposed to their faith.
No Christian athlete draws more media catcalls than New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. CBSChicago.com writer Dan Bernstein dismissed Tebow as “little more than an affable simpleton” and slammed his fans as “lunatic-fringe cultists.” Columnist Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of The Jewish Week expressed his desire that Tebow’s Broncos would lose a playoff game because a Broncos victory would “buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” Radio host Craig Carton was the latest to jump on the anti-Tebow bandwagon, calling him a “fraud” and complaining that he “clearly thinks he is Jesus” on his August 14 radio show.
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones responded to a New York Times story that trashed her as a "vixen, virgin, victim," telling co-host Savannah Guthrie: "...it was two days before I competed. And then the fact that it was from a U.S. media....they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds....they just tore me apart, it was heartbreaking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While millions of Americans are happily tuning in to cheer on their fellow countrymen and root for Team USA, some members of the liberal media are not smiling. Salon.com writer David Sirota, author of a lengthy piece published on Wednesday, is among them, and finds himself "increasingly interrupted by pangs of discomfort" watching our nation's athletes compete on the world stage. "Not because," he claims, he is "ashamed of our country or our Olympians," but because of the way that "the relationship between American nationalism and the Olympics" has been "infused with...politicized meaning."
First, he launched into a tirade about the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics which he calls "a Cold War spectacle of hyper-patriotism deliberately orchestrated to give the big middle finger to the boycotting Soviets and their allies." Then, he called the 1992 Barcelona games an excuse to use the Olympics to "to spike the ball in the end zone — or, more accurately, 360 windmill dunk over the rest of the planet" and questions why "we have to rub our strength in" and "preen on the world stage in such cartoonish fashion."
The Olympic Games, which begin this week, is an exhibition of the sportsmanship, teamwork, and the competitive spirit that make sports so enjoyable. But for many in the media, sports is just another excuse to engage in divisive political commentary. The sports media transform an apolitical past-time into a forum for their own politics.
Progressives have actively attempted to remake the Olympics into a celebration of their own political ideals. From calls to make the summer Games “a forum for the promotion of LGBT rights,” to criticism of the International Olympic Committee as “the 1 percent of the 1 percent,” lefties care less about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat than using the world’s biggest sporting event to pound for their pet causes.
In an online article on Tuesday, CBS's Lucy Madison all but pointed the finger at Mitt Romney for the decision to produce the uniforms of the 2002 U.S. Winter Olympic team in Burma. Madison cited left-wing website The Huffington Post as a main source: "In 2002, when Romney was at the helm of the Salt Lake City Olympics, the outfits were produced in Burma, as the Huffington Post pointed out last night."
However, the network's own reporting on the 2012 uniform controversy noted how the U.S. Olympic Committee makes the decision on the uniforms. Romney didn't lead the USOC over a decade ago, but rather the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the games. The president of the USOC at that time was Sandra "Sandy" Baldwin, who was forced to resign later in 2002, according to a CNN report.
In a nasty rant at the end of Thursday's Rock Center on NBC, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams slammed the hosts of FNC's morning show for daring to criticize the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team: "Trouble on Fox & Friends. It started when the morning show crew mocked the new Ralph Lauren outfits...." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing a clip of Gretchen Carlson being critical of berets being part of the uniform, Williams sneered: "The jingoism continued. Another host wondered why they couldn't wear something more American, like baseball caps or cowboy hats. Until the viewer e-mails started pouring in, reminding them some real Americans, U.S. soldiers, are issued berets."