Bryant Gumbel: 'In Soccer They Score About as Often as Ann Coulter Makes Sense'

In ending the June edition of his Real Sports news magazine show Tuesday night on HBO by urging Americans to watch and appreciate World Cup soccer, Bryant Gumbel slipped in a personal/political slam: “I know that in soccer they score about as often as Ann Coulter makes sense.” Back in February, Gumbel used a commentary, about how he would not watch the Winter Olympic games, to denounce Republicans over race as he condescendingly suggested viewers "try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention." (Dave Pierre's NewsBusters item on that, with video)

Video clip of Gumbel's slap at Coulter (18 seconds): Real (600 KB) or Windows Media (700 KB), plus MP3 audio (95 KB)

Fast forward to Tuesday night and Gumbel praised the World Cup soccer games as “athletic, intense, passionate and driven by a blend of patriotism and nationalism that is real and not commercial. In short, these games offer everything the Olympics want to claim and try to sell every four years.” Gumbel concluded: “I know that in soccer they score about as often as Ann Coulter makes sense. And yes I know they all act like drama queens whenever they're fouled. But if you haven't watched any of the World Cup matches from Germany you should try it. You won't be disappointed. And after years of repeating the standard American denials, you might even have to admit that the rest of the world is onto something."

Gumbel's remarks at the end of the June 20 edition of HBO's Real Sports:
“Finally tonight, a few words about World Cup soccer. Please spare me the stifled yawns and typical American gripes about how boring the sport can be. For God's sake, we're a nation that venerates one-nothing baseball games, watches cars make endless left-hand turns and televises people playing poker and dominoes.

“Now, I confess that I barely know a corner kick from a free kick. I don't get the logic of why they call off sides and I think the whole yellow card/red card thing is melodramatic. But these Cup games are athletic, intense, passionate and driven by a blend of patriotism and nationalism that is real and not commercial.

“In short, these games offer everything the Olympics want to claim and try to sell every four years. You think the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is intense? Or Michigan-Ohio State? How about the emotional and historic implications of a match-up between German and Poland? Or the stakes involved for players from Iran or Croatia. Or how spirits are lifted when a nation like Ghana wins or tiny Togo even tries.

“Yes, I know that in soccer they score about as often as Ann Coulter makes sense. And yes I know they all act like drama queens whenever they're fouled. But if you haven't watched any of the World Cup matches from Germany you should try it. You won't be disappointed. And after years of repeating the standard American denials, you might even have to admit that the rest of the world is onto something.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center