As Noel Sheppard reported earlier, in the show-opening feature of its coverage of the final round of the US Open golf championship today, NBC--twice--edited out the words "under God" from its clip of school children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Clearly many Americans were offended and let NBC know about it. Because later in the broadcast, host Dan Hicks issued an apology on behalf of the network. But NBC simply compounded one omission with another. The apology spoke of "a portion of the Pledge" being edited out--but never mentioned that the omitted words were "under God."
Traditional organizations like the Boy Scouts of America have long been under siege by atheists and pro-gay lobbyists who insist they shouldn’t have the freedom of association to maintain their God-fearing identity. But you think that’s maddening? How about the ultimate cultural flip-flop of a gay softball league going to federal court to insist that bisexual or heterosexual players can’t play ball with them?
In Seattle, Reagan-appointed U.S. District Judge John Coughenour ruled that a group called the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance has a First Amendment right to limit the number of bisexual or heterosexual players.
But PuckBuddys.com, D.C.’s gay hockey blog, has doubts about Romney’s dedication to Boston’s team. Co-founder Craig Brownstein, a PR exec and hockey devotee, was surprised that the former Massachusetts governor never talked, texted or tweeted about the Bruins during this remarkable season; the very first mention was at the debate. More damning: Brownstein went back to Romney’s years in office and couldn’t find any evidence the governor attended even one Bruins game.
Freedom of speech or political association is not a value the liberal media revere, at least not when it comes to blacklisting people who oppose homosexuality. Peter Vidmar, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist, had to resign as chef de mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team because as a Mormon, he donated $2,000 for Proposition 8 in California supporting traditional marriage and appeared at two Prop 8 rallies.
Back in 2007, The New York Times was delighted when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the TV networks and against FCC fines for fleeting profanities on broadcast TV. "If Bush Can Blurt Curse, So Can Network TV," the Times wrote in its Page One headline.
But in 2011, when gays are outraged that NBA star Kobe Bryant was caught on television during a game mouthing the "gay F-bomb" at a referee, and the NBA assesses an amazing $100,000 fine for this one word, Times sports columnist William Rhoden argued the fine was puny and that Bryant should be forced to sit out the first game of the playoffs. The Times also approvingly published gay activist John Amaechi on its Off the Dribble blog begging Bryant not to challenge the fine. Apparently, some "curse words" have a much deadlier ring:
Jon Meacham, the liberal host of PBS's "Need to Know," frankly admitted Thursday that media scrutiny of President Bush would far surpass the mild criticism of Barack Obama when it comes to a 10-minute ESPN segment on the President filling out his NCAA Tournament bracket.
Stalwart liberals such as MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) agreed.
"My only point is that Bush would have gotten more barbecued for this," Meacham claimed on "Morning Joe" Thursday. "Anyone who thinks that he didn't – he wouldn't – is crazy." The panel was debating the merits of President Obama appearing on ESPN to discuss basketball while Libya is in turmoil and Japan is facing a possible nuclear catastrophe.
It's so easy to look at teenagers in general today and sigh. They’re more than a bit lazy, a bit spoiled, and more than a bit morally compromised. Two teenagers made national news. One showed common decency and sportsmanship, two virtues seemingly uncommon in that generation. Hope is restored.
Fifteen-year-old wrestler Joel Northrup faced a dilemma when he was scheduled to wrestle Cassy Herkelman, one of only two girls to make it to the state tournament. Even though he entered with a 35-4 record, Joel forfeited rather than violate his religious principles.
Cassy’s father, Bill Herkelman, praised the Northrup family: "That's their belief, and I praise them for sticking to it. This is the biggest stage in wrestling in the state, I would say, and they stuck to their beliefs when it probably tested it the most," he said. "It was probably a tough pill for him to swallow."
On Tuesday I wrote about how ESPN.com's Rick Reilly slammed 16-year-old Iowa wrestler Joel Northrup for his decision to forfeit a state tournament wrestling match against 14-year-old freshman Cassy Herkelman, citing his religious convictions about the impropriety of wrestling a girl.
Reilly mocked Northrup's beliefs as "wrong-headed," oddly comparing his refusal to wrestle Herkelman with someone using their religion to justify "pok[ing] the elderly with sharp sticks."
But it seems Reilly is an aberration with his bigoted vehemence, so I thought it good to point out a sports writer who commended Northrup's decision -- even though he respectfully disagrees with it -- and challenged America's kids to stay true to their convictions.
The Associated Press reported that a Polish gay activist group called Rainbow Stand (or Teczowa Tribuna) wanted separate seating for gay and lesbian soccer fans to protect them from harassment and violence. William Donohue of the Catholic League took exception to this outburst of anti-religious bias:
Polish soccer matches are often the scene of violent attacks and fights involving hooligans.
Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism — which treated homosexuality as a taboo — and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
Don't 52-year-old sports writers have anything better to do than devote a whole column to deriding a teenage athlete's faith?
If you're Rick Reilly, apparently the answer is no.
Reilly wrote a February 19 piece at ESPN.com trashing the religious convictions of 16-year-old Iowa wrestler Joel Northrup, who forfeited a state tournament match rather than wrestle 14-year-old Cassy Herkelman, citing his Christian faith.
Even though the Herkelman family and another female wrestler in the state tournament lauded Northrup's decision to be true to his convictions, Reilly mounted his secular pulpit to condemn Northrup's faith:
The other night while watching the Super Bowl, I became increasingly aware that the Angry Left might have a point about the Giant Corporations. Not that the game was not exciting. It was. Those quarterbacks can really heave the ball. Suddenly it is in their hands, and suddenly it is in a receiver's outreached arms, having passed through a forest of opposing players' arms. Both teams were composed of players who apparently were made of rubber. They hurled themselves at one another and occasionally at the hard turf and simply bounced. Occasionally they did not. Sometimes they were injured, occasionally rather badly. But for the most part, they seemed amazingly resilient. It was a hell of a battle, and doubtless the better team won, but I cheered for both teams. They were great.
Had I only to watch the game, I would have been happy, though even happier had I lowered the volume of the inane commentary. Possibly the networks have an agreement to hire garrulous, loud, excessively male commenters who have very little to say but say it repetitiously. Unfortunately, it hardly adds to the excitement of the game. Rather, it adds to the confusion of the programming, and there was a great deal of confusion Sunday night. For whole stretches, I sat there stupefied by the confusion, most of it provided by the ads and by the garrulous commentators. Not much can be done about the ads, which seem to get more stupid and incoherent every year, but something can be done about these excessively virile loudmouths.
During a Monday morning recap of the Super Bowl, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough asked, tongue-in-cheek, if "right-wing, talk radio conservatives" would blame President Obama for the ghastly national anthem performance by four-time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera.
Amidst the light-hearted banter, Scarborough turned serious and asked "when we talked about what's driving the week – will conservatives, will conservatives – right-wing, talk radio conservatives – blame Barack Obama for Christina Aguilera defacing the national anthem?"
Time magazine's Mark Halperin, and co-host Willie Geist played along. "Glenn Beck's got the chalkboard going right now," Scarborough continued. "With the dotted line," Halperin added. "He's ready," chimed in Geist.
Apparently the Fox entertainment network, which will broadcast Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, rejected an ad for LookUp316.com, as in the biblical verse John 3:16, because it "[advances] particular beliefs or practices." [h/t Big Hollywood]
However the ad itself -- see the embedded video below -- doesn't proselytize, it merely depicts a man watching a football game looking up "John 3:16" on his smart phone's Web browser after seeing the verse referenced in a player's eye black.
"LookUp316.com: A Message of Hope," reads the commercial's closing frames.
It seems these days whenever Bill Maher opens his mouth, he's bound to stick his foot in it while saying something totally devoid of logic or factual basis.
Consider Friday's "Real Time" on HBO when with his final "New Rule," he claimed the economic business philosophy of NFL football is similar to that of the Democratic Party while Major League Baseball's is more in line with the Republicans (video follows with transcript and commentary):
As some blogs have already reported, ESPN columnist Rick Reilly implored President Obama in his Monday column to take direct action against college football's BCS system. Arguing that the BCS is run by a conglomerate of elites representing the power conferences and the bowl games, Reilly pleaded with Obama to work to install a playoff system in college football.
"What a lie this BCS era is," Reilly ranted, demonizing its supporters as "Bowlsheviks" and arguing that undefeated teams from lesser conferences get no shot to play for a national championship. "That's OK," he continued. "There's one guy who can change all this with the stroke of a pen."
This messianic figure is none other than President Obama. "He's a guy who has broken a mountain of promises in the past two years," Reilly said, sounding like a dismayed progressive. But, the president "can make it all right by making good on a promise he did make, the one to look hard into a playoff." The title of Reilly's piece: "Change We Can Believe In."
After the debacle that was the high-profile Oprah-and-Michelle-Obama politicking in Copenhagen to get the Summer Olympics in Chicago in 2016, it might not be surprising that the networks weren't heavily tracking the U.S. bid to attract the World Cup soccer tournament for 2022. (You could argue that U.S. sports fans are much more indifferent to the World Cup than to the Olympics.) The American delegation that traveled to Switzerland included soccer stars, and former president Bill Clinton, and an Obama cabinet member. The Secretary of Commerce, perhaps? No, Attorney General Eric Holder.
When the tournament was awarded oddly to Qatar on December 2 (promising air-conditioned stadiums since summer temps are in the 120s, not to mention how global warming might ruin the planet by 2022), there was no mention on ABC,CBS, or NBC -- or The Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times, or USA Today, for that matter. But that night, Monica Crowley and Sean Hannity did take it apart on Fox News:
Columnists who prize equality of the sexes in college athletics often scowl at how men’s athletic programs get more money and media attention. But a new frontier on the battleground of men’s and women’s athletics is upon us: When is a female jock really female, and a male really a guy?
Kye Allums, a shooting guard on the George Washington University women’s basketball team, has decided that she is a he. Changing her name from “Kay-Kay,” Allums is believed to be the first Division I college basketball player to go public about being a “transgender” person.
The obvious question is whether Allums would still be able to compete. You can’t have men playing in a women’s basketball program, and it’s more than awkward to have a man showering with the women in the locker room. Spurred by a track-and-field controversy four years ago, NCAA rules prohibit sexual reassignment surgery or hormone treatments for athletes to retain their eligibility. Allums, a junior, has pledged to forego those steps while she retains her eligibility for college basketball.
Not even NBC Sports could stay out of politics the day after the election, on what must have been a slow NFL news day. The provocative headline "Republican Tidal Wave Could Carry Vikings To L.A." was featured prominently on NBC Sports' ProFootballTalk.com Wednesday.
On his national radio show Tuesday, Ed Schultz took a decidedly un-liberal view on the controversy over provocatively dressed Mexican sportscaster Ines Sainz being sexually harassed by players in the New York Jets locker room.
Yeah, she's going through jock strap heaven. She's in the locker room! (Laughs) There's been sexist comments in locker rooms since the day they started having sports! What does she expect?!
But when Schultz's own network, NBC, went looking for a soundbite for the "caveman" point of view on Wednesday's Today, they turned to Rush Limbaugh for scolding instead. Matt Lauer singled out Limbaugh as the sexist pig: "Everyone from Rush Limbaugh to late-night comedians are weighing in. And much of the attention is on what Ines Sainz wears instead of the football player's behavior. And is that fair? Does it matter what she had on? We're going to have more on that just ahead."
Perhaps it was just a publicity stunt for his impending MSNBC show, but Lawrence O'Donnell went Crazy Larry on Morning Joe today. The lefty host of The Last Word unleashed on an unlikely target: AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka.
What ignited Larry's tirade was Trumka's professed concern for the contract-negotiations plight of professional football players. O'Donnell was outraged that the union honcho was spending his time on the millionaires of the NFL rather than workers such as miners who merit more concern. Sample lines: "Exactly how many minutes of your day do you spend worrying about $15-million football players? Is this the biggest waste of your attention that could possibly come your way? Is it embarrassing for you to have to talk about these guys?"
How many Americans refused to watch Sunday Night Football in recent years as a result of Keith Olbermann's involvement?
That's certainly a question the folks at NBC likely have asked themselves since inviting the highly partisan and divisive "Countdown" host to be a part of the festivities associated with NFL football on Sunday evenings.
With this in mind, a highly respected sports website announced Thursday that Olbermann will no longer be involved in NBC's "Football Night in America."
Support the Orlando Magic, support war in Iraq? That's what MSNBC's favorite leftist sports guru, Dave Zirin of The Nation magazine, argued on taxpayer-subsidized Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now on Friday. Blackwater CEO Erik Prince is the brother-in-law of Magic owner (and conservative funder) Dick DeVos. So Zirin thought NBA fans ought to think twice:
I mean, I don’t think a majority of sports fans, when they go see an Orlando Magic game and cheer for players like Dwight Howard or Jameer Nelson, are saying, "I’m also buying a ticket to support Blackwater’s efforts in Iraq!" No, that—and effectively, though, that’s what they have us doing. It’s coercive, and I’m against it.
Zirin doesn't say Erik Prince actually owns the Magic, he just draws a Crayola line to him. Zirin also argued it was "money laundering" for sports owners to accept public money for stadiums and then hold political fundraisers in them. His villain was Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, who supports the SB-1070 immigration law: