Thursday, October 21, 2010

Juan takes the Bullet

Before we get to the sports, first a quick word--shameful.

Or reprehensible. Self-serving. Hypocritical.

Actually, NPR's firing of journalist Juan Williams is all of the above. NPR ostensibly fired the long-time commentator for comments he made about Muslims on Bill O'Reilly's FOX program Monday night. NPR publicly said the comments "undermined his credibility," but this is nothing more than political correctness run amok. Williams said something that could potentially offend Muslims, so he was let go. In today's world of inclusiveness, the unwritten rule is that you can't say anything that could potentially offend anyone, especially Muslims. Even if you are a journalist with a long track record of integrity and fairness. I disagree with a lot of Juan Williams' positions, but the guy is a professional and a journalist of the highest order.

What does any of this have to do with sports? Let me put it another way--does anyone remember the old Baltimore Bullets?

The Baltimore then Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards in 1997 because the team owner felt the name was inappropriate given the city's high rate of gun violence. By changing the name, the team hoped it might have a positive impact and reduce DC gun violence. Right. And exactly how has that worked out?

Sports logos send a media message, and today that message is one of non-offensiveness. The idea is to find a mascot that can't possibly offend anyone, and while some groups have a valid complaint, the boundaries today are bordering on the ridiculous.

Of course, we know all about that here. Colonel Rebel has been permanently retired to the land of offensive mascots, even though (to the best of my knowledge) he never offended a single Muslim.

Juan Williams probably knows how he feels.


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