bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: ESPN’s Keith Olbermann suspended for tweets about Penn State

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I normally restrict my stories to things that happened through Sunday night. I guess that is a leftover from when I used to schedule this column to post first thing Monday morning. My laziness has given me the opportunity to extend this window, but thus far I have not done so. I was not going to do it this week either, despite the presence of a story that was right up my alley, but a Facebook post by my cousin made me think twice about it. The story to which I refer involves ESPN personality Keith Olbermann, and his tone-deaf comments about Penn State and THON on Twitter the other day.

I have actually been a fan of Olbermann for a while. I don’t watch his show, but I remember him fondly from his days on SportsCenter way back when, and I have followed him on Twitter for a couple of years. I appreciate his acerbic wit and willingness to take on all comers. He’s an Ivy League guy, and has generally sounded intelligent and informed on most topics. Recently, though, he has made a lot of comments about Penn State and the people who go there, and his comments have been so misinformed that it makes me wonder if maybe my perception of his level of knowledge and accuracy on topics is greatly overstated.

After tweeting a bunch of inaccurate crap about the Jerry Sandusky scandal and his opinion of not only the people involved but also of the entire Penn State community as a whole, he has made it to the naughty list of a lot of members of that community. Folks on Twitter have tried to convince him of the error of his ways, but that has merely led to a lot more snark on his part. This past weekend, Penn State’s dance marathon, or THON, happened. This is an unbelievable event with many years of history, and the students, faculty, and alumni have an awful lot of reasons to be proud of it. Over $13 million was raised for pediatric cancer research this year alone by this incredibly passionate and dedicated bunch of people. One of those people, an alum, tweeted her pride at this year’s total on Monday, and added Olbermann’s handle to her message so that he would see it. She ended her tweet with Penn State’s signature, “We are…” Olbermann responded with “…pitiful.”

The outrage erupted immediately. To be entirely fair, I believe that he was just being his usual obnoxious self, finishing her phrase with something he clearly thought was fitting but not actually commenting on THON in any way at all. He said he hadn’t clicked the link provided, and I believe him. I have seen enough of his Twitter interactions to recognize his methods. Even so, though, this was a big mistake on his part. Even if he believes the garbage spewed by so many about the Sandusky situation, his contempt for the average Penn Stater is inexplicable to me. Choosing that moment, when that community had just completed an amazing effort for the benefit of sick kids, to demean those people was incredibly short-sighted, mean-spirited, and wrong.

ESPN put out a statement condemning Olbermann’s remarks and lauding THON. They also suspended him from his show for the rest of the week, although that would appear to be a pretty weak punishment, considering he still gets paid and still gets all of the publicity that he no doubt hoped for when he spoke out as he did. He put out a limp apology on Twitter, which was certainly done simply to appease his bosses, as it could not have sounded less sincere.

If you read the things he writes, this guy clearly thinks an awful lot of himself. I would hope that someone who lauds his own education and intelligence as much as he does might find it useful to read the readily available materials on the subjects about which he speaks and educate himself a bit more than he seems to have done here.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Former NBA star Jerome Kersey died on Wednesday at the age of 52. His death was caused by a blood clot that went from his ankle to his lungs.

3) The big news as this week’s NFL Combine began was that some tests were being run on presumptive top pick Jameis Winston’s throwing shoulder to investigate some kind of weakness that was detected during a physical. The results were apparently negative.

4) Chris Bosh, the star forward for the Miami Heat, will miss the rest of the season due to blood clots in one of his lungs.

5) This was a bad week for NASCAR’s Busch brothers. On Friday, Kurt was suspended indefinitely after a judge ruled that domestic charges against him had validity. On Saturday, Kyle Busch sustained a compound fracture of his lower leg in a bad crash during the XFinity Series ace at Daytona. He will be out for a while as well.

Good sports:

1) An amateur bowler in the Boston area rolled three consecutive perfect games on Thursday while competing in a local bowling league. Hakim Emmanuel had never before bowled a 300 game, so doing it three consecutive times was quite the ridiculous accomplishment. He is the 26th person to manage this feat while competing in a sanctioned league.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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