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Lighten Up Sports Fans

Jun 05, 2013 -- 1:05pm

Have we totally lost our sense of humor? Have we become so politically correct we read something bad into meaningless comments? Have the media become so sensational they turn every mole hill into a mountain?

It’s sickening.

A Florida assistant coach calls Alabama Coach Nick Saban the devil and he has to apologize. Does anyone really think the Gator assistant thinks Saban is an evil man with devilish power? Of course not. A lot of folks who aren’t Crimson Tide fans have referred to Saban as Nick Satan? Hell, it’s practically a compliment.

Ohio State President Gordon Gee, speaking to his school’s athletic council in a private meeting, jokes about SEC schools being football factories and Catholics (i.e. Notre Dame) being two-faced. He’s unmercifully slammed by the media and the criticism no doubt factored into Gee announcing his resignation, effective July 1.

We poke fun at other schools all the time, questioning the character and intellect of their players. Examples: Criminoles and dumb jocks.

And, really, who among non-Catholics hasn’t tossed a barb in the direction of Notre Dame and the Vatican?

Can’t anyone take a joke?

 Almost always these barbs are thrown out at booster and other school-related functions. The coaches and school officials are trying to be entertaining to like-minded audiences, but social media have created a new dynamic. Sometimes comments are tweeted out innocently to share a funny line with boosters could didn’t attend the meeting. Other times there’s a “snake in the grass” – often someone from the local media – who think they have uncovered a story.

I’ve attended hundreds of these meetings. Obviously I’m not going to ignore a coach admitting to breaking a rule. “We beat Rival U. for that linebacker because we paid him 50 thou under the table.” But I’ve certainly ignored humorous – or attempts to be humorous – comments.

I realize there is an element of being mean-spirited in most of these comments. In fact, most humor is based on being mean-spirited. When rivals refer to Gainesville as Hogtown they are inferring there are a lot of unattractive women on the Florida campus. FSU was given the Criminole label by rivals because more than its share of players had run-ins with the law. Jokes about Tennesseans and West Virginians being rednecks were created because . . . well, I better not go there. (See my point?)Unfortunately, I don’t expect my rant to change anything. Coaches will become more boring and even less informative at booster meetings because of these problems. That’s a shame, but I really can’t blame them. 

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