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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
I was thinking about your HBO Sports segment on professional football players that were broke after multi-million-dollar contracts and just a few years in the NFL. I’m a big college football fan. Love the atmosphere. But watching the Big Ten this year with the messages on the back of their helmets, End Racism; Equality; Love; End Bigotry, made me think in the player’s best interest for them long term. Let’s end scholarships for athletics. Make them worry about making tuition payments, insuring their loans for school were processed properly through admissions, and wonder how to paint enough houses in the summer to stay in school and play ball. Let’s make them Equal! Yes, it ain’t happening. But I’m not sure I’m wrong? — Tim H.
It’s obvious the particular content of those messages got you to the point where you want to end the free ride college athletes get in exchange for playing football, basketball, etc. What if the messages were more to your liking? Would you want to end scholarships because of those messages too? For what it’s worth, I don’t like those messages on the helmets. But if you’re going to take away scholarships because of the content, that’s a slippery slope. Somebody else won’t like other messages — those that say “blue lives matter” to use one easy example. Better no messages at all on helmets — not the ones we disapprove of and not the ones we like.
Bernie: It is generally regarded that “The ’60’s” is not so much a decade in time as it is a series of national upheavals marking that period in history. Most sociologists consider “The ’60’s” as beginning with the Kennedy assassination on 11/22/1963 and ending with Nixon’s resignation on 8/9/1974. I think we have a similar paradigm considering 2020, which seems like an entire decade in and of itself. A pandemic, local and national lockdowns, massive COVID casualties, an uncertain recession, violent social unrest and an exhausting Presidential election were just a few of the major events of the past year. Like “The ’60’s”, 2020 can’t be confined to just dates on a calendar. I see “2020” (and all that implies) as beginning with the WHO declaring a pandemic on 3/11/2020 and ending with the Georgia runoff election on 1/5/2021. Is this a proper way to frame these troubled times, or am I wishfully thinking that this thing has ended and we can settle into a new normal? — Steve R.
You make interesting points … but I would pick a different period that transcends dates on a calendar. And that is 2016-2021 … a time when Donald J. Trump did his best to wreck the United States of America.
Bernie, I know you will not write another book, but have you thought of writing another sports documentary like your last one, “Do You Believe in Miracles?” I have said this before, and I will say it again, that documentary is by far one of the best sports documentaries ever! I’ve owned a copy of it on DVD for at least 10-15 years and watch it at least once or twice a year. It is informative, inspirational, and Liev Schreiber is the best documentary narrator ever (sorry Morgan Freeman). — Joe M.
Many thanks, Joe. I appreciate very much your kind words. My favorite line in that documentary — which was held at Lake Placid, N.Y — was “the only thing placid that day was the lake” … referring to the showdown between the Russian pros and the American college kids. But no interest in another big project, at least not at the moment.
Who do you see as the next leaders of the Dems to replace the geriatric set? — The BackPacker
Kamala Harris ain’t going nowhere. Neither is AOC. Andrew Cuomo has hopes, too. That’s just three; there’ll be more in a few years.
This weekends banter seems a lot about GOPers who are sticking with Trump possibly at their own peril or at least facing post Trump Presidency embarrassment. Is this more a classic case of The Emperors New Clothes (where the Kings court doesn’t want to be outed as disloyal) Or really a case of The Right trying all they can to keep The Left off the throne? We all know The King is a jerk and screwed this election up for conservatives, but I believe this is all about more importantly fighting the Left with an unfortunate leader still hanging on to the horse. My apologies to Hans. — ScottyG
You wrote this question before the insurrection … and yes, that’s exactly what it was at the Capitol. I will never support anyone who doesn’t speak out against what happened in Washington … and who doesn’t make clear that Trump was the instigator. I am sick of the cowardice. Sick of the pathetic pols who fear Trump’s retribution and the retribution of the yahoos who love him unconditionally.
First let me wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year, Bernie. How much input do you have into storylines on Real Sports? I don’t normally care for sideline reporters but one I have come to enjoy and respect is Holly Rowe @ ESPN. She knows her business, that’s obvious, but she also has worked through and apparently has won a long battle with cancer. The other thing that amazes me about her is her work ethic, probably helped get her through cancer. The woman is always on the go, during the college FB season she is somewhere every weekend and once basketball kicks in and overlaps FB she works 3- 4 different venues a week.! From what I can tell she only takes a break for a period in July and August. I hope ESPN provides her with the use of a private jet, can’t imagine flying commercially given her travel schedule. Always thought it would be neat for ESPN to do a “Day in the Life Of” on her. Maybe Real Sports can beat them to it? Very impressive individual. — John M.
Anyone can suggest story ideas but they mostly come from the producers in New York. So I have a lot of theoretical input but I choose not to use it. Writing about the madness of our time is what both interests me … and depresses me.
I found this news story interesting about bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald tweeting, after his brother-in-law died of COVID-19, that he wanted to find an “antimasker” and “beat them to death.” He also scolded “anti-mask” “F***ING ‘Christians’ who preen about God saving [them] from COVID.”
So just for fun, let’s replace all referrals of “antimaskers” with the term “people who resist arrest.” Let’s replace the references to “F—ING Christians” instead with references to “F—ING Looters, BLM protesters, ANTIFA rioters, and anarchists.”
NOW let’s imagine what the responses would be to these edits from Kurt Eichenwald and his readers and followers. I get that the left wing authors can’t see past their own hypocritical buffoonery, but I find it odd that liberal readers of the New York Times don’t at least notice it. Do they? I mean, Eichenwald gripes about the GOP being silent on deaths and wickedness, but I have to wonder—while liberal readers of the New York Times may agree with the spirit of the piece, do these liberals truly admire and wallow in the hatred as well? That same hatred that the Trump supporters have been accused of since 2016?
— “Hypocritical Stench From Kurt Eichenwald” Regards From The Emperor
Hello again Your Worship. You’re right about the hypocrisy. I would add just one thing: Both sides are guilty of it. Equally. Just watch cable news for a while.
As we get ready for the beginning of the Biden Administration, I think it is fair to say that it is now clear that Barack Obama delivered on his primary promise to America. Is there any doubt that we are in the midst of the fundamental transformation of this country, at a minimum in our largest cities and most of our major institutions? Is there any doubt that corporate America is on board the transformation train? I am struggling to understand what comes next and if there is even a goal in sight from the standpoint of what America is to be like if we ever get to the endgame. No doubt many are already exploiting the transformation process and will acquire both wealth and power by embracing the concept of wokeness. But will we in fact be a better society where identity politics and critical theory rule the day and freedom of speech and thought and expression will continue to be restricted? Many of us believed ( and were excited) that we were marching towards a colorblind society only to find that such a society is no longer a noble goal. I await your analysis. — Michael F.
First, a tip of the hat to your analysis, Michael. Revolutions have a way of turning on itself. The French Revolution started as a revolt against royalty. Before it was over a lot of people who supported the revolution wound up with their heads cut off. Here’s hoping that if the woke culture gets even scarier than it currently is, there will be a counterrevolution.
If I recall, you were against the impeachment of Donald Trump earlier this year (correct me if I’m wrong). Trump has spent the last two months inundating us with election conspiracy theories, trying to get state officials to overturn the election, and enraging his supporters with false claims that the election was rigged and that he was the winner. This is clearly what incited the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday (which resulted in 4 people dying, one of them shot). I’m curious if you would be in favor of impeaching him now?
I know that he has only two weeks left in office, but my feeling is that there HAS to be serious accountability for what he’s done, and what happened because of it, instead of just letting him run out the clock in office, and cause even more problems. What are your thoughts? — Jen R.
Jen, I’m TOTALLY with you. I don’t recall if I wrote about his impeachment … but I’d support getting him out of office and out of town by an legal means. Any. Legal. Means. Look for my column going up on Monday.
One of the very frustrating things for me right now, as someone who was disgusted by the “social justice” riots and statue desecrations over the summer, is people on the right using those events (pointing to the way the media and some Dems were reluctant to condemn them) to defend or excuse what happened at the U.S. Capitol.
Yes, there’s partisan hypocrisy. Fine to point that out. But it’s not a DEFENSE of what those MAGA maniacs just did. Furthermore, there’s at least one difference between these riots that we shouldn’t pretend doesn’t exist. While it was bad enough that media figures and a handful of Democratic politicians seemed sympathetic to, and reluctant to denounce, what happened over the summer, Trump actually INCITED what happened at the Capitol. OVER WEEKS he convinced MILLIONS of Americans that the entire election was corrupt, that he actually won, and that January 6th would be the day when “justice” would be served. He even did it that morning.
I have no patience for people brushing that off with “But what about liberals!” — Ben G.
I can’t add anything to what you said. I agree with every word. As I told Jen (above) look for my column on Monday.
A number of people have been resigning from the Trump administration over the past few hours, in disgust over what happened on Wednesday. I get why they’re doing it, but do you think there’s a concern about government continuity for the next two weeks? Between Trump being checked-out, people leaving (including other recent departures like AG Barr), other positions being vacant because Trump has been firing people, and Trump dragging his heels on helping with the Biden transition, that we could be in some serious trouble of a foreign entity attempted right now to attack our country either here or abroad? — Mary M.F
Fair point, Mary, but right now I’m more worried about the damage Donald J. Trump might do than what some foreign entity might do. I applaud those in his administration who are resigning. And I have nothing but contempt for the cowards who continue to run interference for him.
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