by John Walters
Tweet Du Jour
I got a security clearance faster than half of this White House. https://t.co/hYYWy6wHIe
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 12, 2018
Kim Young ‘Un
For the second time in three days, a 17 year-old American wins a gold medal using a snowboard. This time it’s Chloe Kim in the half-pipe. For the second time in as many nights, the most spectacular performance by an American was given by an Asian-Americna woman. MAGA!
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) February 13, 2018
“U.S. Shifts Korea Approach” hed below a Korean-American gold medalist whose two parents were both born in South Korea. Coincidence? Serendipity? Irony? All of the above?
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 13, 2018
2. Gottlieb’s Confession
Not sure if you’ve read Doug Gottlieb‘s piece in The Athletic yet, but if you have not, here it is. Gottlieb has actually written about his credit card-theft spree during his freshman year at Notre Dame before, but not as in-depth as this.
Full disclosure: 1) Doug is my favorite college basketball analyst and I think he was criminally underutilized by CBS before and during March Madness. 2) I lived in the same Notre Dame dorm, Dillon Hall, that he did, and was an RA there my senior year.
Here, now, are my problems with Doug’s story:
A) The title: “The Mistakes I Made, And The Price I Paid.” You didn’t make a mistake; you literally committed a sin (“Thou Shalt Not Steal”). It’s a capital-C Commandment. I hate when people use the word “mistake” to minimize a transgression. “Mistake” implies you made an error in good faith. A sin is a sin. And as for the price YOU paid, I’m sorry, who cares?
B) Doug writes, “The last thing I want is to do is sound like I’m making excuses. The hard truth is, there are none.” Hard stop. Fine. Oh, but then Doug equivocates, writing, “But over the years, I’ve thought about why I made those bad decisions. My understanding has helped me process what I did, forgive myself and eventually move on, even if there are a lot of folks who won’t let me.”
And then he spends paragraph after paragraph explaining how his outside circumstance contributed to his thefts. Nope. Sorry. Lots of us are homesick as college freshman, Doug. Some of us also arrived from sunnier climes as well and missed the warm weather. Most of us didn’t have the advantage of having our fellow classmates cheer for us, of being campus celebrities. We may have gotten depressed, some kids drank too much. But stealing? Sorry, that’s just a conscious decision to betray someone’s trust.
C) Doug writes, “I had appeared before the committee three months before on charges of plagiarism. I got off with a slap on the wrist.” Notice how he does not write whether or not he committed plagiarism. The fact that he does not claim he was innocent suggests to me that he did this. But notice the style of syntax, the “charges of.” Even now, as a 42 year-old man, Doug is not copping to it. By the way, that offense would have gotten most of us Domers suspended for the semester.
D) Doug writes, “Over the next week I called all three kids I had stolen from. I apologized profusely and offered to pay them back. I also begged them not to report what I had done to the school’s honor code committee.” Does Doug realize that this is not an apology? If he’s asking them for a favor, everything he tells them before that is bullshit. And even to this day, by the way he writes his tale, he seems to fail to understand that. The proper action is to apologize, offer to make amends, and then at most ask for their forgiveness. As soon as he asked them to not report what he’d done, he effectively demonstrated how insincere that apology was.
Finally, I’ll add that there is no Greek system at Notre Dame. Your dorm is tantamount to a frat, except that it becomes more like a family because unlike frats, you take and accept the oddballs and freaks as well (they took me). What Doug did here was a major betrayal of his second family.
Am I being too harsh on an 18- or 19 year-old kid? Maybe, but Doug is now a 42 year-old husband and father. I’m not bashing the choices he made then as much as his massaging of the truth at this point in his life. I understand that “I f**ked up, I’m sorry, and I learned from it; hopefully, LaMelo Ball will learn the same lesson,” is a rather short essay, but it is all that needed to be written. Everything else was self-absolving it’s-society’s-fault patter.
There’s the times we b.s. others. Most of the time, though, we b.s. ourselves. This is one of those moments. Frankly, I was incredulous at the plethora of pats on the back Doug received both on Twitter and in the Comments section for this. But then, he’s a sports celebrity that people like (I like him, too). So it’s never about the content, it’s about who’s spouting it.
p.s. I’ll add that a minor Twitter celebrity DM’ed me yesterday after receiving DMs about me to ask, “Why do so many people dislike you?” I smiled. The same people who would DM that person to tell him how they feel about me would never say that to my face. I’m not here to be popular. And they’re not here to be courageous.
3. ICE Capades
This is Syed Ahmed Jamal, a 55 year-old chemistry professor at Kansas University. Jamal was getting ready to take one of his three kids to school last month when officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested him on his front lawn. He has been detained in a Missouri jail for three weeks as legislators bicker over whether he will be deported.
Jamal came here legally more than 30 years ago from Bangladesh, but the long and short of it is he overstayed his various visas. The fact that he attained multiple undergrad and grad degrees does not matter. We have serious doubts that Jamal has any connections to MS-13.
The question becomes, If the U.S. government is willing to deport this man and break up his family, how much time does Melania have?
4. Hair’s Johnny!
We love Johnny Weir on the figure skating. And love that peacock plume. When we wrote for NBC’s inaugural Olympic Ice program at the 2006 Torino Games and Weir was still competing, we pitched, “He’s Here, He’s Weir, Get Used To It” as a daily feature. Someone much higher up turned us down.
5. Presidential Portrait
The Obamas had their presidential portraits unveiled yesterday. 44 on the artist, Kehinde Wiley, who painted his portrait that will hang in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.: “He and I make different sartorial decisions. But what we did find was we had certain things in common. Both of us had American mothers who raised us with extraordinary love and support. Both of us had African fathers who were absent in our lives.”
Rachel Brand, 44, is a whip-smart lawyer who was No. 3 at the DOJ and was, in case Donald Trump fires Rod Rosenstine, poised to become the new head of the department. That would mean she’d be overseeing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. She wanted no part of being in the middle of the greatest political tug-of-war since Watergate, so she resigned on Friday and took a job at Walmart. Not like a cashier’s job, mind you. At least we don’t think.
She’s a very, very intelligent woman. And she chose not to be yet another person whose career is permanently stained by an association with Donald Trump. Tough to blame her.
Was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness the last audacious, ambitious double album of the rock era? This was the lead single off the 1994 double-vinyl effort from Chicago’s own Smashing Pumpkins, and I’m not certain that Jim Carrey’s character from The Mask was not at least physically based on lead singer Billy Corgan.
NBC & NBCSN
The Flying Tomato returns, and there’s some skiing and speed skating, too.