I had a conversation with one of my more conservative readers the other day. It involved ESPN and the “repositioning” of Mike Ditka. We’ve engaged in such conservations before but considering this person sits firmly on the opposite end of the political spectrum, we generally agree to disagree on most issues, Ditka being one of them.
When I first heard that Ditka was offering up opinionative history lessons about Obama’s presidency, I knew I was in for a treat. After all, if it led to his demotion, it had to be juicy. Ditka’s never been one to bite his tongue.
So I called on my buddy J-Dub who I was certain had a take on what went down. He did. Here are our opinions on the Ditka dilemma but first… the facts.
Ditka was being interviewed on the “Bernie and Sid” radio show based out of New York City. When asked by the hosts, Coach Ditka was more than eager to offer up his opinions on the current president.
“Obama is the worst president we’ve ever had,” said the Bears legend. “[He’s] a fine man. I mean, he’s pleasant. He would be great to play golf with. He’s not a leader. This country needs leadership. It needs direction. It needs somebody that steps up front. We need somebody like Ronald Reagan.” Ditka also said he regretted not running against Obama for the Illinois Senate seat back in 2004, which would have made for a delectable Trump-Ditka ticket in 2016.
We’ll get to my counterpart’s opinion in a minute but first off, as he will mention, I don’t see this as a race issue at all. The fact that Ditka happens to be white and our president happens to be African-American is irrelevant. ESPN, for whom Ditka now works, is there to report the news. The fact that the network has strayed miles away from its originally intended course is also irrelevant in this matter.
The bottom line is that I don’t need political commentary from my sportscasters, who are there only to read a teleprompter and tell me how fancy a dunk was. If I want “news,” I’ll go to one of the several other channels who pretend to report it. The day I start taking political advice form a sports icon is the day I turn in my voting card for good. The fact that ANY American would consider voting for a particular political candidate based on whether an athlete or actor tells them to means we are light years away from the principles our country was founded upon, one of those being political liberty.
And before you go saying that Ditka should have had the liberty to express his own opinion, we all know that same right does not apply to the media, of which Ditka is now a member.
I’m perfectly okay with Ditka opening his cigar-filled, braut-ingesting pie-hole to tell me how he feels about President Obama, even if he’s factually incorrect. He’s not suddenly a bad guy for doing so. I would have found it equally as inappropriate had Ditka said Obama was the greatest president ever, words which would clearly never come out of his mouth. Perhaps it’s naïve to think public figures won’t get asked about their political views in an election year such as this. It’s probably also naïve to think those same people might opt for a no comment.
Just as I’m okay with Ditka speaking his mind, I’m also okay with Ditka being told to sit the fuck down for doing so. Mike Ditka is not an American hero because he won a Super Bowl. Nor is he some expert on politics. He’s a former football player and coach paid to provide insight about the game we might otherwise not know. I may have just alienated the entire south side of Chicago but fuck ‘em. If you’re disillusioned enough to vote for who Ditka tells you to, you deserve the shitty weather you live in and the shittier football team you root for.
I’m not saying ESPN was right to demote the guy to second string either but I understand it. He’s not the first and won’t be the last. So what if there’s a double-standard. Go bitch to your boss about the double-standards between the things he can do and the things you can’t and see if you’re not eventually sitting in the same seat as Ditka.
There’s a reason Mickey Mouse makes $50 billion a year. That’s because he keeps his mouth shut; he doesn’t play favorites. And even if dear old Mickey were reporting the news, I’d want him to do just that, in his cute, iconic, squeaky little voice. Tell me what happened and don’t slant it.
That is still possible, isn’t it?
We can sit here and argue about political correctness running rampant as J-Dub is about to do but I’ve come to accept it. It’s either that or have a million Ditkas running their mouths and saying whatever they please. Trust me… one Ditka is more than enough.
ESPN is pablum. We all know that by now. Their agenda and journalistic integrity can clearly be questioned. Their business model, however, cannot.
J-Dub on “Political Correctness”
God forbid we have something where we would have ” a million Ditkas running their mouths and saying whatever they please.” They might call it something ridiculous like “Twitter.”
Surprisingly, I can buy most of what Chump is selling. I was with him right up until the end. Who can argue with a “who gives a fuck what Mike Ditka thinks” opinion? But there’s two problems,. The first is rather minor; Chump is a mile off when he says you can’t question ESPN’s business model. I’ll deal with that at the end. The reason why the World Wide Bottom Feeder is losing viewers is far more important.
If you’ve been a regular reader of Dubsism, you know I hate the World Wide Bottom Feeder more than toothaches and flat beer combined. There’s about as many reasons why as there are point cat photos on Instagram, but one that really frosts my ass is their incessant need to engage in that modern McCarthyism known as “political correctness.”
If you are a listener of the Radio J-Dub podcast, you know that in the recent Episode #37, I made serious mention of ESPN’s acceptance of “blacism” and how it has own stable of “blacists.” If you aren’t, then you don’t know what “blacism” is.
Allow me to explain. “Blacism” is when black guys are allowed to say horribly racist things about anybody they want, including other blacks, and they never get called on it because of the ideologically-polluted double-standard that is “political correctness.”
Right now, you are wondering what the hell this has to do with Mike Ditka. Again, allow me to explain. One of the reason why I refer to “political correctness” as “modern McCarthyism” is because both “PC” and McCarthyism were about “witch hunts.”
In 16th century Salem, if you wanted to destroy somebody, all you had to do was call them a “witch.” In 1950’s America, if you wanted to destroy somebody, all you had to do was call them a “communist.” In the politically-correct America of today, if you want to destroy somebody, the “PC” way to do it is to label them as a “conservative.”
If you doubt that, consider the following. Whether the “discrediting” label is “witch,” “communist,” or “conservative,” they are all loaded words with “hidden” meanings intended to be verbal weapons of mass destruction. “Witches” were going to plague your crops and eat your children. “Communists” were going to enslave you to the “red menace.” “Conservatives” are all racists, sexists, and homophobes who all believe that women are nothing more than baby factories, gays should get they same treatment get in Iran (unless they are as funny as Paul Lynde was), and anybody who isn’t bleached-flour white should be happy with a life of menial servitude.
Then the question becomes how does one earn such a label? Be it a “witch hunt,” the “red scare,” or “political correctness,” the key is merely disagreeing with the “prevailing belief.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne really had this nailed in the “Scarlet Letter.” Reverend Dimmesdale is the classic hypocrite who drives the “prevailing belief.” He’s supposed to be the spiritual leader of the community, but he also an adulterous lech. All while he’s preaching virtue, he’s dying to get into Hester Prynne’s pantaloons. Once the reverend propositions her, she has two choices.
She could have rejected his advances, in which case he brands her as a witch, ties her to a stake, and smokes her like a Swisher Sweet. Instead, she agrees to an old-fashioned game of slap-and-tickle, which leaves her with a puritanical bun in the oven. Here’s where Dimmesdale slips out of Hester and slips into his hypocrite hat. While’s he’s cheering on the crowd giving Hester an “A” for adultery, he’s conveniently keeping quiet about who supplied the man-dough currently baking in her oven.
Now, you’re really wondering what the hell this has to do with Mike Ditka. It’s actually rather simple. The pointy-heads at ESPN are the “politically correct” version of Reverend Dimmesdale. They put him in that role covering the NFL to be a larger-than-life figure who speaks his mind. Then they “demoted” him for being a larger-than-life figure who speaks his mind. Ditka forgot you’re only allowed to speak your mind when the reverends of “PC” agree with you.
I know it’s easy to make an argument that Ditka was put out to pasture because he can be seen as a doddering old fool, but I completely reject that. He was already a doddering old fool when they put him in that role. Do you really expect me to believe that a network which can find cell-phone video of girl’s high-school basketball from Elk Fart, Wyoming never saw ANY footage of what Ditka was even before he was a doddering old fool? Puh-leeze.
Ditka got relegated from the Sunday NFL Countdown desk because he says of lot of things the “PC Police” at the World Wide Bottom Feeder don’t like, particularly when he referred to President Obama as “the worst president ever.” Welcome to the unforgivable sin in the politically-correct America of 2016; criticism of Obama is simply not tolerated by the “PC Police.”
If you doubt that, just ask Hank Williams, Jr. He let his opinion about President Potato-Head be known, and ESPN smoked him faster than Lindsay Lohan going through a half-gram of meth. However, it’s not just Obama you can’t criticize, and that’s not the only example. I’ve referenced this several times, but to this day Rush Limbaugh is a pure example of this kind of hypocritical witch hunting. The same story applies as to how they misinterpreted a tweet from conservative baseball analyst Curt Schilling and suspended him for it.
Now we can add Mike Ditka to that list.
The commandments of “political correctness” dictate there are certain classes of people who are not allowed to be criticized in any way, shape, or form. Likewise, once you say something deemed offensive, or you are labeled as a “conservative,” you are fair game for the “PC Lynch Mob.”
They can deny it all they want, but I’m not a big believer in coincidences. It’s going to be a tough sell to get me to buy that Mike Ditka offered his opinion on Obama and within a week he gets pulled from the World Wide Bottom Feeder’s premier Sunday NFL pre-game show.
I’ve already mentioned people who have incurred the wrath the the reverends of “political correctness,” but it’s almost more telling to point those who haven’t been punished. There’s the stable of “blacists” I already mentioned in the aforementioned podcast. Not to mention the same network that still employs Kenny Mayne, who once tweeted his desire to ram a car with a Sarah Palin sticker on it, but held off only because there might be “kids in the car.”
Even more telling is there’s one guy who fallen on both sides. This is the same network who gave Tony Kornheiser a free pass for likening Republicans to ISIS, yet dropped the hammer on him for making light of Hannah Storm’s wardrobe.
Boil it all down to politically correct gravy, and what you get is a very ugly assault on the free exchange of ideas. You’ll note I didn’t say “freedom of speech” because the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply here, “freedom of speech” only comes into play in matter between individuals and the government. As an employer, ESPN has every right to act against Ditka for what he says on their airwaves, but that also means they get to deal with the repercussions of their actions.
Like it or not, the fact is Mike Ditka is a popular guy in America and President Potato-Head isn’t. Like it or not, Americans are starting to see “political correctness” for the modern McCarthyism, and they are tiring of it. As a high-profile purveyor of this nonsense, ESPN keeps making moves like this, which helps explain why the World Wide Bottom Feeder is hemorrhaging viewers.