The answer to the question posed in the title to this blog is: ‘yes’ with the caveat: “…and sometimes that is a good thing.” In recent days, two separate but similar sports stories made front-page news. Detroit Tigers newbie manager Brad Ausmus made a rookie mistake when he joked about spousal abuse, while longtime Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder remained defiant on changing the name of his football team. Let’s take a closer look at both.
Baseball skipper Brad Ausmus this week learned an invaluable lesson. In today’s hyper-sensitive world, where every word and expression are scrutinized by millions (including the ability of almost anyone to publish their rants via social media), you can’t joke about something like domestic violence. When asked during a post-game press conference how he handled the Tigers losing, he had quipped that he beat his wife. Sensing his faux pas, he immediately apologized. Still, a public uproar ensued, providing fodder for talk shows and Twitter, followed by yet another apology.
In the nation’s capital, meanwhile, Daniel Snyder remained entirely unapologetic in the wake of the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelling the trademark registration of the Washington Redskins football team because “they were disparaging to Native Americans…” Through several years of controversy and calls for a name change, Snyder has continued along unwaveringly, unwilling to entertain either a dialogue or discussion. Now, faced with the potential loss of millions of merchandise licensing dollars he is suddenly paying attention – in the form of a pending appeal.
Brad Ausmus was insensitive and flippant but he apologized and obviously meant no harm. As Detroit News sports writer Drew Sharp noted this week on Fox-2’s “Let It Rip,” in fact, it was not a story and he urged his editor to ignore it (he didn’t). The outcry over Snyder and his serial insensitivity to racial stereotypes, on the other hand, is highly warranted and important and should be continued, even intensified.
Whether it is the “moral majority” or little ‘ol you or I, we should all strive as a society to scrutinize what’s right and wrong in the right way – picking our battles appropriately, ignoring ‘haters’ with private agendas and sweating the big stuff not the small. In this way, maybe we can all focus on serving the public good in a world where P.C. is actually O.K.