Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why the Long Face?

It should probably go without saying that, being an ND alumnus and all, I'm not a big fan of Deadspin. The poor dears have Irish Issues, and as such, don't draw my interest all that often.

But one of their reports the other day crossed over into one of my favorite topics, EsPN. They got some more info on "First Take" anchor Dana Jacobson's drunken ramblings on stage during the roast of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic a couple weeks ago. To save you actually having to visit the site, according to them, Ms. Jacobson had a few choice words to say for some in attendance, physically and spiritually:

"F!@# Notre dame"
"F!@# Touchdown Jesus"

Not exactly original, but not earth-shattering either. She's Michigan born and (horse)bred, so I imagine her parents were probably teaching her that prenatally with the whole earphones-on-the-tummy thing.

"F!@# Jesus."

Screeeeeeeeeeeech Hold on thar, Baba Looey. That's a horse(face) of a different color.

Now let's get some stuff out of the way quickly. I'm not the type who gets offended by religious slurs. I figure if people are that ignorant, they probably lead a pretty meaningless life anyway. I'm also not the type that takes everything ... hell, anything at all ... Deadspin says as any kind of Gospel (no pun intended), so I'd prefer a report from a reputable news outlet before lighting any torches.

Edit: Just to make sure there's no misunderstanding here, I'm going off what Deadspin said. I realize that's not always the best path, but for the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to assume (and yes, I know what happens) they know what they're talking about.

I am also, however, not a big fan of hypocrisy, as my previous writings have laid out. And if this is what went down, our friends at the World Wide Lushes, er, Leader, are wading in that pool up to their necks.

First off, word is they're trying to suppress any and all video from the event. Granted, according to reports, the roast itself wasn't received all that well, and I can understand not wanting evidence of poor production circulating around. But here we have the lead anchor of one of ESPN's more prominent programs slurring her slurs on the dais at a public event. Jimmy the Greek got pilloried for life for making his remarks in a restaurant after a couple drinks, and that video got more circulation than the Zapruder film. This woman was on the mic in Atlantic City. Should the public not get a chance to hear her in all her (drunken) glory disparaging one of the world's leading religious figures? EsPN is always so quick with the video when someone else is the focus of the tragedy, comedy or perfidy. I guess when the foot's on the other hand, their perspective changes a little.

Second, I realize Catholicism is, along with obesity (and ugliness, for that matter), one of the world's few remaining acceptable intolerances to most. But here we have a sports reporter of the Jewish persuasion allegedly flipping the bird verbally to Christians everywhere at a public event, and the silence about it is deafening. If Charlie Weis had used his time on stage to say "F!@# the Torah", or if I suggested on this blog the Prophet Muhammad do something anatomically impossible, we'd be (rightfully) drawn and quartered on the 11 o'clock news and everyone would be falling all over themselves to decry such hateful bigotry. But this one, no, we're going to keep that quiet. After all, she was drunk (I missed the part where they tied her down and poured vodka down her throat against her will) and it was a roast and people get inappropriate at roasts and blah blah blah. If this isn't a big deal, fine, but then the next time someone says something that offends a different major religion, I expect the same radio silence.

Third and finally, hearing this story, I can't help but hearken back to December of 2004. Notre Dame had just fired an under-performing coach who had proven he couldn't get things done for the program either on or off the field. But EsPN (and their Mouse owners) got it into their little heads that ND was a racist institution because that coach was an African-American. So they led the charge on this vacuous story, even though they had no evidence anyone at the school had a racist agenda, and refused to reconcile that alleged agenda with the high graduation rates for African-American athletes the school has. Now we have one of their anchors engaging in bigoted behavior in public. Where is their outrage? Where are the talking heads calling for Jacobson's termination? The University of Notre Dame was declared guilty as charged for much, much less.

I really don't care whether or not Jacobson is fired. I've watched her show once or twice, and if they weren't willing to fire her for something meaningful like her not being very insightful or entertaining, it'd be dumb to do it now. Allegedly, she's sent a long letter of apology to Charlie Weis, and since he was there and not me, that would probably suffice. But the raging hypocrisy of EsPN's behavior here is yet more evidence of their sizzle-not-steak mentality ... a mentality contributing to the dumbing-down-to-a-sound-byte of American society. The less that network is watched, the better off we'll all be, so anything that makes them uncomfortable is A-OK by me.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to one's true feelings, "In Vino Veritas"; WOW !

1/20/2008 08:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well put. ESPN is showing how hypocritical they really are. My reaction grew from a chuckle when I read F' Notre Dame (nothing new there), to semi-pissed F' Touchdown Jesus (it is a library image, but it is still an image of Christ), to complete outrage F' Jesus (now the statement is an attack a belief of Christians). Personally, I could care less if Dana was drunk or sober. A statement like this shows the true colors of a person whether in the bag or not. She was representing ESPN at that roast, and if ESPN makes the choice to try to keep this quiet then in my eyes they are advocating her behavior. I'm offended at this statement, not as a Notre dame fan but as a Catholic.

1/20/2008 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark R said...

Where did you see that CW was in attendance? If so, sheesh, that's got to be incredibly embarrasing and infuriating for him. He's got thick skin, so I'm sure he's fine. But still, that's unacceptable.

1/20/2008 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article--you hit on something exactly right. ESPN is a hotbed of hipocracy that will never acknowledge that this actually took place. DJ will get more press on this than from her actual abilities. She hasn't been one of the more, um, gifted anchors on that network (looks aside) and firing her now is meaningless.

1/20/2008 09:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN has become to sports what MTV has become to music.

1/20/2008 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not agree more. As Catholics first and ND fans seconds we should exhaust all avenues to have this ignorant person fired. I for one have email the ESPN Ombudsmen, ESPN itself and ABC. Next is the big Mouse as until your article I had forgotten who owns ESPN.

1/20/2008 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1/20/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad how media types can launch vitriol like that. Same thing applies to Mark May on ESPN. When Don Imus made his "nappy haired" comment, the whole world caved in. But when Marky Mark or this broad attack Catholica or ND, mum's the word. And to think Disney owns this mess. Pretty sad.

1/20/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Ted Eberle said...

After the "woman" apologizes to Notre Dame, all Catholics, and all Christians, she should be fired by ESPN. The quote marks around woman are meant to replace the first word that came to mind and that begins with "b" ending with "h", but I didn't want to lower myself to her level. The account of what took place in Atlantic City is terrible, and I wish Mike and Mike would address it on their excellent ESPN show.

1/20/2008 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone cut Mel Gibson any slack when he had his DUI and she shouldn't have any slack cut for her. I do think that Christians of other denominations besides Catholic should be equally outraged, and I sincerely hope that Jewish leaders would speak out about this mindless bigotry.

1/20/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous the voice of reason said...

um, yeah, i'm pretty sure jesus taught about a little something called forgiveness. and to think, many of you are throwing the word "hypocrisy" around. how ironic, no?

FTR, i hate espn and love ND.
but i'd sure like to see more christians/catholics practice what is preached. the world really would be a better place ya know. instead people on here insult jacobson's looks, call her a b**** and bring up false equivalents to racism and such. come on, we're supposed to be better than that..

1/20/2008 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The online accounts of the event beg the question why any company would permit an incoherent drunken speech from an on-air personality under its auspices.

The Worldwide Leader may be adept at keeping theee things off the sports pages (just like those harassment claims on current ESPN personnel), but it is not so good at dealing with them.

1/20/2008 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

This will not be addressed on the Mike and Mike show. Please. Look, this is the logical end to what is clearly the corporate culture at Disney(or at least ESPN). The only two things, I believe, a person can do is 1)Like the blog author says...don't watch ESPN or listen to their radio shows and 2)Write the Board of Directors of Disney

Chairman of the Board
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, California 91521-0931

The Chairman of the Board is named John E Pepper, Jr.

1/20/2008 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Mark R:

If you watch the Deadspin video, he is sitting on the couch.

1/20/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Espn is part of the "drive by media" that pertains to sports. Enough said.

1/20/2008 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one protest such bigotry? What are the email addresses of ESPN ombudsman? I think we should flood ESPN with email protesting her behavior and comments.

1/20/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the outrage by ESPN executives? Are they hiding in hope that this "little drunken oops" just goes away? I take it as a real insult both to religion and tolerance. Isn't that what wars are made of? If Charlie Weis has accepted her sober apology then he's certainly a better person for it. The University of Notre Dame stands for so much more than their football program. Amazing isn't it that their athletes actually get a "real" education and go on to graduate. Religion aside, eSPN should be totally ashamed of their representative's behavior and rantings!!!

1/20/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all should email or call the power they are at ESPN to get this woman reprimanded. I can take it when they smear ND, but this was way out of place.

1/20/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous GAD said...

The 4th anonymous down said "ESPN has become to sports what MTV has become to music". This is spot on. Since I believe 99% of the people who read this blog would never watch MTV, I suggest you all treat ESPN in the same manner. It is an absolute waste of breathing.

1/20/2008 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have complained to ESPN via email, but I have also sent email to Bill O'Reilly and the Drudge report in hopes they can investigate further and perhaps report on this in the media.

1/20/2008 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Shoe said...

I understand the outrage and hard feeling, However, you have to understand the order(or lack there of)at a Roast. The intent is to be offensive to all in the name of humor. Nothing and no one is off limits to roast. I hate to say this, but a roast is like Vegas. What is said at a roast stays at a roast.

1/20/2008 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Dannymac said...

Yeah, I don't think you're going to get the same apology as you would have had if a minority had been slurred, because frankly, that isn't how it works. It is unfortunate, but all bigotry is not created equal.

I am protestant, not catholic, and my reaction (to her comment) was; "Well, that was really stupid." Shrugs for all. It would be nice if she was called out for her behavior, but we all know that she won't be. As a (at least comparative) majority, Christianity does not need the same level of protection.

I'm with El K on this one. If this leads to outrage, don't watch the network, or maybe write Disney. One of their classless anchors got caught with her pants down, and we can sit back and say; "You see?"

What would you want to happen? Coverage of someone saying "f- Jesus" all over the place? What would that serve?

(Though I guess you could forward a copy to Fox Sports... but that's another beast I don't want to feed.)

1/20/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous above,

You just cut to the heart of the problem ... Matt Drudge's and Bill O'Reilly's core audience don't like Notre Dame any more than Dana Jacobson does. They're protestant and/or nondenominational Christians. That is who holds the religious power in this country.

Also ... welcome to the down side of YouTube. If its not on YouTube these days, it didn't happen. Dana isn't being protected - she's lucky.

1/20/2008 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great horse puns

i guess one vaguely offensive, unfunny joke deserves another

1/20/2008 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Clashmore said...

It was a roast. It wasn't a speech to a convention or an interview. You can't take offense at anything said at a roast. The people who participate know that. Hell, Jeffery Ross said that Shaq's knuckles were bloody from walking to a roast once and that he tried to peel a microphone with his one was calling for the NAACP to boycott him.

I hardly believe that Jacobsen's statements were indicative of her feelings about Christianity. They were made at a roast. Ross made fun of Ditka's limp schwanger. Should people who have impotence write to Disney or call that douchebag O'Reilly?

Get over it. Go Irish.

1/20/2008 10:23:00 PM  
Anonymous TBoneND said...

Although protestant my family has been associated and fans since 1910. The comment F''' ND has me disgusted but saying F''' Jesus rips at my heart. We need to feel sorry for such a pathetic person who has no more intellect to choose language such as she did. The choice of words regardless of her drunkin state portrays much more of her lack of character. Should we not turn our backs on her as a performer and continue contact EsPN about her dreadful actions?

1/20/2008 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The veneer of a respectable sports anchor was shattered by the boorish oinks of an inebriated pig.

1/21/2008 04:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the dope who wrote that Drudge and O'Reilly will not care about an attack on are a nitwit. O'Reilly IS Catholic, and Drudge will expose anything outrageous, especially matters regarding media bias.

1/21/2008 05:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an email address for firsttake if you want to drop them a line and tell them how you feel

1/21/2008 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a Notre Dame graduate who's brother works for ESPN and was at the roast telling you that she did not say "f Jesus" and you're leaving this blog post up based on Deadspin's account?

Take the blog post down, admit your mistake to jumping to a conclusion and gain some valuable perspective on what it takes to be regarded as
a trusted source of information.

You jumped to a conclusion on this issue like a 7th grader.

1/21/2008 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Sorry, but that's just as 31-Flavors-esque as Deadspin is. I have no reason to doubt he has a brother at ESPN, and I have no reason to doubt he was at the roast, but that doesn't mean he heard what she said.

As I clearly noted, in bold red even, the article assumes Deadspin has the story right, and as I also clearly noted, in bold red even, that's not necessarily a safe assumption. The subject of the article is the hypocrisy of a coverup, not whether or not she should be fired. As I clearly noted, although not in bold red, I don't give a damn what they do to her.

1/21/2008 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

And for the record for those who have brought it up:

First, I realize the comments about Jacobson's looks are sophomoric. Setting aside for the moment the fact that the reason talking heads are talking heads is they're supposed to be attractive (which makes Jacobson ironic, and not in a Alanis Morrisette kind of way), I'm merely responding to the sophomoric remarks about ND that she made. They didn't particularly bother me, but it's fun to drop levels sometimes -- I consider it intellectual slumming.

For those of you who tried to equate "f!@# Jesus" with comments other fans make about Charlie Weis' weight, you're way off base. First, I don't care what people say about Weis' weight. That's for Charlie Weis to worry about. Second, if you really think saying someone is fat is equivalent to commenting on a religious figure, you're just an idiot.

And finally, to put as fine a point on it as I can, I don't care that Jacobson may or may not have said "F!@# Jesus". I care that EsPN is covering up whatever it is she said.

Reading is a skill, Skunkweasels.

1/21/2008 10:48:00 AM  

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