Posts Tagged ‘University of Missouri Football’

The most newsworthy thing about University of Missouri defensive end, Michael Sam, coming out as gay was the understatement. The head football coach and athletic director both made short statements in which they praised Sam for his personal integrity and communicated their unquestionable support. Other than that, the topic was a mute one in Columbia, Missouri. Until today.

Notorious Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps have made their entrance onto the Mizzou campus today and plan to speak from soapboxes in Speakers Circle. Law enforcement is bracing for confrontations.

My suspicion: Their stream of hate speech will not find an audience. Students will steer a wide circle around them. It will all die for lack of a second.

Ignore them. Respond with no response at all. Focus on something that matters.

This issue is over, settled.

We’re behind you, Michael.

The DWI conviction of Mizzou Head Football coach, Gary Pinkel, rubs some salt in the moral wound. No, it’s not fair that the infraction would bring such media attention. Yes, there is a double standard for public officials, especially those working with young people. That’s how that ball bounces.

On a happy note, disclosure was total and swift as the athletic director, Mike Alden, at once declared Pinkel’s behavior unacceptable and assigning the penalty. Most of us, upon hearing that the coach will miss $40,000 for his one-week suspension were concerned. Perhaps we should pass the hat, organize a bake sale? Perhaps not. He has family to help him through this financial rough spot.

It’s hard being a public figure, no matter. Your personal life seems to shrink to little corners free of scrutiny. For those who are weak of spirit it drives them away from such locales. And that is understandable. In a different way, ministry is like that. And any clergy person has to figure out the public/private balance in their life.

I hope Gary will get over the embarrassment soon. The best way to move in that direction is what he has already started – simple declarations that he violated his own principles and let folks down. People are usually willing to forgive such missteps because we all have and still do make them. I know I”m not standing in line to judge him. There’s enough of me to puzzle over without presuming to fix him.