John Granato: Stop the persecution of the minority athlete

The Winter Olympics suck. Getty Images

I found it very odd this week that a Fox News executive, John Moody, thought it prudent to criticize the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion for praising how diverse this U.S. Winter Olympic team is.

First of all I had no idea there was such a thing as an olympic director of diversity and inclusion. Of course it is 2018 so I should not be surprised at this in the least. It’s a very 2018 thing to be; diverse and inclusive. I just didn’t know we needed a director for it.

Secondly, it’s not wise to criticize diversity and inclusion in 2018 but it is a Fox News executive so I guess it’s OK. Actually it’s probably encouraged at Fox News.

It’s not like Fox News is WEEI in Boston where they’re shutting down all live programming on Friday so all their employees can go through sensitivity training. This after one of their hosts called Tom Brady’s daughter an annoying little pissant and another used a Chinese accent in one of their radio bits.

How dumb can you be? Using a Chinese accent in one of your bits? That was soooo 2017. No one does that anymore.

Anyway, back to Mr. Moody. You remember him, the one who thinks it’s OK to criticize diversity and inclusion. Next thing you know he’ll say Black Panther wasn’t the greatest movie ever made. He may even be one of the 2% that gave it a bad review on Rotten Tomatoes. I’d hate to be those people. They will never be able to come back from it. Their lives will be ruined by the Twitter police.

Mr. Moody thinks they should change the Olympic motto from “Faster, Higher, Stronger” to “Darker, Gayer, Different.” Kinda funny but not really. This is 2018. Funny is not something we approve of anymore, not at other people’s expense.

Mr. Moody goes on to say “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race - not the race of the winner.” A very clever turn of phrase, I’ll give him credit for that. But also very un-2018. In 2018, we have to look at everything through our race glasses. It’s what we do.

Did you know that the Winter Games have been going on since 1924 and in 2006 Shani Davis became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in the Winter Games? That’s crazy. But not really.

Coming from up north and from a hockey family I know a little about winter sports. The overriding thing about them is that they suck. You’re always cold and they’re expensive as all get-out.

Ever skied? Sucks. You freeze on the lift and need to take out a second mortgage to rent the equipment and buy the lift tickets.

Hockey? Same thing.

Figure skating? Those little dresses don’t come cheap. Neither are all the lessons and don’t even think about ice time. Ice rinks typically open at three in the morning and close at five in the morning. Have fun with that.

Ski jumping? How do you even start to do that? Why do you even start to do that?

Curling? It’s shuffleboard on ice. You should not be forced to do this unless you’re 90 years old on a cruise ship in Norway. And what in life prepares you for this? I swept the kitchen floor really well as a kid?

The biathlon is interesting though. You could use that somehow in your life; to be able to cross country ski and then shoot things? If ever there’s a serial killer on the loose in the woods in Alaska they’d be the first people I would call.

The Summer Games are much more practical. With a few exceptions, everyone has run somewhere at some time in his or her life. Running from your mom or the cops or to get to your girlfriend’s house, it’s something most all of us have done.

Shooting hoops, swimming, riding horses, playing ping pong, fencing; these are all things we do in our everyday lives. Well maybe not fencing but when you were a kid and you saw Zorro or Gladiator or Lord of the Rings you and your brother immediately picked up a long sharp object and went at it until someone cried. Had to. Immediately.  

There’s nothing practical about the Winter Games. You can’t ever use those skills again (unless you’re after that Alaskan serial killer, that’s the only exception).

And look where you have to go to compete in the Winter Games versus where you go for the Summer Games.

Winter: PyeongChang, Sochi, Salt Lake, Sarajevo

Can’t wait to get there. Nothing says fun like the mountains in Russia, Bosnia and Utah. Hold me back.

Summer: Rio, Paris, Sydney, Los Angeles, Athens, Barcelona.

Case closed.

So I say let’s not force minorities into doing useless, expensive cold weather things in crappy places. Let whitey be miserable on that ski lift in Bosnia, freezing cold, broke, wondering whether or not he might lose a toe from frostbite while minorities run and jump and shoot and meet Brazilian women and win gold medals doing things they can use in their lives.

Stop the persecution of minority athletes. It’s the right thing to do.


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