Healey’s Rule loosely states that when your opponent is digging a hole for himself, whatever you do, don’t stop him. So it was from a quiet distance that conservatives watched as political correctness creamed one of its own.
At issue was basketball legend Magic Johnson. The controversy centered on comments that ESPN’s commentator Dan Le Batard made about him. Magic, you see, has recently been named the President of Basketball Operations by his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers, once one of the crown jewels of the NBA, have been in a tailspin for the last few seasons and are in desperate need of a course correction. Le Batard, discussing Johnson’s new gig, rattled off some of what he perceived were Johnson’s failures since he retired as a player and then said the following:
And now, he gets to run the entire Lakers organization because he’s famous and charming. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. He’s a very kind man, to be in his presence is to be awash in all the things people like about celebrity, he will make you feel special, but he wasn’t good at any of those jobs I just mentioned, and he got all of those jobs, bypassing a whole lot of people who are more qualified, because he’s famous and charming.
Only time will tell if Magic Johnson is a success or failure in his new post, and one can certainly argue whether Le Batard’s opinion is correct, but only in a nonsensical politically correct world would such comments be considered racist. But welcome to the world we live in. Since making these comments, Le Batard has been attacked as being a racist, with his most vocal critics being his own colleagues at ESPN.
Former NFL player and now an ESPN commentator Keyshawn Johnson (no relation to Magic) was quick to go on the attack saying on ESPN: “I’m going to read between the lines, I’m going to read between the lines on this one. To me, he saying because he’s a black dude, that’s the way I look at it.” The same show allowed a call on air from one of Magic’s old teammates agreeing that racism was behind Le Batard’s comments. Mike Wilbon, another ESPN personality, blasted his fellow ESPN commentator in a series of tweets, criticizing Le Batard not for being racist but for not knowing what he was talking about.
This whole incident turned a lot of heads in the media world, because ESPN employees were in essence criticizing an ESPN colleague employee. But this assessment misses a larger matter. ESPN, as pointed out by its own ombudsman, has a problem with liberal bias. Le Batard is many things, among them being hostile to conservatives. Bill O’Reilly once hung up mid-interview during Le Batard’s radio show, in response to some genuine hostility from its host. Also, Le Batard has been quick to play the PC card himself, accusing many people he didn’t agree with of racism. In his case, political correctness is out for vengeance against one of its practitioners.
Even Le Batard sensed the irony of how overnight his name has become synonymous with racism: “The social justice warriors are eating their own!” he said on his show. “It’s instructive to what happens in America now.”
So what is a conservative to do? Le Batard can be obnoxious on air and outright hostile to conservative beliefs. It would be easy to join in with the mob and condemn him, or even more appealing to sit back and let the whole liberal vs. liberal battle rage on, knowing that however it shakes out a liberal or two will take a public beating. In essence, let them dig a deeper hole for themselves.
But at the end of the day conservatives have no choice but to support Le Batard in this battle. His comments were not racist in the least, and it is outrageous that his colleagues have portrayed him as such. He is correct: this is indeed instructive of what happens in America in our times. Political correctness is a poison to American values of free expression, tolerance of opposing views, and live and let live.
How many lives and reputations will political correctness claim before this madness ends?
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