Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Burn the nonbelievers at the stake!

It's not very often that I devote this entire blog to just one subject, but today's one of those days. There's a story out of Arkansas which is nothing short of infuriating. A reporter was fired by a radio station for the egregious offense of wearing a cap with her alma mater's logo to cover a Bobby Petrino post scrimmage press conference.

Full disclosure here: the reporter in question, Renee Gork, is a friend of mine. That doesn't mean she's perfect - Renee acknowledged herself that wearing a Gators cap wasn't the right move and in retrospect she'd change it. It was raining and she was headed to the scrimmage so she grabbed a hat. Since she wasn't anticipating her attire being a discussion topic, it just didn't register that someone might take offense. Unfortunately, the Razorbacks coach did and commented on it at the presser. With that, insane Arkansas fans on the internet were off to the races in the quest to see who could send the most hateful email or tweet to Renee and her station. After a couple of days of their psychotic behavior, her radio station bowed down to the mob and canned her while promising to be "pro-Razorback".

The idea of an army of "love it or leave it" fans lining up behind the notorious perpetual job searcher Petrino would be amusing if it wasn't so pathetic. It's not like Renee was trying to make some kind of point by wearing the hat, and the question she asked wasn't anything controversial either. Despite that, once a man totally lacking loyalty to anything other than his personal interests makes a pissy remark about her wearing the logo of a team Arkansas isn't even playing this season a section of "fans" demands her head on a plate. Heaven forbid we let someone apologize or explain their actions these days - if you're not with us, you're against us. Which makes more sense - that a reporter was looking to tick off the person she's trying to cover, or that she happened to wear her alma mater's hat?

In so many ways this story symbolizes what I hate about the state of our country. I've mentioned before how troubling I find the current polarized political climate. The incredible range of options available to us all has led so many people to stop considering any views other than their own. If you want to get information only from your personal "Amen Corner", you can easily do it now. Regardless of which side of issues you're on, there is much to be gained from reading both the National Review and Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. If things have gotten to the point where the only people we're willing to hear comment even on something as minor as how a college football team's offensive line is doing are those who've professed their undying love to that team, we're in big trouble.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always enjoyed Renee's comments and sports discussion when she was here in Gainesville. While in hindsight it would've been better for her to grab another hat as she walked out the door into the rain, for her to get fired is ridiculous and a loss to the station.

Petrino's behavior doesn't even deserve comment - nothing that he does surprises me.

Anonymous said...

we are in big trouble

Matt said...

To be honest, I don't think that this accurately reflects the state of our country, just the most sensational aspect. I think most people are like us and can get along despite the fact that we might miraculously disagree on a thing or two. The truth is that the loudest and most visible people (those who have nothing better to do than demand someone get fired for their hat or who don't have enough dignity to see the problem with screaming at someone on a cable news show) are the ones we hear and see most often. It'd be great for people in positions of power, like the executives at this station, to stop kowtowing to these fanatics and--quite simply--tell them to shut up. The sooner we stop letting the loudmouths dominate the discussion the better off we'll all be.

In all honesty, I wish I could say confidently that the same wouldn't happen if someone from The Sky wore a Bama hat to an Urban Meyer press conference, but there's just way too many pathetic college fans out there who have no better way to spend their time. Some people are just never going to grow up.

Anonymous said...

Look at the Gators fan defending another Gators fan!

Heath Cline said...

Look at the predictably anonymous coward making unsubstantiated claims!

Doctor said...

Heath, you and Renee's afternoon show was my introduction to the Gator Nation.

Even more the fact that Renee is a UF GRADUATE should have ameliorated her situation to her boss. You cannot expect an alumna to not have alma mater apparel or gear.

I wore my undergrad apparel all over Gainesville and even in the Swamp for games.

This is beyond stupid as I know at least 3 other Florida grads living in Arkansas right now.

williejacksonjackjackson said...

As someone who remembers Renee on your show, I find it bizarre that this has become a national story now. She's trending #6 on Yahoo along with Lindsay Lohan and Zsa Zsa Gabor.