Social & Domestic Issues

Time to Remove Olbermann from Televised Football

Following Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts’ Special Senate election on January 19, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann went apoplectic. In a tirade that sounded more like a voicemail Alec Baldwin would leave his daughter than commentary we’d expect from a news journalist, Olbermann proved again he’s just a political hack benefitting from the fact that if it weren’t for his weekly appearance on NBC’s “Football Night in America,” no one would know his name.

He also proved that there’s no reason to allow him to be tied to a sport with commentators of the caliber of Dan Patrick or Troy Aikman, both of whom honor the tradition of greats like John Madden and Al Michaels.

Who can even imagine a class act like Madden saying, “In Scott Brown we  have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea bagging supporter of violence against women”? Yet that’s just what Olbermann said once the polls closed in Massachusetts and Brown was the winner.

As a basis for his assessment, Olbermann said: “Brown [supports] a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, [and has described] two women having a child as being quote, ‘Just not normal.’”

Guess what, Olbermann? It’s not normal. And the voters in Massachusetts who heard Brown say it wasn’t normal agreed with him.

And although Olbermann’s use of “normal” and “not normal” was just part of his greater attempt to paint Brown as an extremist, we can’t let ourselves forget that it was Olbermann who, just last year, referred to Sarah Palin as “a clear and present danger to the safety and security of this nation,” said Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly “voluntarily [associates] himself with and [encourages]” people who kill abortion providers, accused former Vice President Dick Cheney of doing “the primary job of a terrorist” by criticizing President Obama, and called Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) a “bald faced liar” when Thune pointed out the dangers of Obamacare.

When we at HUMAN EVETNS called attention to these reckless and outlandish words in September 2009, including other things he said about Palin during a Buffalo Bills game in 2008, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said: “Our goal at the NFL is to stay out of politics and to keep the focus on football. If viewers are offended by choices NBC makes in their programming, then they should contact NBC.”

But now that Olbermann has upped the ante by voicing his anger over the people’s choice in Massachusetts, a choice he mocked by describing Tea Partiers in Massachusetts as “the saddest collection of people” who won’t admit that their real reason for uniting behind Brown was to hate like “the racists of the South [did] in the sixties,” we at HUMAN EVENTS wondered if the NFL might rethink its position?

When I ran Olbermann’s latest rants by Joe Browne, the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, he basically took the same position as Aiello took last September: “Each network hires it own announcers. The [NFL] does not have veto power over their selection.”

Yet while the NFL does its best to quietly steer clear of the mess NBC perpetuates by allowing Olbermann to offer commentary on games, one of Olbermann’s own colleagues seems to have had enough. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough reacted to Olbermann’s tantrum over Brown by saying: “It is no longer enough to simply disagree with someone. These days some feel the need to call [their] opponents evil.”

Even "The Daily Show"’s Jon Stewart took time out during his January 22, 2010 show to criticize what he described as Olbermann’s dive into “the fetid swamp of baseless name-calling.”

Why is it that Scarborough and Stewart can see what a train-wreck Olbermann has become, as his hatred for conservatism eats him alive, but the people at NBC — who hire their “own announcers” — can’t wake up and smell the coffee?

Olbermann needs to do football or political commentary, not football and political commentary. When I watch football on Sundays I don’t want to hear about Palin, and later in the week I don’t want to flip on the TV see the same guy who called the football game calling Senator-Elect Brown is “irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary,” etc., on MSNBC.

In an ironic twist of fate, Olbermann also described Brown as “a joke” whom serious Conservatives would have laughed off the stage not so long ago. The irony is that Olbermann’s the joke, and we’re waiting for either the NFL or NBC to step up and tell him to pack his bags.


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