Johnny Miller Is Sorry For Referring To Italian Player As A "Pool Guy"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

When I posted the video of Johnny Miller calling Rocco Mediate "Tiger's Pool Guy" I thought it was just a knock on Rocco and his non-athletic look. Apparently Italians took it as a personal insult towards their heritage and Miller has apologized....

Johnny Miller apologized Friday for comments that appeared to reflect negatively on the Italian heritage of Rocco Mediate, the popular runner-up to Tiger Woods in the United States Open.

During Sunday’s fourth round, Miller said that Mediate “looks like the guy who cleans Tiger’s swimming pool.” Later, while discussing the unlikely prospect that Mediate might win, he said that “guys with the name of Rocco don’t get on the trophy, do they?”

“I chose my words poorly and in the future will be more careful,” Miller said in a statement. He added that his intention was to “convey my affection and admiration for Rocco’s everyman qualities and had absolutely nothing to do with his heritage.”

The apology by Miller, NBC’s lead golf analyst, came after two Italian-American groups protested his remarks, with one of them demanding that NBC suspend him.

Are you kidding me? How could anyone take that as making fun of Italians??? I'm not one to tell people what they should be offended by, but there's no way Miller was directing that to an entire group of people. Miller is no saint but getting on him about this just seems wrong to me. Is there some racist joke involving Italians as pool boys that I'm not aware of? Actually I don't want to know the answer to that.

Oh well, he apologized and it's over now (hopefully).

Miller Is Sorry for Comments About Mediate (NY Times)
Italian Americans Everywhere, Johnny Miller Is Sorry for Making Fun of Your Heritage (Fanhouse)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 11:16 AM


I am black, not Italian, so I can't comment on a personal level. All I know about Italian stereotypes comes from the films and TV shows I have seen or heard about.

It's a shame that the Italian-American group leaders quoted in the NY Times article did not state convincing or specific reasons for their displeasure.

The only reason I can think of, based on my own image of pool cleaners, is that it's a menial job almost like a servant. In that case, who of any race or background would want to be associated with that?

The call to fire Johnny Miller goes too far. Miller is one of golf's great personalities and to lose him over this would be a huge crime.

Anonymous said...
Jun 21, 2008, 12:11:00 PM  

I think it partly had to do with him saying, "guys with the name Rocco don't get on the trophy." Rocco is pretty clearly an Italian name and I'm sure that also factored in.

Obviously Miller meant that guys with an "everyman" name like Rocco don't win US Opens, but in this time where group leaders are just waiting for the next politically incorrect statement, I guess you really can't joke about anything anymore.

I'm Italian and I saw this as just a comment about how Rocco Mediate was a relative nobody on the PGA Tour, but I'm also not a nutcase who sits next to my computer, waiting for the next slur to drop.

I seriously doubt that Miller will be dropped from NBC, especially when Kelly Tilghman only got suspended two weeks for saying players should "lynch" Tiger Woods.

Anonymous said...
Jun 21, 2008, 12:37:00 PM  

I might just be a sensitive Canadian liberal, but to me the comment was similar to say, a Mexican golfer (Mexican golfer, wtf?) being referred to as 'the guy that mows Tiger's lawn'. Intended or not, it did have that tone.

Sports is full of colourful phrases though, and it wasn't Imus-esque by any means. I mean, just the other night I heard a local announcer say 'hang from the highest tree' in casual conversation.

Honestly, I thought Rocco Mediate looked like the guy that unclogged Tiger's drains. Oh! Like the guy that delivered Tiger's pizza. Hey ! Hey ! Like the guy that worked on his Trans Am?

No good?

Anonymous said...
Jun 21, 2008, 12:51:00 PM  

File this under "What have we become?". This is a bad, bad joke. At my site I wrote basically the same thing as AA. Tiger is fit, Rocco is not. He looks like a general laborer. His name sounds like a fighter's, not a golfer's. Do these things really need to be explained to people?

Miller shouldn't even have to apologize.

Anonymous said...
Jun 21, 2008, 12:51:00 PM  

Hey, my great-great-grandmother was 100% Italian. Oh, the utter outrage!

Come on folks, this is getting ridiculous.

Anonymous said...
Jun 21, 2008, 1:05:00 PM  

Anybody else hear the name Rocco and NOT think of Caddyshack? "Moose! Rocco! Help the Judge find his wallet!"

Chango said...
Jun 21, 2008, 1:11:00 PM  

Just Miller being Miller.

Sports Dawg said...
Jun 21, 2008, 4:46:00 PM  

We need to form Citizens Against Out of Control Political Correctness, or CAOCPC, pronounced "cow-kipke". Our job will be to get just as outraged at these meaningless objections as they are at these innocent statements.

Morgan Wick said...
Jun 21, 2008, 5:18:00 PM  

I'm a guinea-wop-dago myself. Jeez, some of these people must have perfect lives if this is what they get worked up about.

And, yes, I definitely think of the Caddyshack line when I hear Rocco's name!

Unknown said...
Jun 21, 2008, 6:57:00 PM  

Yet another example of the double standard that exists today.

If Miller had said Tiger looks like a guy who cleans Davis Love's pool he would have been fired on the spot

Anonymous said...
Jun 21, 2008, 8:27:00 PM  

I'm Italian and knew exactly what he was talking about the minute that dickhead said it.

Italians used (still?) to be considered by whitebread pricks like Johnny Miller second class citizens, pool cleaners and carpenters. it goes back a long way. Shit happens.

Do you understand why, in Caddyshack, there were swarthy looking Italians cast as career caddies?

I used to like him, or had no opinion of him, but besides this shit, he annoyed the hell out of me with his little made up words and crappy interjections and he never shuts his fucking mouth.

Miller talks about black guys in the same fashion, he's fired.

Anonymous said...
Jun 22, 2008, 2:04:00 AM  

Michael Kay just said the Reds roster sounded like a Sopranos casting call (Cueto, Votto, etc)

Anonymous said...
Jun 22, 2008, 1:32:00 PM  

Johnny Miller is dreadful to listen to. He ruins the golf tournaments he covers for me. But Sal Paolantonio and the Italian-American PC Mafia need to choke on a meatball.

Anonymous said...
Jun 22, 2008, 7:26:00 PM  

This country is getting ridiculous with its obsession of PC.

Anonymous said...
Jun 22, 2008, 8:25:00 PM  

Haha, this is probably my favorite blog out there. Me and my friends always comment on stupid things said by announcers but then forget about it.

Now, I can not only replay the stupid comments I see over and over again, but I can also find other dumb comments that I missed!

Thanks a bunch man, this rocks!

Lance O'Brien said...
Jun 23, 2008, 2:58:00 AM  

He might have gotten hawa with it if he left it at pool boy, but the comment about guys with the name of Rocco was clearly a slight against Italian Americans. The joke is on Johnny Miller, though. There already is an Italian-American name on the U.S. Open trophy -- Gene Sarazen, the 1922 winner. He had to change his name for acceptance on tour. Golf is riddled with plenty of private clubs who would not take in Italians, Jews and a variety of others as members over the years. That is why this rubs some of us the wrong way. At least have a sense of the history before you criticize.

Anonymous said...
Jun 23, 2008, 4:10:00 PM  

Post a Comment