Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I honestly felt bad for Jemele Hill when she got suspended for her Hitler comment. It wasn't because I thought she shouldn't have been suspended, but rather the way various Bostonians and certain radio shows treated her in the following weeks. Well, now in the wake of yet another Hitler reference made by an employee, not only does she have to live with here original mistake, but she now has to deal with a possible double standard by her employer.
Hill actually spoke to A.J. from Deadspin today, and here were her thoughts on Holtz, Hitler and ESPN's policies....
The last couple days I've been inundated with calls and e-mails because of the Lou Holtz controversy. He made an inappropriate Hitler reference. I made an inappropriate Hitler reference. We both apologized, but only I was suspended.I'm not trying to paint Jemele as a victim in any way, but I can't imagine how frustrating it was for her to read about the non-suspension yesterday. That however, is far and away the right way to handle any situation, and after all of this nonsense, Hill actually comes out looking like she used the suspension productively.
A lot has been written about this. Many have said that ESPN treated me unfairly. The 64,000 question: How do I really feel?
My initial answer is a story, or rather, a moment. A couple years ago, I was visiting the Poynter Institute, one of the foremost journalism think tanks in the country, and I sat in on a session taught by one of my favorite columnist and people, the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins.
A student asked her if she ever got upset when other writers rewarded — particularly if she knew they weren't as good. And Sally said — and I'm paraphrasing here — that she always prided herself on keeping her eyes on her own career.
That's my answer. That's how I feel.
As far as ESPN is concerned, it had been awhile since they had come across as looking hypocritical, but with these last two stories today, you have to wonder what in the hell they were thinking in both instances. No matter how you look at it, the overwhelming sentiment is that punishment for a crime was different for a young black woman, than an old white man. The ultimate lesson though, is that everyone needs to just avoid "Hitler references" altogether.
Jemele Hill Just Taking This Whole Lou Holtz-Hitler Backlash in Stride (Deadspin)