One slams Jesus, the other jokes about black lynchings. We’re talking about two sportscasters who otherwise would not be a blip on the national radar, yet here we are watching their careers get pinged for what came out of their mouths.
So, here’s the latest deal: At a celebrity roast of Mike and Mike (of the eponymous morning sports show) in Atlantic City, N.J., ESPN sports anchor Dana Jacobson came to the dais and stated something in line with F— Notre Dame, F— Touchdown Jesus and F— Jesus, reports WCBM-AM’s Sean Casey.
F— Jesus, huh?
This will generate heat, but I believe this is a bigger offense than what Kelly Tilghman said. Tilghman, as you might have seen in recent coverage, joked on-air during a Golf Channel telecast that competing golfers should gang up on Tiger Woods and lynch him.
“Our curiosity was heightened when an ESPN official whom we’ve already spoken to refused to confirm or deny that Jacobson said ‘F*** Jesus,” noted a Catholic League press release, suggesting in addition that the fact ESPN would not confirm means the words were uttered.
An ethics debate: The vodka alibi
When Tilghman made her comments — off-color, true, but an attempt to add-on to the ad-lib jokes being made — she was decidedly sober. Probably she wasn’t thinking at the time either. Reading the transcript, she interrupted during the joking around with her comment. It was something like the Don Imus situation, where Imus likewise cracked wise and got the book thrown at him.
On the other hand, according to reports, Jacobson was armed with a bottle of vodka when she took to the dais to blast the Saviour, and took some swigs during her utterances. Now, first off if she’s got the table’s bottle service in her hands, it’s likely she had something in her already. I’m not going to say she was drunk — that’s libelous territory — but let’s hedge a bet she was a little shifty at the time. However, unlike Tilghman’s ad lib, it sounds like she came to the podium ready to shout a little blasphemy.
There’s the difference.
Likewise, what Jacobson shouted, which I assume is premeditated, does not go over well even in private crowds. It’s not something normal things people shout when drunk in public. I’ve been around enough drunk people who stick their foot in their mouth, and she would have needed to be stumbling drunk to come to saying that.
Maybe she got carried away in blasting Notre Dame, but there is a sincere background reason why someone would shout that. Especially in public. Maybe she’s an atheist, maybe she’s got it in for organized religion. I’m not explicitly saying either, but one has to have a background in hate to approach a podium and blast an icon of the largest religious affiliation in America.
You’re blasting Jacobson but defending Tilghman?
Let’s be clear here: I’m not defending Tilghman. I’m saying that what Jacobson did was worse. Big difference.
But, you’re thinking, How could a racist joke be somehow not as bad as an anti-religious joke? To me, if one were to equalize both statements to the same level, Tilghman would have had to said much worse. Think N-word.
I believe what Jacobson did was premediated and while a poor choice is being covered up by ESPN.
“I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words,” she said as part of her apology letter.
It almost seems a little unfair how Tilghman was villianized in comparison when Jacobson and ESPN completely skipped over addressing the situation directly in the statement likely vetted by the network.