Monday, March 14, 2005

Temperature in Hell: 32 Degrees Fahrenheit

Wow! A “Point” we can agree with! Mark Hyman criticizes Temple University basketball coach John Chaney for sending in a player to intentionally foul opponents, resulting in one player receiving a fractured arm. Hyman rightly notes that this doesn’t make Chaney much of a role model.

We couldn’t agree more. Even Hyman’s premise, that individuals can’t decide whether they are or aren’t role models, is on the money. (After all, it’s those who pattern their behavior after people who determine who is and isn’t a role model.)

There are a few mischaracterizations. Hyman suggests that Chaney wasn’t remorseful after his actions. While that might have been true immediately after the incident, Chaney has since offered an
official apology for his actions. Hyman also claims that Chaney seems to have the upper hand over Temple University administrators. In fact, the administration, along with the athletic conference to which Temple belongs, have used their authority to suspend Chaney and to issue powerful rebukes of his decisions.

On the big issue, however, Hyman is right. Of course, Chaney himself has said that he agrees his actions were inexcusable, so it’s not clear if there’s anyone who would possibly disagree with Hyman’s position. As even first semsester composition students know, a thesis with which no one disagrees isn't much of a thesis.

But there’s one small detail that I have to admit nagging at me. Perhaps I’ve just become too cynical from dealing with Hyman’s editorials for so long, but there’s a question that I can’t help but ask. Perhaps I’m out of line, but given Hyman’s record on the issue of race, I find myself wondering whether or not Hyman would be so quick to condemn Chaney if the coach were not African American. Had Bobby Knight (who, after all, has made a career of not having “[r]espect for the game, the opponents, and one's self “) been the one to send a “goon” out to hack opposing players, would Hyman be jumping onto the bandwagon of criticism as eagerly?

I’m just wondering.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


Thanks to the in-the-know reader who points out that John Chaney made headlines earlier this season for making anti-Bush comments critical of the war in Iraq during a speech at a sportswriters gathering. No wonder Hyman went after him. My world now makes sense once again.


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