Have you noticed that sports, politics and political correctness seem to be bumping into each other a lot lately?
NCAA President Mark Emmert, whose office is in Indianapolis, where a basketball tournament of some note will be played this weekend, was quick to jump on his high horse and head for high moral ground when the state of Indiana passed a law intended to protect religious freedom.
Emmert, as many others did, interpreted the law as an attempt to give private businesses the right to discriminate against people who are gay.
Charles Barkley, in town working as a CBS-TV analyst, said, “America’s always had a racial problem. Now we have a homophobic problem. Any form of discrimination you have to check it.”
Somebody needs to tell Barkley and Emmert about an NCAA school that has been guilty of discrimination for almost 200 years. And it’s happening now — almost right under their noses — an hour away, in Crawfordsville, Ind.
That’s the home of the Wabash College Little Giants, a Division III school playing in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Wabash actually won the first national intercollegiate basketball tournament ever held in 1922.
So where’s the discrimination? No women.
That’s right. Wabash discriminates against women right in front of everybody and has been since 1832. It’s one of only three remaining male-only liberal arts colleges in the United States.
Should Emmert insist that Wabash stop the discrimination and enroll women immediately or be banished from all NCAA competition?
Better yet, do Barkley and his many friends in the self-righteous, hysterical media believe that the federal government should force Wabash to go co-ed?
Or do they all only want to use the force of government against private property owners when they believe their oxen are being gored?
And this isn’t about comparing discrimination against gay people to discrimination against women. It’s about whether the NCAA or, more importantly, the government has the right to tell anybody with whom they can or must associate.
If you believe in freedom of association, then you have to tolerate associations that offend you.
Keith Olbermann is a smart and ridiculously talented TV sportscaster but, boy, is he clueless on this subject.
Keith, of course, jerked his knee so hard he almost blew out his ACL and jumped on his ESPN high horse with a scathing attack on the NCAA for about a minute and a half after the law was passed.
He wanted the NCAA, NFL, NBA and the rest of the human race to stop doing business in Indiana because the law was just a sneaky attempt to make it okay to discriminate against gays. And he said that, in the future, this law could allow the Pacers, the Colts or the NCAA to refuse gays admissions to their games.
See, Keith, as smart as he is, is so much in love with government and the idea that it should control every aspect of his life that he no longer understands the difference between public and private property.
He equates a baker not wanting to use his privately owned oven on his private property to bake a cake with two grooms on it to a gay person being denied access to a taxpayer-funded stadium.
Here in Western Pennsylvania, we have some high schools that have been practicing discrimination for decades. Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Erie Cathedral Prep blatantly discriminate against girls.
They also show up in the state playoffs in football and basketball just about every year.
What if say, Hillary Clinton, who expressed immediate outrage at the Indiana law, were to be elected president and decide that it’s unfair for schools like Wabash College, Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Erie Cathedral Prep to only admit boys, denying young girls access to those great athletic programs?
Should she have the power to force them to admit girls?
I think I’ll send her an email and ask her.
Because Hillary graduated from Wellesley College, which discriminates against men.
That’s right. Women-only since 1870.
Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com