The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, December 29, 2004  

No Hero, Nothing Very Honorable, Found Here

Yes, Reggie White, a former Philadelphia Eagle and Green Bay Packer, has passed away, and, as is our custom, our culture, which worships sports to a degree that can only be described as bizarre -- and I say that as an Eagles’ fan -- he is being lionized in the media with a staggering number of tributes, the majority of which can only be described as dishonest, the sins in this case being sins of omission.

Let’s start with the astute observations of Richard Sandomir of the New York Times (“Tributes to Reggie White Show Incomplete Picture”):

Reggie White’s death on Sunday prompted a case of one-sided history on the CBS and Fox pregame shows, which remembered him as a great football player but an even greater man, and a man loved by everyone.

White might have deserved much of the praise, but it was the type of unabashed admiration that prompts concern that the stars and producers of the programs forgot or, worse, ignored how White denounced homosexuality and traded in ethnic stereotypes in a speech to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1998.

ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” with an extra day to contemplate his death at age 43, produced a three-minute halftime segment that chronicled his life, called him a “special man,” focused on his strength, dominance and “love of mankind” and how his “unabashed relationship with God” led him to be called the Minister of Defense.

No mention of the infamous speech.

And what did White say in that speech?

Here’s a bitter taste:

One thing I really admire about the Jewish community is that when they give their sons bar mitzvah when they’re at the age of 13, they give their daughters bat mitzvah at the age of 13, they’re celebrating their man and womanhood. They’re telling them, that look, you’re a man now. Because you’re a man, you’re going to have to become responsible. You’re a woman now. Because you’re a woman now, you have to become responsible. […]

In the process of that and having an opportunity to go to Israel, I was really impressed with some of the things that I saw over there. One thing that I was impressed with, to look back in the past and see how these people built their cities. I realized something about us as Americans. We’re lazy. We’re extremely lazy. […]

Slavery has hurt our families. It’s hurt our families big time. The conditions of the inner cities has [sic] hurt our families and other people’s families also, and it’s always interesting to me to understand one thing. Actually, I was told this by a friend of mine and a friend of his told him. We always should look at the situation and ask ourselves a question. Why did God create us differently? Why did God make me black and you white? Why did God make the next guy Korean and the next guy Asian and the other guy Hispanic? Why did God create the Indians?

Well, it’s interesting to me to know why now. When you look at the black race, black people are very gifted in what we call worship and celebration. A lot of us like to dance, and if you go to black churches, you see people jumping up and down, because they really get into it.

White people were blessed with the gift of structure and organization. You guys do a good job of building businesses and things of that nature and you know how to tap into money pretty much better than a lot of people do around the world.

Hispanics are gifted in family structure. You can see a Hispanic person and they can put 20 or 30 people in one home. They were gifted in the family structure.

When you look at the Asians, the Asian is very gifted in creation, creativity and inventions. If you go to Japan or any Asian country, they can turn a television into a watch. They’re very creative. And you look at the Indians, they have been very gifted in the spirituality. […]

The Bible repeatedly warns that without repentance judgment is inevitable. Righteousness exulted [sic] a nation, but sin is a reproach to many. America is not big enough to shake her fist in the face of a holy God and get away with it, and as I read this I want to explain something. I’m going to read this and then I want to explain something.

As America has permitted homosexuality to establish itself as an alternate lifestyle, it is also reeling from the frightening spread of sexually transmitted disease. Sin begets its own consequence, both on individuals and nations.

Let me explain something when I’m talking about sin, and I’m talking about all sin. One of the biggest ones that has been talked about that has really become a debate in America is homosexuality.

Now, I believe that one of the reasons that Jesus was accused of being a homosexual is because he spent time with homosexuals. I’ve often had people ask me, would you allow a homosexual to be your friend. Yes, I will. And the reason I will is because I know that that person has problems, and if I can minister to those problems, I will.

But the Bible strictly speaks against it, and because the Bible speaks against it, we allow rampant sin including homosexuality and lying, and to me lying is just as bad as homosexuality, we’ve allowed this sin to run rampant in our nation, and because it has run rampant in our nation, our nation is in the condition it is today.

Sometimes when people talk about this sin they’ve been accused of being racist. I’m offended that homosexuals will say that homosexuals deserve rights. Any man in America deserves rights, but homosexuals are trying to compare their plight with the plight of black men or black people. In the process of history, homosexuals have never been castrated, millions of them never died. Homosexuality is a decision. It’s not a race. And when you look at it, people from all different ethnic backgrounds are living this lifestyle, but people from all different ethnic backgrounds are also liars and cheaters and malicious and backstabbers.

We’re in sin, and because this nation is in sin, God will judge it if we don’t get it right. I want to read something about the Roman Empire that’s interesting to me when I look at our nation and see that we’re going in the same direction. […]

The events which led to the collapse of the Roman Empire are strongly similar to the events which are occurring in our own nation.

Trust me, this is merely a sampling of White’s extremist and disturbing views, which together touch upon many aspects of our society and culture, both of which caused much consternation and aggravation in the negligible mind of the much-lauded former football player turned crank.

I know, it appears from these selections, particularly the latter part, that it’s all my fault, or the fault of what a friend and I used to call PLUs, for “people like us.” But when you read White’s remarks in their entirety, you will notice that it’s everyone’s fault, everyone that is, except the sainted Reggie White.

Bigotry becomes no more appealing when a vocal proponent on its behalf is resting in a casket.

[Post-publication addendum (December 30): Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford offered some interesting observations about White on December 27 in “No End to the Leader He Might Have Been.”]

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