In the same 24-hour period, NBC pulled its MSNBC broadcast of the Don Imus show as a result of his racist slurs aimed at the Rutgers women's basketball team and the attorney general of North Carolina dropped all charges against three white former Duke University lacrosse team members of alleged sexual assault against a black stripper. Shortly thereafter, CBS cancelled Imus' radio show.
It was a good day for college athletes, white and black, more well-to-do and less well-to-do, male and female.
And it was a good day for freedom and justice in America.
Actually, I wish it were so simple. But, it's not. Both cases leave a shadow and unpleasant aftertaste that should concern anyone who cares about the quality of our lives, our freedom and the direction in which we're headed.
Sure, I'm glad to see justice done in North Carolina, and I'm sickened how racial exploitation was used to politicize the law and undermine due process. I'm also sickened by the mindless, unprofessional behavior of 88 members of the Duke faculty who thought it was their affair to inject their unwelcome, and now clearly uninformed, 2 cents into a legal case that had nothing to do with their jobs.
Politicization of law and politicization of thought is not a sign of a healthy and free society.
But I also stand by the column that I wrote earlier about this sordid affair, expressing concern that, regardless of the merit of the charges that were brought against the young men, party fun for these Duke athletes consisted of hiring and being entertained by strippers.
When indeed higher education has nothing to do with the transmission of values and the building of character, and is only about passing tests that open career doors, why should we be surprised that we wind up with a society that thinks Don Imus is funny and handsomely compensates those in the abuse-and-exploitation business?
Regarding Imus, I'm glad he got canned.
I know quite well the abuse that black women have to tolerate. So having one less source of vulgarity around fueling these sleazy flames is just fine with me.
But let's make sure we've diagnosed the disease correctly, or we're going to come up with the wrong cure.
The extent to which we handle race as a political rather than a moral problem, we're going to get it wrong.
Who, after all, is going to define the rules of engagement? Al Sharpton? Jesse Jackson?
Both were part of the problem in the Duke case. Both were more than glad to feed the racial flames and both were dead wrong.
Jackson wrote at the time, totally inaccurately, in his column, "We know that the two women were abused."