Hey, by any chance did you catch Dale Hansen last night on Channel 8 talking about that poor kid at TCU who got kicked off the football team for misbehavior? Man, I'm telling you: sometimes Hansen is my mullah.
He was talking about somebody who had written him saying we should pass a law that any kid convicted of "moral turpitude" should be banned from college sports and lose all scholarship support for life. Hansen, the Channel 8 guru of sports for the last 29 years, basically told people who think like that to go to hell.
"I don't want to be judged by the choices I made when I was 21," Hansen said last night, "and I'm not real comfortable being judged by the choices I made at 61."
He is a sportscaster, of course. But then, look: when Hansen is on the money, he is on the damn money, and on nights like last night Dale Hansen is my main man, whether he wants to be or not.
The kid in question, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, was arrested recently on suspicion of drunk driving. Last August a police investigative report emerged showing Pachall allegedly had confessed to cops that he had used marijuana and other drugs.
It was a report, not an indictment, not a formal charge of any kind, certainly not a conviction. But the emergence of the report meant that even before he got popped for drunk driving Pachall was already in the middle of a big public relations disaster for his school, Texas Christian University.
The larger drug scandal at TCU last February was areal deal, and it did involve the football team, some of whom have been tried and sentenced. It was good police work, and the Fort Worth Police Department deserves kudos.
But in the aftermath of the drug revelations and Pachall's more recent arrest, we have seen a virtual shit-storm of stupefying hypocrisy about Christians, booze and drugs. The Dallas Morning News recently ran a story under a headline, "Quarterback's arrest is latest blow to Christian TCU's image."
What image? Did somebody think being Christian kept people from drinking and doing drugs? I hung out at enough Irish bars as a young man to have come away with exactly the opposite impression. I always remember comedian David Steinberg's joke on the Carson show 100 years ago: he told Carson his father had taught him that Christians were normally well-meaning people who sometimes sold their children for whisky.
But I go too far, as usual. Hansen wasn't with me on any of that. He didn't say a word about Christians. He said, "It's incredibly frustrating to send a kid to school with a chance to play the games that we all dream about playing and then watch that kid waste the opportunity he has because he breaks the rules.
"But that's what kids do; they break the rules. They make some incredibly bad choices. I did, and I'm betting you did, too."
Oh, yeah. Let's not even go there. Earlier, talking about drunk driving, he used that phrase, "There but for the grace of God ..." That one always gives me the willies. Last night I wanted to whisper to my TV set, "Dale, would you mind lowering your voice?"
Grace, indeed. I'm still hoping he was on vacation.
The Dallas Morning News has a story this morning about a guy running for sheriff who wants to cut back the meals in the jail from three a day to two and not let the prisoners watch sports on TV. Being locked up in Lew Sterrett is already so miserable, such a living hell, why would somebody think he could get votes by promising to make it even meaner?
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It's because he's one of the Real Haters - the people who think they can make themselves more virtuous (and probably richer) by hating and tormenting anybody who fails to live up to their own supposedly pristine moral code. They really are the American Taliban.
Last night Hansen talked about people who want to impose their own definition of moral turpitude on everybody else. He said, "I don't want to live in that country."
Yeah, me either, Dale. I'm with you. I do not want people to drink and drive. I do want to encourage kids not to engage in self-destructive behavior. But I know what world I live in.
The worst thing we can do is hand somebody a black robe and a whip and tell him to go use it on morally flawed human beings. I better not see that guy coming down my street. He's who I got this shotgun for.