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Thursday, May 18, 2017


   Ignore the message. Kill the messenger.
   No, literally, kill the messenger.
   In the wake of my Tuesday post exposing a racist rant that forced the exit of a teenager from Jesuit High School, that fatal intention is the alarming crescendo of feedback. Rather than admitting shock, expressing sympathy or pledging to examine the culture of a prestigious school that has helped foster two infamous racist videos in two years, the wave of comments on my story quickly deteriorated into personal attacks.
   And, ultimately, escalated into this:
... nobody gives a fuck about this website and your illegal blogs about childeren(sic) u fuckin loser. Kill your self(sic)
   I've been at this 30+ years and have experienced my share of pushback on articles and columns. But  never - not once - has the feedback gone to such a dark place that the stated goal was my death. Look, I have developed some extremely thick skin. The insults and attacks on my appearance or my writing don't offend me.
   But the perverted perspective behind them absolutely alarms me.
   Over 13,000+ unique views and 90+ comments later, the running theme in response to Charlie Burkhart's disgusting racist rant was not to admonish the message, but rather to ambush the messenger.
   Granted, a majority of the responses were likely crafted by teens armed with free time, keyboard courage and minimal maturity. In their eyes, I had the audacity to pick on one of their own. (Which, think about it, is a scary notion.) The response - cloaked in anonymity, of course - was to shower me with all sorts of colorful labels and creative descriptions. A sampling:
   "Sadistic fuck".
   "Fucking toad".
   "Sick son of a bitch".
   "Soulless ginger fuck".
   "Tranny with bad plastic surgery".
   And, my personal favorite: "A frog mixed with chewbaccas(sic) asshole that sprang out with Down syndrome and diabetes."
   The irrationally misguided haters also yanked my wife, Sybil Summers, into their bullseye, comically claiming she is "an ex-porn star." I mean, she's hot and all but ...
   A in creative writing. F in sensitivity training.
   The comments also came with assorted calls to action, such as "stick to sports", "get a life", "stop being a liberal" and, of course, "Kill your self."
   More troubling, there are attempts to inexplicably diminish, or even justify Burkhart's rant:
   "It's a 15-year-old boy making one mistake. What's your problem?"
   "Leave him alone! He's just a minor!"
   "Fake News!"
   Personal attacks notwithstanding, one comment - from an adult Twitter follower who claimed to be a Jesuit parent - genuinely bothered me.
   "What Richie did in writing about that kid is equally as horrible as the video."
   Think about the warped mentality behind that statement. In essence, the thinking is that the only thing as bad as racism is ... exposing racism?
   I guess I was naive enough to expect reaction to the video to be overwhelming - if not 100% - condemnation. This kind of attack of the messenger and, in turn, support of Burkhart is down right chilling.
   Again, the motivation for my original post was not to indict Jesuit for some sort of systemic, institutionalized racism. But you cannot deny the connection between the two stars in the videos. I don't think Jesuit is teaching racism, but there is evidence to suggest it's not doing enough to un-teach it.
   Hence ...
   President Mike Earsing in 2015
   I am appalled by the actions in the video and extremely hurt by the pain this has caused our community. It is unconscionable and very sad that in 2015 we still live in a society where this type of bigotry and racism takes place ...
   President Mike Earsing in 2017
   We are saddened by this young man's actions because they are not representative of what we - and our student body - stand for ...
   I respect Jesuit as one of Dallas' finest learning institutions. Jordan Spieth, in town for this week's Byron Nelson golf tournament, is just the latest example of what Jesuit is capable of producing. I coached youth soccer and basketball teams with several kids that went on to graduate from there. I'm still friends with many of the parents from the youth teams.
   Proud Jesuit parents.
   They acknowledge that Jesuit is willingly held to a higher standard, and that the actions of Burkhart and Parker Rice woefully fail to meet those standards and therefore do harm to the school's image. The incidents by no means suggest a habitual, unbreakable pattern of behavior by all Jesuit students. But nor should they be shrugged off as random, wholly disconnected coincidences.
   A "mistake" is when you turn right instead of left and are five minutes late to your appointment. Burkhart's racist rant wasn't merely a mistake, something he inadvertently blurted out. It's not a trivial hiccup to be swept under the rug. It was a product of a bigoted belief system he had before he arrived at Jesuit, and will likely maintain now that he's left.
   Best we can hope is that Burkhart learns a lesson from the incident. Maybe he will alter his actions, if not altogether transform his beliefs.
   There is, alas, a glimmer of hope amidst the hate.
   Rather than respond with crude, callous, childish and cowardly "anonymous" attacks, one Jesuit student took the time to respond via thoughtful email.
Charlie Burkhart is a great example of the opposite of what Jesuit students stand for: We are taught to care for our brothers, not to insult and push hate towards them. Charlie Burkhart had a negative reputation for incidents like this before he attended Jesuit. Jesuit's goal is not to instill hate in our hearts but to help us become open to growth, intellectually competent, physically fit, loving, religious, and committed to working for justice. Obviously not all students hold on to and care for what we are taught. I assure you that the hate in their hearts was not put there by Jesuit College Preparatory. I currently attend Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. I am in the class of 2020. I am not one of Charlie Burkhart's friends nor have I ever had the idea of trying to be. He is a disgusting individual and I am glad he is gone. I am only sending this to stand up for my school and its beliefs.
   Here's hoping that message echoes throughout Jesuit's halls, and finds its way into Burkhart's heart.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


   Every once in a while we're reminded that, in fact, we haven't evolved as a society nearly as much as we'd like to think.
   Isn't that right, racist punk Charlie Burkhart?
   Isn't that right, common denominator Jesuit High School?
   The kid is was a freshman at Jesuit in North Dallas. And apparently when he wasn't playing lacrosse he spent his time on another favorite hobby - disgustingly talking smack to and/or about blacks.
   According to a source, last year when Burkhart played football on the 8th-grade team at St. Rita he started an on-field scuffle after calling a Bishop Dunne player the n-word. And, now, after a video surfaced of him going on a racist rant in which he again uses the n-word and gleefully exclaims of blacks, "I hate 'em. Crucify 'em!", Burkhart has deservedly been forced to withdraw from the school.
   Kudos to Jesuit for not tolerating this egregious, vile and unacceptable bigotry. Though the statement from school president Mike Earsing released around 4 p.m. Tuesday alludes only that "we swiftly addressed this situation in an appropriate way", a Jesuit source says Burkhart was given a choice: Withdraw from school or be expelled. He left. When the incident made it to social media, the school was forced to act.
   The teen's smirking, slurring, 10-second rant occurred while wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey and being filmed in front of at least one giggling onlooker. Maybe he was at a party. Possibly alcohol was involved. But definitely, undeniably, it is disgusting. 
   There was a time not that long ago when I actually thought we were taking genuine strides toward a truly "United We Stand" America. Instead, slapped in the naive kisser by this ...
   This isn't merely "locker-room talk." This isn't just "kids being kids." This is a nauseating, revolting commentary on our society in general and Burkhart in particular.
   It's just one guy? Maybe. But there are people laughing. People filming. People sharing. And, yep, people saying this is anything but an isolated incident.
   The video is apparently shared by a "JC Ericson." In a response, "Max Heitzman" offers:
   "It was much worse when he was goin ape shit on Tyson."
   I don't want to believe this kind of attitude exists in 2017. But, chillingly, it indeed does.
   And, like it or not, Jesuit is again at the root of the evil.
   It was only two years ago, remember, that two Oklahoma University students and fraternity members were expelled for their tuxedo-clad leading of a chant that included "You can hang them from a tree, but they'll never sign with me. There will never be a nigger at SAE."
   One of those kids - Parker Rice - was a graduate of, sure enough, Jesuit High School.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


   Flamboyant hats. $16 Mint Juleps. Mudders. And ... cue the yawns.
   Today is the Kentucky Derby and - admit it - the only reason you're tempted to watch is because you're anchored to the couch after ingesting a little too much Cinco in your de Mayo.
   It's horses. Which are not athletes. And who have no idea whether they win, lose or draw, as long as it leads to a post-game meal.
   It's billed as the "most exciting two minutes in sports." What the what? Give me the final act of any NBA Playoff game or, for that matter, the waning moments of a Jags-49ers' half. The first half.
   One of the few sporting events I've never attended is the Kentucky Derby because, well, I just have no desire. Nor do I have any interest in watching NBC's five-hour - I kid you not - pre-game show today. I mean, foreplay is great and all, but ... five hours for two minutes isn't my kind of math.
   Let me know who wins. And I'll guarantee you at this time next year you won't remember either. Fine then, without Googling, who won last year? (No way "Nyquist" was on the tip of your tongue or top of your mind.)
   No, the "Run For The Roses" isn't the most overrated events in sports, but it's undoubtedly on the short list.

   10. Tour de France – Bunch of drug cheaters who’ll never drug cheat as well as Lance Armstrong.
    9. Army-Navy – Pageantry, yes. Quality, must-see football? Nope. Not anymore.
    8. Indianapolis 500 – Once the “Greatest Spectacles in Racing,” it’s long been swallowed up and digested into tiny, irrelevant bile by NASCAR and its Daytona 500.
    7. Kentucky Derby – We waited almost 40 years for a Triple Crown winner and, just like, it fizzled. Quick, which horse won it last year? Right.
    6. Any Heavyweight Boxing Championship Fight – Epic? Really? Fine, then name the current champ. No way you guessed right, because (far as I can tell) there are actually two. One from New Zealand (Joseph Parker) and one from England (Anthony Joshua). Once upon a time there was Liston, Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Tyson. Sigh.
    5. College Basketball Post-Season Conference Tournaments/Any College Football Bowl Game Outside The Final Four – Hailed as March Madness, the hoop tournaments are merely meaningless appetizers. And the habit of draftable players skipping random football bowl games has only just begun.
    4. Winter Olympics – Sold as a global event, but barely one-third of the world’s nations (68 of 196 at Sochi in 2014) participate. And way less than that can relate to events like Ice Dancing, Curling and Biathlon.
    3. NFL Scouting Combine – Things tend to change drastically when they put the pads on.
    2. Opening Day – Baseball hypes this as a national holiday, but it represents exactly 0.61 percent of the six-month, 162-game season.
    1. Heisman Trophy – Exactly 0 of last 17 quarterbacks to win the storied hardware has gone on to win a Super Bowl: Andre Ware. Ty Detmer. Gino Torretta. Charlie Ward. Danny Wuerffel. Chris Weinke. Eric Crouch. Carson Palmer. Jason White. Matt Leinart. Troy Smith. Tim Tebow. Sam Bradford. Cam Newton. Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. I rest my case.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


   I don't hate Star Wars.
   But what I do despise is hearing our country confusing cleverness with laziness. Take today, for example.
   Because Star Wars is popular and "fourth" sounds like "force" - sorta, kinda I guess - people are attempting to enthusiastically empower each other with the cunning use of a fabricated phrase that makes no sense.
   May the fourth be with you!
   With each utterance, America's Wonderlic score plummets toward Mo Claiborne territory.
   Fortunately, we only have to withstand this nonsensical barrage once a year. As for the other 364 days ... The 10 Worst Sayings I Wish Would Never Again Be Said:

   10. "_gate" - The sportswriters' crutch when anything abnormal happens. From Spygate to Deflategate, if you can't think of anything more original and creative then go be a plumber. Please.
   9. "It is what it is" - Never heard anyone say "It is what it isn't", because, well, that sounds incredibly ignorant. Next time just go with "It is." Or, better yet, just quietly pass your turn to someone smarter.
   8. "Just sayin'" - Used by those with insufficient vocabulary and flimsy communication skills, which renders them incapable of clearly stating their point. Next time you hear this phrase, simply replace it with "I can't think of any more words!" Guaranteed it will fit.
   7. "We control our destiny" - See, destinies are inherently pre-ordained events and road maps designed by a higher intelligence to steer our lives, regardless of our actions. You can no more control your destiny than you can influence Earth's orbit. By definition, your destiny controls you.
   6. "Git r done" - When Nike prodded us to "Just Do It" it was an iconic call to action. But when folks plot their strategy of success upon Larry The Cable Guy's diluted bastardization it just sounds ... ewwww. Hint: Your plan should be wholly discernible from your goal.
   5. "Love is blind" - Nope, and neither is lust. Which is why our vanity empire dwarfs our education budget.
   4. "Give 110%" - Fools who say this clearly gave only 73% during Math and Science class.
   3. "Everything happens for a reason" - Try selling that to the Alzheimer's victim and surrounding family immersed in a devastating, drawn-out decline toward death. Remind them again the reason for this part of "everything" being crow-barred into their grand plan.
   2. "I could care less" - Yeah, and be sure to say it with an animated, angry face and punctuate it with a fiercely extended index finger. Because, of course, what you meant was the exact opposite. As in, I don't care one bit therefore it isn't possible for me to care any less. "I couldn't care less." Genius.
   1. "'merica" - Lopping off the first letter and syllable of our country's name doesn't make you sound patriotic or folksy. Merely uneducated. Now, about why we dropped the "North" part ...