Saturday, June 21, 2008

Johnny Miller Apologizes

Sure, it took him about a week to apologize for saying that Rocco Mediate looked like the guy that cleans Tiger Woods' pool, but at least he did it, right?

“I chose my words poorly and in the future will be more careful,” Miller said in a statement. He added that his intention was to “convey my affection and admiration for Rocco’s everyman qualities and had absolutely nothing to do with his heritage.”

The apology by Miller, NBC’s lead golf analyst, came after two Italian-American groups protested his remarks, with one of them demanding that NBC suspend him.

Ohhhhh. Now I know why he apologized.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Sports, A. Kenneth Ciongoli, the chairman of the National Italian American Foundation, wrote: “We are certain that NBC and Mr. Miller meant no harm and was simply having some fun at the expense of Italian Americans. Nonetheless, this type of humor is problematic as it reinforces a demeaning and damaging stereotype about an entire ethnic group.”

Ciongoli said that his letter “is not meant to be an attack upon NBC, but rather to be an illumination of a problem that continues to trouble our society.”

“The perpetuation of negative stereotypes and demeaning language hurts us all,” he said.

But Anthony Baratta, the president of the Order Sons of Italy in America’s commission for social justice, demanded Miller’s suspension. “If Johnny Miller had made a similar remark about Tiger Woods,” he said Thursday in a press release, “he would have been fired.”

Mr. Baratta, are you so sure about that one?

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