Johnny Miller, you have gone too far.
As a former pool boy, I demand an apology and that NBC send you to pool-boy sensitivity training.
Miller thinks a camera clicking during a backswing is tough? Try hitting a 3-iron after inhaling chlorine gas.
He hates it when the fairways turn brown? What about when a high-priced swimming hole turns into a big bowl of pea soup.
If you don’t understand my anger, let us return to last week’s U.S. Open starring Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate.
Miller said Mediate “looks like the guy who cleans Tiger’s swimming pool.” He later added, “Guys with the name Rocco don’t get on the trophy, do they?”
This naturally triggered the latest installment of As the PC World Turns. The National Italian American Foundation sent a letter to NBC demanding Miller’s suspension.
Chairman A. Kenneth Cingoli said the letter “is not meant to be an attack on NBC but rather be an illumination of a problem that continues to trouble our society.”
He’s right about that. Our society continues to be troubled by hypersensitivity.
Some people have been stereotyped so much they think every reference is a slur. I’d say they can’t take a joke, but Miller wasn’t even making a joke about Italians.
He said Rocco symbolized the average guy in all of us. Mediate is a frumpy, spunky, 45-year-old ranked No. 158 in the world. How could a golfer like that get his name on a trophy like this?
Italians have rightly grown weary of being cast as spaghetti-eating, pinky-ring-wearing Sopranos characters. But couldn’t they give Miller the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant Everyman, not every Italian?
Of course not.
Sometime in the mid-1980s Congress apparently passed a Constitutional amendment giving everyone the right to be royally offended by anything. My favorite will always be the Hispanic group incensed over Dinky the Chihuahua saying, “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”
That was understandable, but they called it a hate crime. Call me insensitive, but I thought hate crimes were things like dragging people to death behind trucks, not Chihuahuas speaking Spanish.
Such PETA-like overreactions make it hard to take legitimate affronts seriously. The racial ramblings of Al Campanis and Jimmy the Greek started valuable dialogue and reform, but the scrutinizing has almost become a blood sport.