Gee’s words too much this time to keep his job
It’s a shame the Dean Martin celebrity roasts no longer exist.
If the old crooner was still hosting the popular shows, he would have a roaster that might rival Don Rickles for laughs. The guy in question isn’t exactly a comedian, but he pretends to be one when away from his day job.
Just imagine Ohio State University president Gordon Gee on the dais. That crazy, wacky Gee would have been a ratings mover with his quick one-liners.
Instead, Gee has to rely on luncheon audiences and other informal gatherings to do his best work. Every time he speaks there should be a drum roll sound to put an exclamation point on whatever words come from his mouth.
The latest episode that indicates Gee’s bow ties are slowing the flow of blood to his brain came at a meeting of Ohio State’s Athletic Council. Asked about Notre Dame as a candidate for Big Ten membership, Gee said, “The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week. You just can’t trust those Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that.”
That was just part of Gee’s controversial remarks. When asked what his response would be to Southeastern Conference fans that say Big Ten athletes can’t count, he answered, “You tell the SEC when they can learn to read and write, then they can figure out what we’re doing.”
Gee also said that former Wisconsin and current Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema was thought of as a “thug” by Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez.
Gee issued an apology after the Associated Press discovered and published a transcript of his comments. He said the words were “plain wrong” and “were a poor attempt at humor and entirely inappropriate.”
Ohio State trustees didn’t dismiss Gee from his $830,000-a-year job, but he was nudged enough to announce retirement plans effective July 1. It’s surprising there haven’t been more calls for Gee’s immediate dismissal, but, then again, he was making fun of Christians, which is acceptable by the standards of some today.
Gee is like the crazy uncle attending a family reunion. When he arrives you hide the spiked punch bowl and hope he doesn’t sit next to you when dinner is served.
The Athletic Council meeting wasn’t the first time Gee opened his mouth one too many times. When former Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel was embroiled in tattoo-gate two years ago, Gee’s response when asked about firing the coach was, “No, are you kidding? Let me just be very clear. I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”
Politically-correct thinking is a menace to our society when used as a tool of punishment. A person can’t afford a slip of the tongue, no matter the setting and the circumstance. It’s one strike and you’re out, with justice being rendered by self-righteous people that apparently have never uttered an inappropriate word or told an off-color joke.
Normally the politically-correct crowd would be all over Gee, but his saving grace is that he never steps too deep into the mess. The OSU trustees probably agree that his Catholic comments were stupid, but before deciding to fire him they all probably remembered the joke they told about the priest and the rabbi that had everyone in the house laughing.
If anything, Gee is guilty of trying too hard to fit in as a nerdish president at a university where machismo is on display on autumn Saturday afternoons in Ohio Stadium.
Critics might say Tressel should have taken Gee up on the offer to fire him two years ago. Then this latest dust up might have never occurred.
Then again, we wouldn’t have Uncle Gordon to make us laugh.