SosaMcGwire_thumb_1Howard Bryant (somebody was really excited about this year’s NBA finals matchup) wrote an opinion piece for ESPN today, addressing the breaking news that Sammy Sosa, of 66 HR and corked-bat fame, consumed steroids as a player.

The column begins by highlighting the lies that sports stars have told us over the years, and then bemoans how betrayed we, as fans, must (or should) feel.

Then this happens:

“Think about the times you’ve been brazenly lied to, right to your face, by people who used their “integrity” to fool you,” he writes.

“Bill Clinton said, ‘I never had sexual relations with that woman.’ Even for a relatively common transgression, a country felt betrayed, never mind how it felt being misled into a disastrous war by straight-faced untruths from his successor.”

Really Mr. Dwight-Kobe? Why wouldn’t you stay with the topic you know something about – sports – for your examples? Why taint what could have been a decent article, with self-indulgent, ideological, political half-commentary?

To begin with, I don’t really understand the point about Bush. But it’s certainly unfair to say that the former president told some “straight-faced” lie about WMD’s in Iraq (I’m guessing that’s what Bryant is referring to. The allusion is so ambiguous, it’s unhelpful). Bush was reiterating intelligence reports that worldwide intelligence community was buying into at the time. Of course he bears the responsibility for leading us into Iraq, as well as bungling the first couple years of the effort.

Was Bush over-eager? Yes. Should he have slowed things down? Maybe. But did he tell a “straight faced lie”, on par with Sosa’s lies, or AFraud’s lies, or even Clinton’s famous lie? Absolutely not.

And there’s certainly not societal consensus on the issue, like our columnist would have us assume.

When celebrities, bands, athletes, or reality stars share their “enlightened” opinions about politics, I always end up wanting to choke either myself or them. Whichever ends the pain the quickest.

This may seem extreme, but its really not. You see, these folks are paid millions to entertain, not to enlighten. They are the modern-day versions of the medieval court-jester, and a clown loses his charm the second he takes himself seriously.

I don’t need Sheryl Crow telling me how much toilet paper to use, or Kim Kardashian’s thoughts on gay marriage. And I don’t want a sports writer’s commentary on politics. Entertain. That’s what I want from you. That’s what you are paid to do.

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