It's about time Trent Lott got some serious attention for his salute to Strom Thurmond and his lost cause on the senator's 100th birthday.
"I want to say this about my state," Lott said as cameras rolled. "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either."
Trenchant commentary from a former Ole Miss cheerleader in, say, 1962 when segregationist governor Ross Barnett used to fire up the crowds in Oxford while the Rebs whipped another all-white 11 on the gridiron and the local yahoos made things miserable for James Meredith and the National Guard. But a bit disturbing, if not totally surprising, coming from the Republican Senate Majority Leader in 2002.
In 1948, Thurmond ran for president as a Dixiecrat, claiming that "all the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches."
Those were the days, eh, Trent?
The Flyer was not at all surprised to see most of the mainstream media ignore the story for a week. That, after all, is one reason alternative media have prospered. But it wasn't just conservatives who turned away. A special mention must go to The New York Times, quick to revive the 1955 Emmitt Till lynching, put Tunica on the wrong side of the Mississippi River, plagiarize a story from Memphis magazine, or try to stifle its own columnists for politically incorrect thoughts about Augusta National and The Masters.
The Times first ignored the Lott story then buried it. It took The Washington Post and a handful of liberal and conservative commentators to take Lott to task and extract a belated apology from him this week.
The sad thing is, we believe he knew and meant exactly what he said a week ago.
It was a big week for some local sports teams. No, we don't mean the still mostly-hapless Grizzlies or the still-promising U of M Tigers. We're talking about Christian Brothers University's national champion women's soccer team. And while we're extending kudos, let's applaud Ridgeway High School for winning the state football championship in its division and Mitchell High School for placing second in its state championship.
Stories like these are uplifting to read, good for the schools involved, and good for the community at large. Students, parents, administrators, and coaches work together to achieve a goal. Everybody wins. Everybody feels great.
Unfortunately, the uglier side of amateur athletics also reared its head this week. Dennis Franchione, the coach at the University of Alabama, broke his contract and resigned to take a $2 million-a-year offer from Texas A&M. So what? you may say. Coaches leave jobs for greener pastures all the time. And it's true. But the Franchione case was notable for its sliminess.
Franchione came to Alabama when the school was on probation for recruiting violations. The team couldn't go to a bowl game, and many players had a one-time option to leave the school. Franchione did a magnificent sales job on these players, urging them to remain at Alabama, to fight the good fight, to remain loyal. "Stick with me, fellows, and we'll get through this together" went Franchione's sales pitch.
He sold them a load of crap and left them behind to deal with the consequences. He even lied to them on the eve of their final game, telling them that rumors of his departure were untrue. We shouldn't be surprised at such self-serving and cynical behavior in collegiate athletics, but this incident takes the cake.
So ... Go CBU! Go Ridgeway! Go Mitchell! And Dennis Franchione? Just go away.