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Sports Commentary 1/24/13: A Forum For ‘Em All

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A Forum for em’ all…..

commentary 1-24

A FORUM FOR ‘EM ALL

I’m a little confused this morning.  I’m not sure I understand Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o and Phil Mickelson.  Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it and the forum you choose to say it in.  In retrospect, I probably do understand Armstrong and Te’o.  The disgraced former cycling champion chose an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her obscure cable network to finally come clean after more than a decade of coverups and lies while the Notre Dame linebacker chose an almost equally obscure syndicated forum with Katie Couric to detail his involvement in a scheme involving a made up girlfriend.  Like Armstrong, Te’o finally came clean, admitting that he knew while still playing out the girlfriend scenario in public that she never existed.  Many suspect he continued to play on the sympathy of Heisman Trophy voters while he was still in the running for the award, for which he finished as runner up to Texas A & M quarterback Johnny Manziell.  The platform each selected for cleansing himself was curious in that, when they couldn’t run fast enough to more prominent national outlets, like ESPN, when they were building their records of athletic achievement, they sought out a less journalistic approach when looking for absolution.  Winfrey and Couric provided each with a softer presence while their forums that play to smaller audiences provided them with an opportunity to test the waters with their sides of their stories and to gauge public reaction as it trickled in.  It wouldn’t be a stretch to think each believed the formats they chose provided them with safe harbors in growing firestorms.  It may be more confusing that Phil Mickelson has chosen at all to go on an apology tour for comments he made about the taxation rate on his earnings.  With California in an economic state Americans should pray we still have hopes of avoiding on a national level, Mickelson, a resident of San Diego, now faces a 13.3 percent state tax rate at his earning level.  Coupled with the new national income tax rate for earners of his level, 60 cents of every dollar he earns goes to taxes.  While no one should feel sorry for Mickelson, who earned $43 million in endorsements last year, on top of $4.5 million in golf winnnings, he shouldn’t be condemned for expressing his opinion that such tax levels basically punish the successful for their success.  Mickelson shouldn’t feel remorse for feeling there’s an unfairness in the person who earns the money keeping the minority portion of it.  As he said, he’s fine with paying his fair share of taxes, “I just don’t know what that is right now.”  Mickelson apologized for using his public forum as a professional golfer for making his comments and pledged to reserve such comments for private conversation in the future.  Why?  It’s an issue that’s been opened up for public dialogue with the side of the discussion that Mickelson represents being demonized for it’s success without representing itself in that dialogue.  Another national dialogue involves what has been called an “uninformed electorate”  It’s only uniformed if it hears just one side of an issue.  Don’t condemn Phil Mickelson for speaking for the other side.  He’s exercising his right as an American.  For that he should be applauded.  With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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