If you watched the Super Bowl a couple of weeks ago — and reports say that 114 million of us did — perhaps you saw a portion of the reprehensible behavior of Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin who, after scoring a touchdown, proceeded to mime pulling down his pants and squatting as if on a commode, before dropping the ball to the ground as if using the restroom. The NFL fined Baldwin $11,000, which has to be chump change to this boor. Astonishingly, the incident has gotten very little mention in the media. You can bet this kind of obscene showboating will wend its way down through the college ranks to high schools and eventually to the Pee Wee leagues. Whatever happened to sportsmanship?
• One of public education’s good guys retired at the end of last year. Cecil Bennett was a member of the Dawson County Board of Education for a quarter-century, until he decided it was time to stop and smell the roses. The man had no personal agenda, was not on some special-interest crusade and didn’t aspire to higher office. He just wanted to help make our public schools better and he did. He deserves our applause.
• What was NBC anchor Brian Williams thinking when he claimed repeatedly and apparently falsely to have been on a helicopter that was hit by rockets and small-arms fire in Iraq in 2003? The facts seem to show that he arrived at the scene in a separate helicopter an hour later. Williams says he “misremembered” the event. A lot of angry Iraqi war veterans are saying he flat-out lied. There is enough mistrust about fairness and accuracy in the media already. This isn’t helpful.
• My recent column on law enforcement has drawn as much response as I have gotten in a long time. Police officers, active and retired, as well as their families and a lot of you have written to say “thank you” for reminding people how tough the job is and unappreciated are those who do it. I will go back to my original premise: Most of us couldn’t do what they do and wouldn’t do it if we had the chance. ...
• State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, can peel the bark off a tree when he gets irritated. He once referred to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle as “Eddie Haskell,” which stunned the nine people on earth who still remember the “Leave it to Beaver” TV series. Delta Air Lines should be so lucky. Ehrhart recently took to the well of the House and accused the airline of “thug tactics” by threatening legislators inclined to support his bill to end Delta’s sales-tax credit on fuel. That exemption had been legislated in 2006 when Delta was facing bankruptcy. Last year, the airline reported a $2.8 billion profit. (Incidentally, Delta’s CEO has urged lawmakers not to be “chickens” about raising gasoline taxes to fund transportation improvements in the state, but guess who is squawking now?) When a local television station tried to interview the Delta lobbyist to get her side of the story, she ran from the cameras and hid in a legislative office. Delta Air Lines knows a lot about flying airplanes, but they seem to have the lobbying finesse of Beaver Cleaver’s pal, Lumpy Rutherford.
• If the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia was a stock, I would issue a “buy” on it. The school has been named one of the top two journalism schools in the nation, along with the University of Missouri, according to a recent survey by TVWeek.com and the Radio Television Digital News Association. Since the Grady dean, Charles Nelson Davis, recently arrived from Mizzou, look for the school to continue its upward trajectory. This year marks the centennial of the Grady College. I feel like a proud papa. I do love the place.
• Finally, I am still pushing for a National Marching Band Signing Day. High school trombonists and drummers and tuba players will sit at a table with tams, shakos and Busby hats representing major college bands and then, with dramatic pause, select one and share with us where they intend to play for the next four years. Chances are that they will be enjoying their college marching band experience long after some of the fawned-over football players are back home wondering what happened to their NFL careers.
Contact Yarbrough at email@example.com; P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; online at dickyarbrough.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.