I’m not trying to keep this story going but there is an interesting take by ESPN national basketball writer Gene Wojciechowski on the latest controversy surrounding the Confederate battle flag. We’ve had some people call the show and email in claiming that no one outside of our state cares about this issue. This column, along with the countless other stories in newspapers and websites around the country show that this topic has been and continues to be noticed beyond the Palmetto State borders.
Wojciechowski mentioned USC football coach Steve Spurrier’s take on the matter a couple of years ago: “I realize I’m not supposed to get in the political arena as a football coach, but if anybody were to ask me about that damn Confederate flag, I would say we need to get rid of it.”
What was the reaction to the Head Ball Coach’s opinion? Death threats. That’s right, Steve Spurrier took a bigger beating for saying that than he did for losing to Florida 55-3 last year. What is wrong with this picture? I had people tell me that Spurrier was “out of line” to make those comments because he is paid to coach football games not to make political statements. Or that he had no business saying anything about the flag because he isn’t from South Carolina.
So let me get this straight. He can’t have an opinion about the flag because he is a football coach? So he is only allowed to have opinions on football? But aren’t all fans paid to do something other than football? How then can they call and email our show and offer opinions about who Spurrier should start at quarterback or what plays he should call? They aren’t paid to offer football advice but it doesn’t stop them.
And Spurrier lives and works and pays taxes in this state. He is entitled to his opinion. He has the right to state his opinion just like you have the right to disagree. He has that right because men and women have fought and died carrying the AMERICAN flag to allow him, you and me the ability to live and express our thoughts and ideas freely.
My opinion is that the flag should be taken down, placed in a museum and we should all move on with our lives. Many brave men fought and died for the Confederacy and that can still be honored. But let’s do it in a way that doesn’t offend half the population, shall we?
I’d rather see NCAA tournament basketball and conference tournaments in our state than see the battle flag on the State House grounds. I’m ready to see this four decade long debate end once and for all. Bottom line, if the flag came down tomorrow there would be some upset people for sure, but we would not be talking about it ten years later. If this doesn’t change we will continue to talk about it and be divided by it for years to come. That, to me, isn’t progress.