Donald Trump searches for ‘boo-free’ zone
Donald Trump is headed for Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa this Saturday for the big football game between the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University.
Why, we might wonder, would a president who is facing impeachment want to spend valuable prep time in a football stadium in Alabama?
And why, we might further wonder, would Trump want to do this when he was roundly booed at two other recent sporting events? First, he was booed at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, D.C., where he currently lives. Then he was booed at the Ultimate Fighting Championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where he used to live. Does he ever feel homeless, in that pretend billionaire, nobody-loves-me kind of way? One wonders.
Paul Gattis, a reporter for Alabama Media Group at AL.com, was also wondering what was up with Trump’s trek. So he talked to Jess Brown, a retired political science professor at Athens State University.
Brown’s first response: “We’ll never know.” Then he warmed to the topic, and “speculated that, yes, two mediocre receptions pushed Trump in search of a definitive avalanche of cheers.”
Mediocre. Let it never be said that Southerners have lost their gift for euphemisms, bless their hearts.
“I think they were looking for a high-profile venue where he would get cheers and he would get no mixed response or boos,” Brown continued. “And I’ll be surprised if a stadium filled with Alabama-LSU football fans, I think Donald Trump will be in an environment that’s as safe as it’s going to get politically for him.”
The president of the United States needs a safe place for his tender feelings. Isn’t that a snowflakey, liberal campus thing? We wonder.
Gattis also talked to U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, a Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate and is as close to Trump as he can get without marrying him — nah, that doesn’t work. Faulty simile.
Anyway, Byrne is mighty excited about Trump’s boo-free zone in Alabama. “He’ll be cheered,” Byrne told Gattis. “He’ll be cheered in Alabama. He’ll be cheered by Alabama and LSU fans. I don’t have any question about that.”
He’ll be cheered.
He’ll be cheered.
He’ll be cheered.
But just in case…
Jason Rothfarb is vice president of student affairs for the public university, and he wrote a letter that became far more public than he likely intended. It started out as an alert about increased security for the game, but it ended with this warning for the 60 University of Alabama student groups with reserved blocks of seats for the game:
“Any organizations that engage in disruptive behavior during the game will be removed from block seating instantly for the remainder of the season.”
I really can’t top University of Alabama law student Carter-William’s two-tweet response. “Strange that in all the games in which drunken bacchanalia has been tolerated, if not celebrated and encouraged I’ve never once been warned to not be disruptive.’
“Is screaming ‘F— Auburn’ not disruptive? Is Booing the other team not disruptive? Is specifically screaming as loud as possible not disruptive? Or Is it only disruptive when students express their displeasure with the President of the United States?”
Hours later, Jason Rothfarb was back.
“Some have misinterpreted my comment regarding ‘disruptive behavior,'” his statement began.
Ahh, it’s our fault. He never said anything about booing. What’s wrong with us?
If we thought Rothfarb was referring to potential boos for a president who has been booed at the last two sporting events he attended, then it’s our fault for paying attention to how the president has been booed at the last two sporting events he has attended. If this argument strikes you as more disingenuous than a jilted lover giving the toast at his ex-girlfriend’s wedding, welcome to the White House.
“By disruptive behavior,” Rothfarb added, “we are asking students to be respectful to all students and staff and avoid altercations. My email has nothing do with anyone’s First Amendment rights and I am sorry for any confusion. Please express yourself and especially your pride for the Tide.”
Poor Rothfarb. The university felt the need to issue an additional statement that emphasized just how much its Student Government Association loves “free speech and the rights of all students to express their opinions.”
How’s that going to go, we may wonder.
Editor’s note: Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. To find out more about Connie Schultz (email@example.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.