Opinion

Free speech is not just for speech that you like

The recent controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Donovan McNabb receiving special consideration by the sports media have highlighted some very important issues. Many have claimed that his comments were “racist,” that he was in effect implying that African-American quarterbacks couldn’t make it without special help. This is not even close to what he said. His comments were that he didn’t believe that McNabb’s performance rated the type of accolades he regularly receives in the press. It was his contention that the sports media is doing this because they want to see a “black quarterback succeed” since McNabb is one of the few African American quarterbacks. While I think he was clearly wrong about McNabb, the shark-like swimming around figurative blood in the water obscures the fact that these same people who are condemning him are also missing the point as to what free speech actually means.
Supporting free speech means that one must support everyone’s right to say what he or she feels even if such speech enrages you and makes your blood vessels explode. The only one who seems to have understood and expressed this was Donovan McNabb himself, who responded to Limbaugh’s comments in true gentlemanly fashion. The same cannot be said of certain Democrat presidential candidates who took advantage of the situation to demand that ESPN fire Limbaugh. If it truly is a “right” to free speech, then Rush should be able to express his opinion, regardless of how wrong it was, without fear of reprisal. If the public and the media as well as anyone else want to voice criticism of what he said, then they should do so, as is their right. Were he in a position to directly affect McNabb’s employment or career path, then Limbaugh’s comments would give one cause to consider his departure from such a position. The reality is, Limbaugh’s comments have produced the exact opposite effect on McNabb, transforming him into a very sympathetic figure.
In the final analysis, if a person can be fired for saying something someone doesn’t like then we really don’t have free speech (the notable exception being that which disrupts the workplace, etc). Additionally, if a white man can’t make a legitimate (although in this case entirely unwarranted) criticism of someone who is not white without always being accused of racism, then we don’t have free speech either. That’s the true injustice.
Scott Wacholtz can be reached at aramis1642@hotmail.com.

November 7, 2003

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Hurricanes have become part of college football’s national conversation, and the more wins they ...

Kicker Michael Badgley will soon become the University of Miami’s all-time field goal leader. In the ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt called Darrell Langham’s amazing, 28-yard catch on fourth-and-1 ...

Darrell Langham is 6-4, but might as well be 8-4 — that’s how much he has grown in stature for the M ...

The Miami Hurricanes have done it again. For the second week in a row, the Canes rallied to win in t ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

Hurricanes legends Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Warren Sapp and Sean Taylor were officially ad ...

University of Miami wide receiver Darrell Langham and kicker Michael Badgley were among those recogn ...

University of Miami redshirt setter Haley Templeton was named ACC Player of the Week, the conference ...

Freshman Bojan Jankulovski highlighted Day 2 competition on Saturday for the University of Miami men ...

The University of Miami's football game at North Carolina on Oct. 28 will kick off at noon ET o ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.