“You’ve got to teach that guy how to be taught by a man.”
Among many other comments at the MAC media preview just over a week ago, Ron English said:
“We wanted guys that had a father in their background,” English said. “A guy that’s raised by his mom all the time, and please don’t take me wrong, but the reality is that you’ve got to teach that guy how to be taught by a man.”
Columnist Mick McCabe at the Detroit Free Press zeroed in on this statement and seems to have ignited a firestorm of fury over the past couple days. I’ve read and heard comments suggesting that if English were white, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be all over this, suggesting that he’s unfairly penalizing poor black children for something that was not their fault, and so on.
I had initially written a lengthy explanation of why I didn’t think this was a problem, but the more I think about it, and the more I read about it, it is a problem. We can argue about whether the comment was racist, we can argue about whether it was insulting to single mothers, and we can argue about whether there is any truth to the statement, but in the end, the simple fact that we’re arguing about it makes it a problem. Given the recruiting challenges facing Eastern Michigan, which we’ve previously detailed, Ron English doesn’t need any additional problems of his own making, but he has one here.