I’m almost finished reading Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. Amongst the many controversies cited in the book is Jemele Hill’s regrettable reference to Hitler in a 2008 editorial about the NBA playoffs. In describing why she could not support the Celtics in the NBA playoffs, she wrote:
Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It's like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan. Deserving or not, I still hate the Celtics.
For her comments, Hill was suspended for a week without pay.
At first I felt bad for Hill, understanding how her comment, while lacking nuance, was not meant to offend. As a fan of the Detroit Pistons, she was merely pointing out that once you hate a sports team like the Celtics because of the affinity you have for your team, it is impossible to ever alter your position.
As I told a friend, it’s probably a good idea to avoid referencing Hitler in all metaphors, particularly if you are in the media.
At least to avoid Godwin’s Law.
Then I went to her Wikipedia page to see what Hill has done since the controversy.
Under the heading of Controversy was this:
In 2009, Hill was at the center of a controversy after telling Green Bay Packers fans to give Brett Favre the "Duracell treatment," implying that fans at Lambeau Field should throw batteries at the former Packer quarterback.
Later in 2009, Hill once again was reprimanded for her comments after comparing University of Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball coach John Calipari to Charles Manson. She later apologized to the university.
Suddenly, I stopped feeling bad for her.
One well-intentioned miscue? Fine.
But encouraging fans to throw batteries at an NFL quarterback?
And comparing a college basketball coach to Charles Manson?
With the thousands of resumes that ESPN receives every year, I cannot imagine why she is still with the company.