The right balance
I am grateful to my former Creighton student Josh Jones for his compassionate and insightful comments on Coach McDermott. Josh tells us to forgive McDermott but hold him accountable and use this as an opportunity to promote awareness of both racism and the potential for healing. I think this strikes the perfect balance in a situation that is so painful to those of us who love Creighton.
Incidentally, no one in Omaha has a bigger heart than Josh. I’ve never met Coach McDermott but I completely trust Josh’s views on this matter. Thanks to Jon Nyatawa for an excellent and important story.
Eileen Wirth, Omaha
The larger loss
I doubt that I or anyone else who doesn’t know Creighton Coach McDermott personally can honestly judge his heart or character. From the outside looking in, he appears to be a fine man and good coach. All it took was one momentary lapse in judgment and now his reputation is permanently smeared and his career has been in jeopardy? If so, we are setting a standard that will be impossible to meet. The result will be that many good people, people that could have made a difference in achieving racial equality, will exit the coaching ranks and other leadership positions. The hassle and constant scrutiny won’t be worth it.
We all, Black or White or Whatever, are going to make mistakes. Is this really what last year’s protests were all about: witch hunts, constant monitoring of words and banning books? Yes, break down the barriers so that we can work towards racial equality. No, don’t prevent people, whatever their race, from coming forward to help achieve equality by keeping them under constant surveillance and waiting for the “gotcha” moment.
John Glazeski, Omaha
While the words “plantation” and “slavery” are not synonymous, they have come to be so for a great many people. Coach McDermott quickly acknowledged the inartful metaphor he used during an emotional speech to his team, and he has offered his sincere apologies to all, especially his players.
Perhaps Creighton University should use this moment to acknowledge that early Jesuits ran plantations that owned slaves during the 19th century in both North and South America.
Patrick Booth, Omaha
I am so afraid about writing this letter. Surely there will be people out there who will find a reason to be offended by some of my words and thoughts. Coach McDermott probably did not use the most appropriate word to make an analogy, but would people have been so upset if he had said he needed everyone to be “on the farm”?
It is coming to the point where any word in the language is offensive to someone. We have become so worried about the words we use, we have forgotten how to communicate. If a word offends you, mention it to the person who used it but don’t make a big deal about it. Yes, there are offensive words that should never be used, but finding something offensive when no offense is intended has traveled too far.
Coach McDermott used a word in the heat of a moment that he later said was probably ill-advised. Accept his apology and move on to much more important problems in our world today.
Charlotte Dorwart, Sidney, Neb.
No place for anger
I am thrilled that Coach McDermott has been reinstated effective immediately. Anyone who knows Coach Mac, knows he is a man of character, class and conscience. He does not have a racist bone in his body! I have no idea where that remark came from, but it certainly isn’t indicative of who he is. I feel that this should never have happened in the first place. So, for it to take on a life of its own is embarrassing and sad.
If Creighton University, the athletes, the students and the community focused on the person rather than just the words, we would not have experienced so much pain and heartache. Let me be clear, I do not support the use of the words, but I stand by the person we call Coach McDermott.
Skin color should not define you. There is no place for anger and hatred. If people are too afraid to speak, there will be no conversation. Without open dialogue, there will be no healing. Without healing, there cannot be unity. Please pray for America, as a nation, as a people and as individuals.
Teri Hautzinger, Omaha
The Greg McDermott incident should force everyone to refocus just what is important and what is not important. Hypersensitivity has made perfection the enemy of the good. To be sensitive is one thing, but to be so easily offended at everything just brings everyone down.
Tolerance is important for individual freedom, peace and civilization. However, these hypersensitive people display great intolerance and are destroying history, public monuments, comedy and even Dr. Seuss books. They disrupt our freedom, our peace and our civilization. In addition, this hypersensitivity invites provocation from trolls and provocateurs who can disrupt all sorts of institutions and events with ease. Outrage is the opposite of tolerance and actually feeds intolerance.
I am confident the majority of Omaha knows that a person who is upset over the use of the word “plantation” probably has too much time on their hands, has no sense of humor, and has few friends because they are so easily offended. McDermott needs to be back on the “plantation” and win games so the crowds can cheer. McDermott is not God but human, so stop demanding he be a savior and let the games go on.
Andrew L. Sullivan, Omaha
Role of public health
The March 6 Public Pulse letter from Mr. Wardell prompted this response. I seek to offer both clarification of the role of public health and to state my strong support of our devoted public health officials.
According to the CDC, “Public health works to protect and improve the health of communities through policy recommendations, health education and outreach, and research for disease detection and injury prevention.” This is and has been the focus of the dedicated work of Dr. Pour and Dr. Khan. Their recommendations about how to most effectively protect public safety during the pandemic are based on data and are in the interest of the community.
If we, as individuals or as a community, ignore the recommendations, warnings and advice during the pandemic, what do we risk? The answer is obvious. Too many lives lost, and numerous people with long-term health issues. And, yes, the economy has suffered during the pandemic. People have lost jobs. Businesses have closed. Our public health officials are not to blame for that. They are trying to protect us from further devastation.
Dr. Pour and Dr. Khan deserve our gratitude and admiration.
Kathy Beauchaine, Omaha
Legalization is needed
I would like to express my opinion regarding the well-written March 2 Midlands Voices piece supporting legalization of marijuana.
It is quite refreshing to read an article so well written and this topic. The authors cover several items that would benefit the citizens of Nebraska. These include medical, economic and legal aspects of the topic.
I was very impressed by the credentials of the several authors that signed the article. When it comes to science, I trust and believe their opinions much more strongly the those of a former college football coach and an owner of a major league baseball team.
Come on, Nebraska, wake up.
Mark J. Rea, Lincoln
et the time right
If legislation were to make Daylight Savings Time year-round, does anyone in Omaha really want to wake up to go to work on Jan. 3, 2022, knowing that thanks in part to the OWH editorial board’s support, the sun will not even peek over the horizon until 10 minutes till 9 o’clock? I think switching is brilliant, but if we must have one time it should not be Daylight Savings Time. There is a reason they made Standard Time the standard.
Mark Hoeger, Omaha
St. Vincent De Paul
When COVID-19 started and Omaha was shut down, grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential places did extraordinary things to service the people of the Omaha area. All thrift stores were shut down across the city, except for one, St. Vincent De Paul. While everyone was cleaning closets, etc., one store stayed open and accepted all donations, and that was the one at Tara Plaza, Papillion. The amount of goods was phenomenal, to say the least.
Throughout this ordeal, the manager of the store, Robin Flynn, did an amazing job with limited staff and volumes of clothing, toys, furniture, etc. to sort through and put on the floor. But the most important was how many people came into the store, people able to have a little bit of normalcy in a very difficult time. She treated each customer like one of her own.
I credit her with making everyone feel welcome and safe. She is a credit to this community and to the mission of St. Vincent De Paul, which is to care for the poor and give everyone a chance, because we all deserve a second chance.
Thank you, Ms. Flynn, for your dedication.
Karen Richardson, Omaha