By Zach Arnold | November 11, 2011
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Joe Paterno, the king of the collegiate institution known as Penn State, was fired tonight after the arrest of his former football defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, who has been accused of raping multiple children. As Jay Bilas opined today on ESPN, a conspiracy of cowardice.
Memo to athletes and media personalities: this is a real sex scandal. Rape and child abuse are not issues to crack jokes about. This is not something to make light of, especially when it involves allegations regarding defenseless or impressionable children. Forrest Griffin, regrettably, didn’t get that memo. Let’s have Brett Okamoto of ESPN sum it up for you:
But (Griffin’s) recent tweets making light of rape during the emotional pitch of the Penn State situation fell flatly over to the side of poor taste. Griffin tweeted “rape is the new missionary,” after a series of other tweets to that end that have since been deleted. It must have struck him as witty, because he actually tweeted it twice. Funny never showed up, and he continued his tirade as the backlash rolled in. “Following me is a privilege” he wrote to somebody who unfollowed him. After offending at least one female follower, he apologized and tweeted, “I’m sorry I’m gonna go ahead and put myself on twitter restriction until next week.”
“I wouldn’t apologize because I didn’t do anything wrong, I don’t think. I didn’t commit a crime,” he said. “I didn’t kill anyone or rape anyone or anything like that. I mean, I stated my opinion, and it seems like you get more backlash for that than committing a real crime in some sense. I feel like I didn’t do anything wrong. I just said what everybody else was thinking.”
Child sex abuse is not a topic to joke about. Rape isn’t a topic to joke about. Period. The fact that anyone thinks this is a topic where you can find some sort of morbid humor is absurd. It’s also bad judgment and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that concept out, either.
And this is not the week to piss off Dana White. He’s in ultra-Vince McMahon mode right now and doesn’t need to deal with any more BS:
“People are always like, ‘How do you feel?’” White said. “I’m sick. I haven’t slept in four days. I’m a basket case right now. I’m more of a control freak than I’ve ever been.
“Ask me on Monday how I feel. Right now, it’s not good. If I don’t drop dead by Saturday, it’ll be a good thing.”
An admitted “control freak,” White is most concerned over the matters he has no control of. He literally shivered when asked what the promotion would do if Velasquez or Dos Santos managed to injure himself before Saturday.
Dana White has to make a major statement here with Forrest Griffin. He’s let slurs by fighters like Michael Bisping slide. However, we are dealing with an scandal involving one of the most disgusting situations you could possibly imagine and it’s drawing international attention. I believe in free speech, but I also believe that there can be consequences to what you say in regards to you say publicly while expressing those rights. I don’t care if you classify Forrest as an ‘independent contractor’ even though the relationship is more like employer/employee.
UFC signed a lucrative deal with Fox. Fox agreed to spend a significant amount of cash to sign, seal, and deliver a deal with a property where Zuffa’s edgy behavior has been rewarded in the past. Now we’ll see just how well that edgy behavior meshes with real corporate America. Forrest’s comments signal a test case in regards to what kind of tolerance Fox will have for this kind of behavior.
- Huffington Post: Forrest Griffin rape jokes – MMA fighter sparks controversy on Twitter
- NESN: Forrest Griffin embarrasses MMA, self by attempting rape-related joke on Twitter
- Yahoo Sports: After getting Twitter bonus, Forrest Griffin tweets rape joke
- Brent Brookhouse: Forrest Griffin’s jokes about rape demand UFC action
- David Castillo: Why Forrest Griffin should be punished for his rape joke
Meanwhile, Dana White addressed the situation with Mauro Ranallo during this media interview:
DANA WHITE: “It wasn’t a joke. No, it wasn’t a joke. So, I’m actually glad you asked me that question. What happened was, I contacted Forrest and Forrest is a mess now about this whole thing. And, believe me, take it from a guy who’s been in this situation… what happened was Forrest Griffin said he woke up that morning and turned on his television and the whole thing about Paterno and what’s going on over there at Penn State, he said he literally switched the channel to another channel and they were talking about a woman who had been raped. The third channel he went to was doing a story about rape. Every channel he went to, and his thing was rape is the new missionary, like it’s vanilla, like it’s absolutely normal when you change the channel it’s on every friggin’ channel.”
MAURO RANALLO: “You see how it could have been misinterpreted, though?”
DANA WHITE: “No, I know exactly how it was misinterpreted. You don’t go out on Twitter where you can only do so many characters and put something out there like that. Then, once everybody started attacking him, he started attacking back on Twitter, you know? It’s one of those situations.
“Let me tell you what, man, and I’m the first guy that always say people will make mistakes and this and that will happen and all this stuff. Forrest Griffin is a very, very good human being and I’m not talking just to people and everything else… there’s this, uh, there’s this, uh, charity in Las Vegas called (Three Square) and I guess something crazy like 300,000 kids in the Vegas area go to school without eating every day, right? The only meal they eat every day is lunch at school. So, on Friday, when they go home, they don’t eat again until Monday’s lunch, right? So, we were getting involved in this charity and seeing how we could help and the lady who runs it says, you know Forrest Griffin, right? And we’re like, right, of course, we know Forrest Griffin. She says, well, he came down and he would come in and came down to volunteer, would start cooking and pack lunches and do all this stuff and every time he would leave he’d write a check. He goes in there and works for free, would write a check every time he’d leave, and then they ended up finding out that he was from the UFC and he was a UFC fighter because they’re not all big UFC fans over at that place.
“So, uh, just the small glimpse of the type of person that Forrest Griffin is and I talked to him as soon as I saw this thing and I’m telling you, I’m not jumping out and sticking up for my guy, that is what he meant. He chose the wrong platform to do it on and, um, and he is, he’s pretty busted up over it. Do we need to be more careful? Yes we do. Choosing Twitter as a platform to say something in three words, you know, that can be COMPLETELY misunderstood the way that it was… I mean, if you look at it for what it was, when he says that rape is the new missionary, it doesn’t even make sense. It makes no sense. But when I explain to you on what he meant, then you’re like, OK, I get it now, it makes sense. Yes, you need to be more careful in some of the decisions we make and some of the, uh, you know, some of the things that we say.”