Thursday, November 3, 2011

With a great opportunity to show support, ESPN Gameday blows it

image Via Twitter, ESPN’s College Football Gameday announced that its celebrity picker would be San Francisco Giants closing pitcher Brian Wilson.

Wilson is a product of the LSU baseball program and is known for his [ahem] “eccentric” personality.

On any other visit to the University of Alabama Campus, ESPN’s College Gameday celebrity picker wouldn’t even cause a rustling breeze of controversy. But a scant six months after the raging winds of the April 27 tornadoes, this seems like a very poor choice. Gameday had an opportunity to spotlight the efforts of a community still working to get back on its feet after the devastation caused by those storms—one of which passed a mere few hundred yards away from the site of the Gameday set.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox would have made an excellent choice. He has been a tireless and diligent leader of the recovery effort and has united the community like few other politicians in this state could. How about picking from the chef team of John Folse, Rick Tramonta and Bob Baumhower? They’re getting together to cook the world's largest pot of gumbo, uniting University of Alabama and LSU fans in an effort to raise money for the relief effort. Or, how about the stunningly beautiful former Alabama Cheerleader Sela Ward, who will be one of the judges for the event? Any of these would make an excellent choice and no one would really care who they picked to win the game.

No one in Tuscaloosa “Fears the Beard.” Frankly, many superstitious Alabama fans fear Lee Corso’s pick more than any other. It wouldn’t matter if Wilson picked the Tide or not—that’s not the point of this at all. There are many great efforts being undertaken by the citizens of Tuscaloosa and the rest of the state who were ravaged by a natural disaster. There are many great people leading and working very hard on those efforts. Any of them would have made a much better choice.

It’s ESPN’s production. It’s their show, their money and they can choose whoever they want to have on their set Saturday. I would have preferred someone else and I think most fans would, too.

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