Thursday, November 27, 2008

PFT's agenda journalism is Savage indeed

By Rick Morris

One is left to constantly wonder about whether Phil Savage once left a Number Two in Mike Florio's Wheaties, because the Fire Phil Savage agenda at Pro Football Talk is packing more momentum than even the Browns' downward slide. Even innocent (and obvious) public utterances from Savage about how coaches coach and GMs just supply them with the players are taken by Florio as being treasonous towards the man he hired to wear the headset.

Well, I certainly would disagree with Florio about the urgency of the need for the Browns to whack their head football man. FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones and I have been pointing out for well over a year now that the current Cleveland roster is light years ahead of what Botch Davis left behind in '04 (if admittedly thin on depth and still light at LB and CB). So I could file my disapproval of Florio's obvious agenda under "we agree to disagree" ... until he crossed a line I can only consider to be one of religious bigotry.

Now, the latest opportunity for Florio to get his delicates in a wad came from Phil Savage's profane -- and yet wholly appropriate -- reaction to an asinine email from a know-nothing drunken dipwad fan. To hear Florio pontificate about this is to be exposed to the perspective that this is the greatest offense against human decency since a mustachioed guy named Adolf was goose-stepping through Europe. Again, fair enough up to that point, I can agree to disagree -- until he criticizes him for being a proud and open Christian!

Not content to slime a public figure for trying to use his job to promote the life-affirming aspects of his faith and religious awareness, Florio then tries to pose as somebody who knows about such matters himself with a gratuitous Matthew 6:5-7 reference.

"5And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words."

Cute, Mike. Very cute.

Now, as your stereotypical Roman Catholic who can't recite any Bible verses and just puts my full trust in my parish priest to lay everything out for me (not that that is particularly admirable on my part, it's just the way it is), I'll admit that I had no idea what that passage was until I read it -- although I could certainly surmise where Florio was going with his cheap-shot attitude that Savage was a phony who wore religion on his sleeve. To whatever degree, we can all take issue with Savage's football decisions; I take less issue than most, but that's irrelevant to this point. What we should all agree is that Phil Savage's religious convictions and his efforts to be in compliance with them should ideally be respected and at minimum not be held against him.

I do not subscribe to Savage's particular form of Christianity, but I do subscribe to his larger worldview. And even with my admittedly feeble grasp of specific Biblical passages, I do know that the Good Book is chock full of admonitions to use your relationship with God to help others as Savage does. For Mike Florio to nourish his vendetta against this man by propagating the false notion that God wants men and women of faith to carry around their crosses and other manifestations of faith in a burlap sack is vile indeed and representative of the false faith that elevates secular humanism into a religion. Confine your grudge to the areas where decent people can agree to disagree, Mike.

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