BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
Where has the time gone? They are teenagers now, and it seems like yesterday when I began preaching to my kids about the importance of character and kindness. The subject of our dinner conversation the other night? ESPN reporter Britt McHenry's rant at a towing company employee. In case you missed it, the 28-year-old's rude rant has gone viral, video of the incident showing the world what appears to be an entitled, arrogant young lady giving a mouthful to the employee. I'm here to tell you that if actress Rachel McAdams isn't available for the next Mean Girls movie sequel, they may want to contact McHenry's agent.
Before we get back to the message this rant has sent to my kids, a reminder of a few of the things McHenry said on the video (click here to see the video, and a warning that there is some salty language involved). And for your convenience I remind you that as a thorough reporter, McHenry made sure she covered about everything on the spectrum of human insults: Class, education, appearance and weight.
- "I'm in the news, sweetheart."
- "I will f...... sue this place."
- "That's why I have a degree and you don't."
- "I wouldn't work in a scumbag place like this."
- "Makes my skin crawl even being here."
- "Yep, that's all you care about is just taking people's money. With no education, no skill set, just wanted to clarify that."
- "Do you feel good about your job?
- "So I can be a college dropout and do the same thing?"
- "Why? Because I have a brain? And you don't?"
- "Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh?"
- "'Cause they [the employee's teeth] look so stunning … 'Cause I'm on television and you're in a f...... trailer, honey."
- "Lose some weight, baby girl."
Back to my own kids, who certainly have their faults. Britt McHenry served me up with examples of what every parent wants their child to stray from: Judging, bullying, feeling entitled. And McHenry, the ESPN Washington DC-based reporter, hit a home run in all categories. Her rant gave clear messages to my kids about what we parents look to preach:
Entitlement: You know the drill kids, never think you are entitled to anything.
McHenry: "I will sue this place."
Fame: Remember kids, never think you are better than someone because of your fame (BTW, being on TV is not a big thing, heck I've done it for crying out loud).
McHenry: "I'm on television and you're in a trailer, honey."
Appearance: Never judge a person by his or her looks, or for that matter, your own good looks.
McHenry: "Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me... lose some weight baby girl."
Education: Everyone is not smart enough or lucky enough to earn degrees from Northwestern and Stetson.
McHenry: "Do you feel good about your job? So if I can be a college dropout and do the same thing?"
So many messages here for my kids: In this day of iPhones and cameras, someone's always watching. What you post online or on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram could come back to bite you. When you leave this world, the big guy's not going to care if you were on ESPN or that you were a part-time model, He's going to care about how you treated others. You don't have to be the homecoming queen or the football team captain to be cool. And remember (if my kids have any clue that "The Brady Bunch" was a TV show), that while Marcia Brady was "the bomb", most men end up marrying gals like Jan.
Look, we all have bad days, and while having my car towed would put me in a sour mood, I like to think that I would never dress down another human being in such a way. Perhaps this well-educated TV reporter should have studied up on one of John Wooden's more famous quotes. The former UCLA basketball coach once said, "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because character is what you really are, while reputation is merely what others think you are." Her character now revealed, McHenry's reputation has taken a hard hit.
I wish Britt McHenry no ill will, and I hope that she learns from this and continues a long, successful career (I have always enjoyed her work). But while this young lady does a fine job on television, I will never think of McHenry or ESPN in the same way as I did before this came to light.
I must admit, talking with my kids at dinner about this subject was a bit strange, but I'm glad we had the conversation. And the three people I hope learned the most from this video rant? My son, my daughter, and Britt McHenry.