Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Friday, January 25, 2008
A Catholic Perspective on Rick Majerus

Rick Garnett at Notre Dame, who blogs at the Catholic-legal-theory site Mirror of Justice, offers some thoughts on the Majerus matter.

Two points on Rick's post. First, he wonders whether the reaction from SLU or much of the sports-media world would have been different if Majerus had "appeared at a Tom Tancredo rally and complained about immigration, or at a League of the South rally and complained about Emancipation." A similar point was raised in the Comments to my earlier post here. I agree with Rick that, unfortunately, the reaction probably would have been far less supportive of Majerus, especially among the professoriate. But that reflects what I view as a common problem of lack of consistent support for the idea of people speaking out where one disagrees with the ideas expressed.

Second, Rick suggests that Archbishop Burke missed an opportunity for a more constructive response that would have engaged Majerus, and all area Catholics, in a conversation about the dignity of life and the Catholic faith. Such a response might have played better, particularly given that Majerus' support for stem-cell research grows out of his having watched a close friend die of ALS. This was a chance to talk to the faithful (whom the archbishop is charged with pastoring) about this area of Catholic thought, rather than falling back on the blunderbuss weapon of stating that someone simply is wrong (in defiance of the basic tenets of Catholicism) and calling for sanctions against the speaker. Majerus has said that he would like to meet the Archbishop and discuss these issues, which might make for an interesting conversation.


First of all, the Catholic Church is perhaps the only Christian church that has definite views of right and wrong, good and evil. This is why the media takes so many shots at it, because Catholicism still stands for something. Rick has a right as an American to say these things, but not as a Catholic. Rick is free to choose another anything-goes type church (Unitarianism anyone?), but these beliefs disqualify him from calling himself a Roman Catholic. Furthermore, he IS in a high-profile position at a Catholic university, and to go against Catholic teaching as a head coach of a Jesuit university, ups the ante considerably. As Lenny Wilkens (a truly strong Catholic and African American coach) once said, "Everyone is a role model to someone!" As this article further explains, Rick (unless he repents), should be disposed of as coach and role model at Catholic St. Louis University.

Blogger Tom O'Toole -- 1/27/2008 1:24 PM  

Post a Comment