Did you happen to catch Lou Holtz’s endorsement of Donald Trump earlier this week? The video, which runs about twenty seconds, has all the creepiness and poor production value of a North Korean political prisoner’s “confession,” and features our beloved seated on a padded chair in what appears to be someone’s basement or, maybe, his dentist’s office. Wearing slacks and what could be my father’s old Notre Dame windbreaker, Lou endorses the Donald because he’s played his golf course and stayed in his hotel. I’m not making that up.
Now that I watch it again, those might be my old man’s slacks, too.
If you notice, and this is pithy of me, Lou’s hair has either taken on, or has always been, the same fantastically fake color as Donald’s hair. A color that could spin countless internet memes as we try to guess if it’s gold or orange. Maybe it’s not hair. I’m thinking, now, some kind of pelt.
Digger Phelps got into the action, as well, when he gave a rousing speech at a Trump rally in South Bend. Christ, he was shot out of a cannon. His enthusiasm was perhaps exaggerated, though, as he followed Gene Keady, who appeared in a truck-driver costume and put the crowd to sleep. Digger endorsed Trump because the Donald remembered a South Bend restaurateur, Roberto Parisi, one year after briefly meeting him. I’m not making that up.
I get celebrity and I get endorsements. I’m old enough to remember being glad we had a Mr Coffee in the house because DiMaggio plugged them. I smiled knowing Ali endorsed the can of D-con I used to spray roaches.
But no one endorsed cheap race-baiting. As coaches, Lou and Digger should have put themselves above a quick buck rather than sink into the burbling cauldron of anti-immigrant terror Trump used to fuel his run to the nomination.
Fr. Ted once chaired a Presidential committee on immigration reform. Their recommendations could have never passed the Donald’s muster.
The University once fought the Klan and stood as a breakwater against anti-Catholic hate in a region where governors and senators made no secret of their prejudices.
Notre Dame has always invited Presidents and Vice Presidents, along with Premiers and Taoiseaches, to campus. That should continue. But coaches who owe their fortune and fame to a university built on the backs of immigrants should refrain from publicly endorsing a candidate who, an hundred years ago, would have gone a long way to send the Tims back to Tipperary.
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