While the good ol' boys of ESPN apparently did a good job of both damage control and cover-up in the case of Dana Jacobson's "mistake" (co-host of ESPN2's "First Take"), eyewitnesses of her drunken anti-Catholic rant are justifiably incensed. Although the tape of her horrible attempt at humor at a roast for ESPN's Mike and Mike (Golic and Greenberg that is) is mysteriously missing, several audience members concurred that Jacobson's rant (who was openly taking slugs from a bottle of Belvedere Vodka while at the podium speaking) included the following: "F*** Notre Dame! F*** Touchdown Jesus! F*** Jesus!"
Now the only excuse/explanation offered was that Golic was an All-American lineman at Notre Dame before his stellar NFL (and ESPN) career, while Jacobson is an alumnus of one of the Irish's most-heated rivals, the University of Michigan. Besides, all's fair when it comes to celebrity roasts, right?
Well apparently enough people in the audience (which included Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis), felt that blasphemy is never in style, for Dana of the Damned was finally booed off the stage. Of course, after Ms. Jacobson had slept off the effects of her 80 proof truth serum, she did offer the following apology: "I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I also deeply regret the embarrassment I've caused ESPN and Mike and Mike. My actions were inappropriate and in no way represent who I am. I won't make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."
Somewhat amazingly, reports out of ESPN have their God-hating anchor suspended for only a week, although one suspects this might be based on whether or not the cover-up continues to keep the incident hidden from the Notre Dame (and YouTube) Nation.
Perhaps even more troubling than the shruggin'-the-shoulders attitude of ESPN is the response of Notre Dame itself. After hearing of the incident, university spokesman Dennis Brown concluded, "While we in no way condone Ms. Jacobson's comments, we're aware of the circumstances in which they occurred, and in the interest of forgiveness, trust that she and ESPN will address the matter in an appropriate way."
Considering the furor Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman's "lynch Tiger Woods" comment (and subsequent hangman's noose magazine cover) caused, I am surprised that these worst of words against Christ and Our Lady have produced barely a ripple. While the ESPN reaction is (to date) much too lenient, I'm not sure that the knee-jerk firing of the new president of "Jerks against Jesus" Jacobson is the most fitting response either. For while I agree with Mr. Brown that the best solution involves forgiveness, in the Catholic world that Dana has so decisively dissed, Dennis knows there is no real forgiveness without penance.
Thus, in the interest of fairness to both sides, Fighting Irish Thomas offers Ms. Jacobson the following penitential options:
- Read the powerful apologetic Catholic pamphlet "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth," and either write a research paper disputing its conclusions —or why it made her decide to convert.
- Do a documentary on the life of the "lady behind the grotto," St. Bernadette—and either prove why her life of humble service was a fraud—OR why Notre Dame's words to Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Conception," should fling Jacobson to her knees, beating her breast and begging God's mercy.
- Have Dana spend 40 hours kneeling (the more hours during this sub-zero cold, the better) at the Notre Dame grotto, where she must continue to mock Mary and those who come to pray—or become the leader of the 6:45 p.m. Rosary recited there daily.
Well, Ms. Jacobson, NOW what do you think? Or perhaps, before you decide, you need another drink ...