Commentary – Some media should be ashamed

Chris Clegg

A few weeks ago, the world did not have a clue what Jean Dolores Schimdt did for a living.

Had it not been for a men’s basketball team from Chicago, today we still would not know.

Schmidt, better known to the world today as Sister Jean, is the chaplain for the Loyola Ramblers basketball team. As the Ramblers purged their way through the NCAA March Madness men’s basketball tournament, her face became the poster child for the networks. Many people could not get enough of the feisty 98-year-old lady cheering on her underdog team.

The Ramblers were knocked out of the tournament on March 30. Cameras caught Sister Jean leaving before the final buzzer. Apparently, she wished to greet the players in the tunnel to congratulate and console them.

Social media and some of the network TV, radio and print media exploded in a hydrogen bomb of criticism. Many branded her as a “poor sport” and “sore loser” and held nothing back in their criticism.

C’mon people! The lady is in a wheelchair. To want to meet the players in a timely fashion as soon as they left the court is an admirable gesture, not one to be ridiculed and criticized.

It is too easy for the cameras to focus on this sweet little old lady. Many were on the bandwagon and the media rode her wave of popularity to increased readership and viewership.

And money!

The fact is, these same people who profited from her popularity were pretty quick to throw her carcass into a pack of hyenas.

Shame on you!

Not one of us truly knows what Sister Jean was actually thinking. Unlike others, I will give her the benefit of the doubt that consoling the players after a bitter loss was the only thing on her mind. Even today, she probably cares less what the media thinks because her first job as chaplain is to serve the team. It is an admirable gesture on her behalf, not one she should be scolded for.

Was it necessary for Sister Jean to stay in the stands until the final buzzer? In a perfect world, yes. Since she is in a wheelchair, she likely would have had to wait until the crowd had cleared before meeting her players. Therefore, I would suggest it was not.

But some in the media rage on. Is there nothing more important to talk about? Not when there’s a buck to be made and keep your audience on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next verbal harpoon to strike her in the heart.

In the media, life and today’s society, the boundaries keep getting stretched. What was once taboo years ago is fair game today. Years ago, who would criticize a nun?

Years ago, the media discovered the value of shocking the public. Scandals and intrigue sell. Look at the popularity of the Hollywood tabloids, with page after page filled with who slept with who, what drugs or weight loss plan the actresses and actors are on, blah, blah, blah.

But to criticize a nun for wanting to comfort her players? Wow! Has it come to this?

Today, sadly, there appear to be no boundaries.


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