- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

Commentary

Good news for anyone who is tired of the Augusta National Golf Club issue: Martha Burk, who is leading the campaign to have women admitted to the prestigious club, has agreed to stop expressing her opinion in public.
At least one would assume so after remarks she made to the Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., regarding "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney.
It seems Rooney doesn't care for female sideline reporters when he's watching a football game. While discussing sports on the MSG Network's "Boomer Esiason Show," Rooney said that women have no business being down there.
"Monday Night Football" sideline reporter Melissa Stark declined to comment, probably because she knows Rooney isn't in charge of hiring NFL sideline reporters. But Burk and a parade of others couldn't resist.
"Most folks who get in a position like Mr. Rooney even if they feel that way privately know it's not OK to say it publicly," Burk said.
What's not "OK," according to Burk, is Rooney expressing his opinion. Burk said she was surprised that a public figure like Rooney would have that kind of "insensitivity."
If that's the new rule, great. Now that Burk is a public figure herself, we can expect her insensitivity toward Augusta National members to stop.
Of course, it won't stop at least not until women are allowed to be club members at a place where you putt a little white ball around. In this case, "public figure" is a term used to describe anyone who disagrees with Burk.
If you're fighting on behalf of women, let your voice be heard loudly on the streets. If you feel any other way, keep your mouth shut.
This is the same mentality Susan B. Anthony had to deal with when she fought for women's right to vote. Thankfully, she didn't listen to the people who told her a woman should keep her opinion to herself.
Rooney doesn't like women giving sideline reports. So what? It doesn't make him sexist, as Burk immediately labeled him. In fact, it doesn't make him any different from a woman who prefers to get a manicure from a female.
Burk is hardly the only one who thinks disagreeing with a woman is the highest crime in the world of political correctness. Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization For Women, also jumped at the chance to criticize Rooney, saying a "statement [Rooney] makes isn't really worth a lot of our time."
The Associated Press couldn't even remain objective when reporting the incident, saying Rooney is as "cranky about [female reporters] as he is everything else." This is the second sentence of the article. So a reader learns Rooney is cranky before anything else.
Can you even imagine the backlash if Augusta National members deemed a woman's opinion inappropriate for the public? Or said that listening to women isn't worth their time? Or that Martha Burk is as cranky about Augusta as she is everything else?
How silly of Rooney to think he was allowed to speak his mind. How silly of him to not get clearance from Gandy on whether his thoughts are worth the public's time. He is just a cranky man who dashed the hopes of the millions of little girls who dream of working NFL games.
Now Burk has two choices. She can follow her own rule and keep her opinions to the confines of her living room or she can begin her next public commentary with an apology to Rooney.
In other news, Rooney later said he felt similarly about male sideline reporters. Nobody cared.


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