The president of Ohio State University, Gordon Gee, reportedly said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten conference because the university’s priests are not good partners, joking that “those damn Catholics” can’t be trusted.
“The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week,” Gee said to laughter at the Dec. 5 meeting attended by Athletic Director Gene Smith, several other athletic department members, professors and students.
“You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that,” said Gee, a Mormon.
Oops. Look, I give a wide berth to joking around. I do. I try to be funny and sometimes I say things that I don’t mean. And this guy is pushing 70 (if my math is right) and he might just be suffering from oldman-itis whose symptoms are known to be believing you can say any darn old thing that pops into your head.
It sounds to me like he got a few laughs with the “holy hell” line and got a little excited about it and then went for the big punch line and ended up getting himself into a little trouble.
Who knows if the guy was just kidding or not. The thing is, the Big Ten wanted Notre Dame in the worst way to join the Big Ten and they didn’t. And that made the Big Ten mad because it would’ve meant huge amounts of money if they did. I think at least partly there’s some anger there about money.
What’s interesting to me is the reaction from the university. The university called the statements inappropriate and said Gee is undergoing a “remediation plan” because of the remarks. Just for a second imagine that Gee had said “you can’t trust them Jews” or “those Muslims are holy hell.” Do you think for a second there’d be talk of a “remediation plan?” No. There’d be about a two minute conversation about who to send the press release to first announcing his termination.
But hey, it’s just Catholics? Who cares then, right?
Look, I don’t care if Gee is fired. I really don’t. I don’t know why he said it. I don’t know if they came from a place of hatred or just wanting to get a laugh. Doesn’t matter to me. But the fact that Ohio State isn’t firing him says a lot about that institution. And say, weren’t they under sanctions last year from the NCAA for major rule breaking. Yeah, so who can’t be trusted?