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Johnny Miller apologizes for Rocco Mediate comments

Here is a news story I wrote for the Saturday newspaper:

NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller apologized Friday in the wake of complaints from some viewers that his comments about Rocco Mediate Sunday could be interpreted as anti-Italian slurs.

“I apologize to anyone who was offended by my remarks,’’ Miller said in a response sent by NBC to viewers who expressed concern.

“My intention was to convey my affection and admiration for Rocco’s everyman qualities and had absolutely nothing to do with his ethnicity. I chose my words poorly and in the future will be more careful.’’

During the fourth round of the U.S. Open, Miller said Mediate “looks like the guy who cleans Tiger’s swimming pool,’’ and later added, “Guys with the name Rocco don’t get on the trophy, do they?’’

The apology came a day after the anti-defamation arm of the Sons of Italy demanded an on-air apology as well as a suspension of Miller.

The Sons of Italy said in a news release, “If Johnny Miller had made a similar remark about Tiger Woods, he would have been fired.’’

Here is my official WatchDog the blogger take:

Yes, my bushy uni-brow rose when Miller said what he said, knowing he was walking a fine line of political incorrectness. But I thought it was obvious he evoked Rocco as an everyman type name, not as an Italian one. Look at it this way: If Boo Weekley had been in contention, Miller might have said exactly the same thing. If some guy named Giuseppe had been, he probably wouldn't have.

Tags: golf

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