Pearl, the chuckling Rotarian nuisance who is approximately one Holocaust clown movie removed from Jerry Lewis, recently told a zinger at a fundraiser that might've gone over better if he hadn't suggested that some of his Tennessee constituents were Klansmen.
WBIR has the video. The event was yesterday. Here's what Pearl said:
I've got a tough job. I've got to put these guys from different worlds together, right? I've got guys from Chicago, Detroit — I'm talking about the ‘hood! And I've got guys from Grainger County, where they wear the hood.
It's a pun, you see. Everyone in the audience had a laugh, but others apparently weren't so amused. (It's worth noting that none of his current players hails from either Chicago or Detroit.) Pearl apologized later in the day. His statement:
This morning while speaking at a private kick-off event for a great organization that benefits many local charities, I made a statement in jest to describe the diverse group our staff recruits year-in and year-out.
Unfortunately while I was trying to excite the crowd and encourage employees to give, I made an inappropriate joke. I certainly did not intend to offend anyone and I apologize to everyone, especially the people of Grainger County.
In no way am I trying to justify what I said, but I'm disappointed that the focus has been placed on me rather than the charities I was there to help. My only hope is that the visibility of this mistake will encourage those who can to give to those in need during these difficult times.
Doug McBee, the father of Volunteers recruit and Grainger native Skylar McBee, wasn't the least bit offended. He told the Knoxville News Sentinel:
"There's no hard feelings at all,'' Doug McBee said. "We are country up here, but we're not prejudice. It was a joke, and that's how I took it.''
Besides, everyone knows that Grainger isn't a hotbed of Klan activity. The KKK wasn't founded there or anything. It was founded in Pulaski, Tenn., a few hours away.
Pearl's off-the-cuff remark could raise eyebrows (video) [WBIR]
Pearl's comment elicits apology [GoVolsXtra]
UT's Pearl Gets In Trouble For His Mouth, Too [MrSEC.com]