Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Notre Dame's President Wants You To Believe Discrimination Is Politics

Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins, a reverend who has already established himself as one of the biggest liars or frauds in America, has some things to get off his chest. Jenkins is upset that the NCAA decided to remove championship events from North Carolina due to the state’s anti-LGBT laws, and he’s here to express his dissatisfaction in the most disingenuous way possible.


Jenkins has taken to the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page to write an essay under the headline “The NCAA Isn’t A Moral Arbiter—Nor Should It Be.” Jenkins believes the NCAA overstepped its authority by pulling events out of North Carolina without first consulting its member universities. This is the meat of his argument:

In the interim, it is not the role of the NCAA to employ the economic power it derives from member universities to attempt to influence the outcome of the legal process or change legislation. When it comes to complex, contentious social issues, universities have a critical role to play in fostering reflection, discussion and informed debate. No matter how popular or profitable certain college sports become, athletic associations should not usurp that role. I was particularly disheartened that the NCAA took action without consulting its member universities.

The role of such associations is to foster athletic competition that is fair and serves the well-being of student-athletes. There is plenty of work for them to do in that sphere without assuming the role of spokesperson for their members on contentious political and social issues.

Toss these two paragraphs into a vacuum, and you might start to think that Jenkins has a point. The NCAA is a scummy cartel designed for the sole purpose of keeping money out of the pockets of college sports’ labor force, so what business does it have taking a political stand?

That line of reasoning only works, however, if you truly believe that there is anything political about the NCAA’s refusal to help produce revenue for a state that actively discriminates against its LGBT community. Jenkins sure seems to believe this, and goes on to argue that universities are for “purifying the national debate” and should make decisions about such “political” matters only after having “deliberative, informed discussion,” as if the rights of LGBT people are something to be debated in Epicurus’s garden.

There’s nothing political about the denial of basic civil rights, though, and Jenkins can’t even maintain the charade in his own piece. Early on, he tells on himself:

Heightened respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens is a signal moral achievement of our time, and harboring reservations about any retrenchment is natural. Yet some citizens may wonder about the implications of substituting gender identity for biological sex in public restrooms. While attending to the rights and sensibilities of transgender persons, it’s important to also take into account the feelings of those who might be uncomfortable undressing in front of a member of the opposite biological sex.


Boy, that “yet” is sure doing a lot of work, isn’t it? Here we have the president of a prestigious university insisting that a debate between people who are asking for basic civil liberties and people who are afraid of an icky trans person looking at their pee-pee is not only one worth having, but one that must be performed in the bastion of intellectualism that is America’s university system.

Nah, fuck that. Rev. John I. Jenkins doesn’t believe that LGBT people deserve the same rights and protections under the law that he enjoys, and he’s upset that the NCAA doesn’t agree with him. That’s all he has to say to the readers of the Wall Street Journal.