Some things should probably be off-limits, but too often we fall victim to the do-it-for-the-gram, anything-for-a-haha mentality that leads to some insensitive comments.
Family Guy writer and New England Patriots fan Alec Sulkin was a guest on WEEI’s Dale & Keefe, and he was asked for his expert opinion on Cam Newton’s play. Sulkin is entitled to his opinion and completely free to bash Newton’s play as he sees fit, but one could say he might have crossed the line with his comments.
The tweet below incorrectly transcribes the “joke,” but you can hear the clip in the post. What Sulkin actually said was, “the only reason Newton caught COVID was because he didn’t throw it.”
"The only reason why he got COVID was because he wasn't throwing it" pic.twitter.com/lvFrBouylJ
— Dale & Keefe (@DaleKeefeWEEI) December 30, 2020
The devil is in the details and the spirit of the comment.
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The Obvious Inappropriate Nature of the Joke
No one should have to point out why humorously linking a disease that has killed over 1.8 million people to someone’s professional struggles is inappropriate. Unfortunately, Sulkin has taken us to this point.
No one knows the emotional toll Newton had to endure having COVID. Also, imagine someone who is struggling with the virus or who has lost a friend or family member hearing that comment. Overall, it’s pretty reckless, but it’s also not the first time Sulkin has dipped his toe in the sea of silliness for the sake of a laugh.
Not the First Time Sulkin’s Desire for a Laugh Has Gone Foul
Sulkin has a thing about poking fun at the worst events in humanity. His timing is impeccable as well. Back in 2011, Sulkin found himself in hot water when he attempted to diminish the impact of Japan’s tsunami-earthquake with another ill-advised attempt at humor.
Sulkin tweeted, and later deleted the following comment:
“If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, google ‘Pearl Harbor death toll.’”
He later apologized and said: “Yesterday death toll 200. Today 10,000. I am sorry for my insensitive tweet. It’s gone.”
Cancel culture is a bit out of control, but there is something to be said for people running some things through a filter before they spew what could be unnecessarily harmful to someone who might be in a vulnerable state.
Laughter is good therapy, but not when it has to come at the expense of someone else’s peace.
Co-Signing the Non-Constructive
What might be as troubling as Sulkin’s “joke,” is the response from the hosts of Dale & Keefe. The sophomoric humor generated laughter from both hosts. I get it, almost no one on the station’s staff is a Newton fan. The Patriots will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and that’s a tough pill to swallow for a fanbase who is so used to winning.
As the quarterback, Newton eats a lot of that blame.
However, he’s still a human being who, by the way, does one of the best weekly spots with the station after games. Newton has been a complete trooper with the media through the ups and downs of the season. Could you blame him if this doesn’t sit well?
On second thought, he’ll probably continue to take the high road. It’s a good thing the season will be over soon, some of this is likely tough to take even for someone determined to remain positive.
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