Column: It’s time to forgive Marv



    Guess what kids, only 19,452,837,642,162,630,984,273,894,783,746 more days until the Jazz win the NBA championship. Now for other news.

    Less than 10 months after his termination, Marv Albert will return to the Madison Square Garden network to do radio play-by-play of New York Knicks games. Of course, if the lockout continues, there may not be any games to broadcast.

    It was a surprise announcement, but not an unexpected one. Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Albert was given a second chance. The question is whether the American public will be as forgiving.

    Albert was on his way to immortality as one of the best NBA announcers in history. With his high-profile position with the MSG network and NBC, Albert’s voice was recognizable to millions.

    His trademark phrases — “Yessss,” and “a spec-TA-cular move,” among others — have been imitated by many broadcasters. He was the voice of the Knicks for 30 years, and lead NBA broadcaster for NBC. He was recognized as one of the best in the business.

    But above everything else, he was a good person, known to have good character and live a good lifestyle.

    That image shattered last September when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeaner assault charge in a sex case involving a long-time lover. The charges we all wanted to believe were false turned out to be true. Albert’s personal life was sick and twisted, and his career appeared to be over.

    Albert’s firing from NBC and the MSG network was immediate and justified. The public demanded punishment.

    The time has come to forgive.

    I don’t condone his behavior. His personal life does not match mine. But it is his personal life, and as long as it does not affect his broadcasting abilities, it should not keep him from working.

    He admitted he was wrong. He expressed remorse for his crime, and he was punished accordingly. Why should we, the American public, judge him harsher than the courts did?

    It reminds me of the recent problems certain members of the BYU football team have had with the law. One of the incidents involved a group of players who were pulled over in southern Utah for a traffic violation. The cop found marajuana and other drug paraphanalia in the car. They plead guilty to a lesser charge and were allowed to go.

    The players were grilled in the local papers for their actions and were disciplined by the Honor Code Office for the offense. The thought I had is, ‘What if it was me in that car?’

    What if my roommates and I were traveling through Ceder City when we were stopped for speeding. Upon inspection the cop found some joints and a bag of grass we hadn’t rolled yet. We plead guilty to a lesser charge and are sent on our way. Would any of the local papers care? Would the Honor Code Office even find out?

    These are the issues surrounding the Albert case. He is a public figure and as such is subject to public scrutiny. He has suffered public humiliation and been the butt of numerous jokes. The time has come to forgive and let the man go on with his life.

    It’s what all of us would want if we were in his shoes.

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