Crap. I've done it again. I've let a bad column get under my skin and now I'm reacting to it.
In fairness, I fought the urge for a few days this time.
The column in question was written by Clay Travis on NFL Fanhouse and spends hundreds of words telling readers how stupid the Pittsburgh Steelers' Terrible Towel is. It was obviously written to anger Steelers fans, and it did so. Mission accomplished.
I actually didn't mind this column that much. I obviously disagreed with it, but can understand his point of view as someone who dislikes the city of Pittsburgh and the Steelers. Some people love seeing stadiums filled with gold towels waving. It's a show of unity with each other and the team. Others don't like it. And that's OK.
My problem comes from an interview Travis did with WTAE after he wrote the column. In the WTAE interview, Travis (Someone should tell him that having two first names is stupid) basically discounted the fact that proceeds from Terrible Towel sales go toward the Allegheny Valley School, which serves individuals who are mentally handicapped or have other disabilities.
Travis said, "The proceeds is a good thing. I don't know anyone who has an issue with money going to charity. Now, is it that substantial an amount of charity? I mean, every year, they give less to charity than they pay the worst Steeler football player, so it's not like this is some multimillion-dollar-every-year industry that's changing the face of Pittsburgh. I mean, it's a little bit of money. It's better than not anything. But it's not like it's a seismic difference in the overall scope of the city."
|If these babies could, they'd give Clay Travis the finger.|
When Travis was told that Terrible Towel sales have raised more than $3 million for the Allegheny Valley School, he acted as if $200,000 a year wasn't that big of a deal because the Steelers pay their worst player more than that.
First, $200,000 is a lot of money to give to charity every year. I don't care how much money an individual or company makes. That's a lot of money to give. I'd like to know how much of his income Travis gives to charity. I wouldn't make fun of him if it was a small amount, as I respect any charitable donation. I just want to point out his hypocrisy.
Second, Travis is acting as if the Steelers own the rights and trademark to the Terrible Towel. They do not. The Terrible Towel's rights are owned by the Allegheny Valley School Corporation, as you can see here. With that fact in mind, there is no reason to point at how much the Steelers pay their players.
Third, it's easy to see that Travis does not like the city of Pittsburgh, the Steelers or their fans. The article may focus on the Terrible Towel, but he also bashes the city and takes a the mandatory shot at Ben Roethlisberger's legal issues.
Going back to the original column, I don't think Travis has spoken to many Steelers fans. He said that you can't speak with a Steelers fan for three minutes without the Terrible Towel being mentioned. Really? Having lived in Pittsburgh for 24 years (I was in Guam for one), I've rarely brought up the Terrible Towel with people. Usually it's just asking if my friends remembered theirs, asking my girlfriend's grandpa if he is enjoying it (He uses it as a bowling towel) or just informing someone that proceeds go to charity. I don't know anyone that just starts talking about the Terrible Towel and its greatness.
You have to give it to Travis though, he knew this article would get a big reaction and a lot of readers. NFL Fanhouse is probably ecstatic to get so many readers they normally don't, as towel wavers probably flocked to Web site because they had to see for their own eyes that someone would diss their beloved symbol.
Of course, Steelers fans understand that there is a price to disrespecting the Terrible Towel. Just ask T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Keith Bullock and LenDale White. I'm not wishing misfortune on Travis, but I think it's safe to say karma and Myron Cope's ghost are going to have revenge.