Sunday, August 17, 2008

John Rocker: At It Again! , September 20, 2006

SOME SIX OR SO YEARS AGO, AMERICANS who weren't baseball fans were introduced to a young man named John Rocker. The young Braves closing pitcher garnered the national spotlight after making what many considered racist remarks about foreigners in New York City who, among others things, refused to speak english. I even cringed when I heard the remarks. I remember saying, "Wow! The guy really stepped in it by saying that!" I imagined he would pay for those remarks. In some ways he did. But in other ways, it set the stage for what was to come a few years later.

Back then, the brash young athlete said what many Americans were thinking but were afraid to say. Fast forward to 2006 and John Rocker is at it again. There's a big difference this time though. A few years the wiser, more polished and refined and complete with a public relations advisor, Rocker has begun his "Speak English" 2006 media tour. Today he was on FNC, presenting his message and explaining why he feels that it is important that the message be heard.

Rocker's main assertion is that one of the reasons many immigrants (both legal and illegal) have the problems they do here in America is that they refuse to speak english. He also says that he believes that angers many Americans, especially when the government spends so much money on programs to try and teach english to immigrants who refuse to learn.

During the course of his interview, he told of learning spanish so he could function better in society while he played ball in Central and South America. Rocker said that by making that effort, he was received as someone welcome in the countries he visited and lived in despite his well known verbal gaffes earlier in his career. He went on to say the purpose of his media tour and related merchandise sales is to try to encourage civil discussion on this topic which has come to the forefront in the last few years.

After watching his appearance today on FOX News, I have to say I was suprisingly impressed. At first I thought it was going to be an anti illegal immigration message. While he did dance around the edges of that issue, his message was mostly about foreigners in America learning or at least making an effort to learn English. I think his message this time around is one that will strike a chord with a large segment of Americans if they have the opportunity to hear it. As I listened, I was reminded of the time I spent overseas in Portugal, Japan, and the Middle East and my attempts to learn the local languages. In some cases, I wasn't very successful but the effort was noticed and appreciated by those whose country I was a guest in. I, like John Rocker, see no reason why that same standard couldn't and shouldn't be applied here. It's expected of Americans overseas, so why should Americans be ridiculed and chastised for expecting the same from foreigners in America? First we have to get past the talking points and venom of the politically correct extremists posing as illegal immigration advocates. Only then will we as a nation be able to hold a civil disscussion on this issue.

Rocker's next media appearance will be on Thursday 9/21/06 live on the Mike Gallagher Show at approximately 10:35 am EST. Some stations tape delay the show though. So to check for a station near you that carries the show and the air time, just go to www.mikeonline.com . If you get the chance to listen, I think you'll be pleasantly suprised. I know I was. You can also learn more about other John Rocker activities at www.johnrocker.net .

Til next time........


Originally posted 9/20/06 on Yahoo 360
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