Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What I don't say is important, too

After lunch with “the boys” last Tuesday, as I drove from the Manhattan Deli in Willoughby to The News-Herald, I had number of things on my mind.

For example, what would I write about for today’s paper? Columnizing is a task I ordinarily undertake on Monday afternoon – except in the summer when there is a golf outing that requires my attention. A lot of charities hold their golf outings on Mondays, forcing me to do my musing on Tuesday.

Last Monday was not a golf day, although it could have been. But no, it was a leaf day. Or leaves, if you will.

My leaf gathering had been about half completed, and my brother volunteered to come over and help me finish the project. Finish it we did. It was well after dark, no thanks to the expiration of Daylight Saving Time.

Now the annual chore is complete, not to be resumed until the falling of leaves begins to take place in 2013.

One thing I thought about saying: I had left a word out of last week’s essay. Should I call attention to it? Possibly nobody noticed. I did, because I always read the column again on Sunday morning, and I found a paragraph that irked me.

After mentioning several outstanding NFL quarterbacks of days past, I wondered whether Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden would ever live up to their standards.

“Of course,” it said in the paper. What a dopey thing for me to say. What I meant to write was, “Of course not!” But the word “not” got left out. It created a slightly different meaning.

But, I reasoned, you readers are smart enough to figure out what I meant.

So remember, it’s not always what I say, it’s what I meant to say. But I digress.

Since I had nothing of greater import in mind, I thought I’d sort through the week’s emails. They are often a source of inspiration.

Sure enough, the first one that popped up was from Tom Leininger, who said, “I enjoyed your piece in today’s NH regarding your banter with Jack Turben regarding the Cleveland Browns quarterback (of the) future.

“I need to remind you that there is no such college as ‘Miami of Ohio.’ Miami University is in Oxford, Ohio. When I was there we were the ‘Redskins,’ which made most of the Miami Indian tribe proud. Sadly, they now refer to themselves as ‘Redhawks.’”

That, Tom, is one of those manifestations of political correctness in which institutions such as Miami U. find themselves hopelessly intimidated, as did Stanford.

But privately owned entities, such as the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, pay no heed to the protesters and go about doing their business.

They probably figure that people who don’t like it don’t have to buy tickets to their games. The owners make the decisions and that’s how it is.

Miami doesn’t have the luxury of making decisions without several dozen constituencies, including elected officials, having their say and exerting pressure.

The pressure on institutions such as Miami – and Stanford – is far different than that exerted on professional sports teams. See if you can figure that out. I know that I have.

Just so you’ll know, I lead a very happy life that is not influenced to any great extent by political correctness.

Tom’s reference to Miami was in response to a trivia question posed by Jack Turben to name four colleges that produced both a Super Bowl quarterback and a president of the U.S.

Mike Wagner, in an email, identified two quarterbacks from Stanford who had played in Super Bowls – Jim Plunkett and John Elway.

That is correct, but it is only part of the answer. The president who went to Stanford was Herbert Hoover.

The Miami pair is Ben Roethlisberger and Benjamin Harrison. From Michigan are Tom Brady and Gerald Ford. And from the Naval Academy are Roger Staubach and Gerald Ford.

Former Waite Hill Mayor Art Baldwin emailed that Weeden is entitled to more time to prove himself, because when Terry Bradshaw started for the Steelers right out of LSU, he was terrible for two years.

“Bradshaw is dumb as a stone,” Art wrote, “and maybe that’s why it took 2 1/2 years for him to become effective, so give our guy at least one year!”

OK, Art. One more year. And that’s it. And should the Browns go 2-14 this season, maybe they can draft a really good quarterback, one who, hopefully, is smarter than a stone.


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