Thursday, October 01, 2009

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Fresh off yesterday's post on sports writers inappropriately injecting politics into their coverage of the athletic world, I came across yet another example just this morning. It wasn't strictly political per se, but it serves to reveal the mind set of many in the field.

Whilst on the way to work, I was listening to the Steve Czaban Show on Fox Sports Radio (carried locally by AM690 The Score). As is customary on Thursdays, he was joined by Gregg "The Love Saw" Doyel from

They were discussing the Tim Tebow situation--his injury and whether he should play against LSU or not. Someone mentioned that because of the concussion he had suffered he was restricted from watching TV or reading while at home recuperating.

Doyle cracked, "Well, Tebow was homeschooled so we're not really sure if he can actually read of not."

Oh, I get it. He's one of those stoopid homeschool kids, right? We all know that they don't learn anything from their whacko parents who hold this bizarre view that they shouldn't trust government to be responsible for their children's education.

The reality is that while there isn't a lot of hard and fast data on the subject, homeschooled children at least equal and sometimes outperform their public (or private) school peers in just about every measurable area of academic achievement. If Doyel wanted to be more accurate with his little reading joke he should have used it in regard to a college athlete from an inner city high school in a place like Chicago. On average, I'd say the chance of someone from that educational background not being able to read would be far higher than with a homeschooler.

But that could very well mean that the athlete in question was black. Can you imagine Doyel making the same crack in that scenario or the firestorm that would likely ensue if he did? Didn't think so.

In addition to being white and therefore open to barbs about his educational upbringing, Tim Tebow also happens to be a devout and rather public Christian. That makes him an even juicer target for the cynical sports writer set. After questioning whether Tebow could read, Doyel then went on to remark that maybe he had recently had the eleventh through fifteenth Commandments revealed to him and was studying up on them (or something to that effect).

Oh, I get it. He's one of those dopey Christians who still believes in all that silly man in the sky nonsense. Let's all mock and ridicule his beliefs and values.

This time let's say that the college athlete in question was a Muslim. Can you EVER--in your WILDEST DREAMS--imagine Doyel cracking wise about said athlete receiving revelation about additional suras to the Koran? Not a chance.

Because that would really be striking out against the mainstream and would require real courage. Mocking homeschooled Christians is risk free and easy. Heck, just about anybody can do it. Even sports writers.

UPDATE-- Vox e-mails to point out that there is in fact significant data to support the idea that homeschooled kids do better than their peers:

Good post today. However, the data from a very large study of more than eleven thousand has been collected and the results indicate that homeschooled students blow away both public and private-schooled students. Means in the 80th percentile, versus 50 for the public schools.

Here's a link to the study he mentions. Some interesting findings:

* Homeschool parents have more formal education than parents in the general population; 66.3% of the fathers and 62.5% of the mothers had a college degree (i.e., bachelor's degree) or a higher educational attainment. In 2007, 29.5% of all adult males nationwide ages 25 and over had finished college and 28.0% of females had done so.

* Homeschool student achievement test scores are exceptionally high. The mean scores for every subtest (which are at least the 80th percentile) are well above those of public school students.

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