Grand Valley State University offensive coordinator Morris Berger found himself on the outside of the stadium when he confessed during an interview with the school newspaper that he’d love to have dinner with Adolf Hitler. According to Fox News, the coach was immediately reprimanded for his admission and suspended. The biggest question, however, is if the guy deserved punishment simply because he admitted publicly to something unpopular that he wanted?
The entire fiasco began when Berger was asked by the student what historical figure he would love to have dinner with today. Berger responded by admitting that Hitler was someone who had done deplorable things, but he’d still like to sit with him and learn why he made such decisions.
Additionally, Berger stated that he wanted to learn from a man that had the power to get millions of people to follow him and his every word. When you think about it that makes a bit of sense. Who wouldn’t want to sit with an evil historical figure to learn how they convinced millions upon millions of people to follow their every word? Berger even stated in the interview that Hitler was an awful person, but he then went on to say that he would simply like to hear what the guy had going on inside his head. Too bad he said all of this out loud.
Berger’s biggest problem wasn’t the fact that he admitted to wanting to meet Hitler for dinner. Nope. The biggest problem was that Berger said this out loud. He said it to a student who printed the comment in the school’s newspaper, which of course, made the school look bad. It’s all about image, you see. The school would not have had a problem with Berger’s comments if he had said them during a private meeting that they all attended. They wouldn’t even budge if one student came forward and complained about the comment. Unfortunately, the school had to act the moment the name Hitler became associated with someone who was a part of their organization. Makes sense.
One can only wonder where this leads us all. Are we truly free under the constitution to speak freely to the press, despite the popularity of our comments? Berger thought that he was free to answer a question honestly, and so he did. Little did he know that there is no freedom of speech, especially when it comes to saying something that other people might find deplorable. It didn’t seem to matter that Berger said over and over again that he knew Hitler was a bad man. It also didn’t matter that he mentioned why he wanted to listen to Hitler’s answers to his questions. Nope. It only mattered that he gave the wrong name to the wrong outlet.
We have to see beyond the issues in cases such as this because it has a deeper meaning. If we fail to look beyond the story given then we will fail to see the lesson to be learned. Berger learned his lesson too late. Next time, maybe he’ll say he’d like to have dinner with someone everyone loves—even if he doesn’t mean it. Let’s face it. We all love liars, obviously.