Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee made the AP Newsbreak Thursday when it was revealed that he felt compelled to joke about Catholics and the SEC during his school's meeting of its athletic counsel. Gee, a man who is no stranger to less than well-received remarks, did it again, and with all the panache that his 2011 comments dismissing Jim Tressel possessed.
The issue is not whether his comments are offensive; certainly, his remarks about the untrustworthy nature of Catholics and the illiteracy of the SEC will not sit well with those respective crowds. Rather, the problem is that Gee keeps taking his shots, stepping into the same mess.
At some point, the "oops" and "my bad" moments lose whatever appeal they have to the offended group and just ring as a testament to Gee just not getting it. He is the president of one of the nation's largest institutions of higher learning, and certainly, at some point, you'd think he would learn from his mistakes..
Although, saying it in an Ohio State meeting is a small move forward from stepping in it at a press conference.
At his current pace, it should only take a few more incidents before Gee realizes that perhaps some things are better left unsaid. Or, even better, that stereotyping comedy, directed at the Polish, Catholics or the South, might be better left to the professionals.
It's definitely not the realm in which a college president should be traveling. Gee is one of the college game's power brokers, a man at the head of one of the most powerful machines in collegiate athletics. This is not about holding him to a higher standard, rather just him having any standard at all.
The jokes about Southern illiteracy are as tired as the "Big Ten can't count'' quips, perhaps even more so. And as for decorum, Gee has none, unless, of course, you know the right time to call a religion untrustworthy.
But, through it all, perhaps the joke is on us? The big money donors keep writing him the checks, so he makes them happy. After all, this guy keeps going about his business, slip-ups or not, even as the missteps make headlines.