Specter’s Strange Priority

Maybe Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, missed the limelight between Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Or maybe the erstwhile Philadelphia district attorney has a soft spot for that city’s pro athletes.

Surely his interest in the Terrell Owens case cannot be a function of a legitimate Senate priority.

To recap for those fortunate to otherwise not know of Owens, he is the superbly talented, eminently arrogant, destructively self-centered pro football player who had, until last month, been playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s a poster boy for all that is wrong and warped about having prominent athletes as cultural icons.

Owens was suspended by the Eagles without pay for four games for “conduct detrimental to the team,” which is shorthand for embarrassing the organization and causing an implosive chasm in the locker room. He was then deactivated (with pay) after the suspension ended. An arbitrator sided with the team.

Specter initially threatened to have a Senate subcommittee look into whether the NFL and the Eagles had violated anti-trust laws. But he settled for bringing it to the attention of the Department of Justice.

Two points.

First, this is a collective bargaining matter, and the arbitrator ruled accordingly.

Second, it should be demeaning to the Senate and trivializing to the Justice Department to traffick in such legal dreck. Isn’t that Ralph Nader’s job?

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