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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

'Honoring' 5-year-old boy at Michigan Stadium a bit too much

Very few have escaped the news of 5-year-old Cooper Barton, the Oklahoma City kindergarten student accused of violating his school's dress code by wearing a Michigan shirt. 
Argument about the dress code aside, it's cute that Michigan athletic director David Brandon reached out to the family, sending them care packages of Go Blue merchandise and inviting the family to visit for Saturday's romp over UMass. But inviting the kid and his family on the field during a first-quarter timeout? Isn't that an honor reserved for actual heroes and others who have overcome incredible tragedy or physical limitations?
What was Barton "honored" for exactly? Overcoming the prejudice facing out-of-state college football fans in the South?
Sure. This is a feel-good story. But the kid is 5! He's barely going to remember the generosity of the Michigan family.  There's probably 1,000 other Michigan fans who deserve that kind of treatment who will never see the light of the media hype machine. These kinds of shenanigans detract from the debt of gratitude owed to military heroes and other do-gooders of every age. 


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