BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Doing commentary is a funny business. You can throw out weeks worth of hot takes with hardly a ripple of direct response, and then all of a sudden you offer an opinion that seems to strike a nerve.
That’s what happened after yesterday morning’s WBZ TV commentary about the situation in Saugus, where seven senior atheletes were suspended from postseason competition because they smoked celebratory cigars after graduation.
Smoking is banned from school events and grounds by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association or MIAA, the governing body that sets the rules for school sports. But the cigar celebration has long been an unofficial exception to that rule, in Saugus and elsewhere.
My take was that the wrong lesson was being taught, that while the school officials who refused to just let them off with a warning meant well, this was a classic case of a gap between a rule and reality creating a misunderstanding that needn’t have been punished so harshly.
After all, we look the other way at the breaking of rules and even laws all the time; we don’t bust people for betting on their office March Madness pool, or for breaking out some illegal fireworks on the Fourth of July.
But according to the flurry of nasty emails I received, I might as well be inviting Satan to take over the world.
These folks seem to regard MIAA rules as the Ten Commandments, as if they haven’t proven to be foolish from time to time.
As we’ve been learning recently, some people have an authoritarian streak, with little tolerance for mercy or nuance.
I say we need less of that kind of juvenile attitude, not more.
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Listen to Jon's commentary: