Chris Fowler Angers Creationists with World Cup Closing Statement
On Sunday, ESPN completed its lengthy coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. After Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0, ESPN sent things to their on-site location for a wrap-up from host Chris Fowler and analysts Alexi Lalas and Steve McNamanan. Fowler did an excellent job the entire six weeks in South Africa but his final minutes on TV could yield the most controversy. Here’s what Fowler said in his closing statement from South Africa:
“As for the African experience, we’ve all come away changed and moved by our months here in South Africa. Will this World Cup solve all of this country’s problems? Certainly not. But if you listen to the locals here, it has certainly gone a long way creating unity and harmony that this nation with a troubled past has never seen. We invite you to experience it some day. You will not come away from this country without being moved and inspired and changed if you open your heart to it because after all, as human beings, if you go back far enough to our roots, we are all Africans.”
It’s not that I disagree with what Fowler said, it’s that he touched on a highly sensitive subject for Americans. There are many people who believe in creationism rather than evolution, and Fowler may have alienated the former. He could have spoken glowingly about South Africa the way he did and left that final line out. Maybe I’m just seeing things through a sensitive perspective. After all, if this tweet from ESPN PR man Bill Hofheimer is any indication, ESPN had no problem with the remark: “ESPN’s chris fowler, as usual, very eloquent in his closing remarks, thanking entire crew, #RSA South Africa and encapsulating the last 4 wks.” Eloquent, yes. Controversial too.