Sister Jean probably doesn’t use Twitter. And for the sake of the 98-year-old nun who has become a mascot of sorts for Loyola University Chicago’s run to the Sweet 16, that’s probably for the best.
If she were logged onto the ever-divisive social media platform, she might be surprised at the stir one Knoxville radio personality has caused with the use of her name after Tennessee’s NCAA Tournament loss to Loyola on Saturday.
Fox Sports Knoxville midday co-host Cody McClure sent a vulgar tweet directed at the self-described international sensation in the midst of the Vols’ upset loss at the hands of her school.
WARNING: NSFW language featured in the following tweets.
As one can imagine, this was not received positively by, well, anyone.
Among those who were offended by the message was Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde, who fired back at McClure:
“You should reconsider your miserable life,” Forde wrote. “And your employer should reconsider your employment status.”
Forde’s sentiment was echoed by many, but the drama did not stop there.
On Monday, Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh published a column in which he reached out to McClure in search for an explanation on why he would say such a thing about such a revered woman.
McClure gave him one: It was a joke.
“My comments about Sister Jean were meant simply as a joke, nothing more, nothing less,’’ McClure said. “It was not an emotional response over a basketball game, nor was it meant to be a slight toward Catholicism or the elderly in general. The joke value came because of the fact we were dealing with a 98-year-old nun who is deservingly beloved by people for her outstanding service. Anything said that would oppose that would create a little shock value, right? It was meant to be comedic — cheap maybe — but comedic. A lot of people got a kick out of it and a lot of people were offended by it.’’
In search of remorse, Haugh prodded for signs of regret, but McClure instead told him that he didn’t regret the joke and that he didn’t “see” how people could be offended by language.
In case you were wondering, McClure did say that he had a conversation with his boss in wake of the tweet, but said he was told he will not be fired for his actions.
This wasn’t the first spat over Sister Jean involving Vols media members. Former Tennessee wide receiver Jayson Swain set the tone prior to the game with a Twitter beef of his own with ESPN’s Sarah Spain over language Swain used in reference to the nun. Perhaps McClure was trying to one-up a rival host?
Haugh wrote that he worried his piece would lend to the shock jock mentality of “there is no such thing as bad publicity”, but believes this narrative may prove that theory wrong.
Meanwhile, there’s basketball to be played for the Ramblers. The program will have the opportunity to advance to the Elite Eight if it is ability to beat No. 7 seed Nevada. Loyola already has upset No. 6 Miami and No. 3 Tennessee.