No. 48

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“Ear­lier this month, my wife asked me for a Christ­mas list. I sug­gested a Univer­sity of Michi­gan foot­ball jer­sey. This raised an im­por­tant ques­tion: What num­ber should go on it?

“I thought about An­thony Carter’s No. 1 and Rick Leach’s No. 7 be­cause they were con­quer­ing he­roes of my child­hood. Then it dawned on me: I wanted No. 48, for Ger­ald Ford. Af­ter all, he was the man who gave me my first les­son in me­dia bias.

“Ford [. . .] was a very good foot­ball player. In 1932 and 1933, his Wolver­ines went un­de­feated. In 1934, he was the team MVP. In Michi­gan’s sto­ried foot­ball his­tory — no school has won more games — only five num­bers have re­ceived the honor of re­tire­ment, and Ford’s No. 48 is one of them.

“And yet the me­dia went on to por­tray this great ath­lete as a no­to­ri­ous klutz.

“Some­how, the only pres­i­dent who ever tack­led a Heis­man Tro- phy win­ner gained the rep­u­ta­tion of a lubber. A man who turned down of­fers from the NFL in or­der to at­tend law school — at Yale, no less — be­came known as a block­head.”

John J. Miller, writ­ing on “Bold Moves,” Dec. 27 in Na­tional Re­view On­line at www.na­tion­al­re­view.com

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