“You do what you want” BLM supporter and PA Gov. Tom Wolf


BLM supporter Tom Wolf who governs Pennsylvania, the second most restrictive stateBLM Supporter Tom Wolf Leads Parade in Harrisburg June 3, 2020 when it comes to coronavirus rules and edicts, Wolf who ordered every restaurant to limit seating capacity to 25% and ordered every bar closed in all 67 counties based on secret data that he refused to release has issued guidance regarding PIAA fall sports, “You do what you want, and school districts are going to do what they want.”

Tim Benz: Gov. Wolf’s latest high school sports quotes are even more absurd and dismissive than last week’s

Tim Benz | Friday, August 14, 2020 5:42 a.m.

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf made an out-of-nowhere recommendation that scholastic sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1.

The PIAA didn’t know that statement was coming. Wolf provided no context for how his office came to that decision. And he put forth no explanation for the logic behind the timeline.

Furthermore, the previous week, the PIAA board of directors had just decided to proceed2020-08-06 Wolf showcases enforcement muscle, but says he’ll still depend mostly on warnings to get businesses t[...] with the start of fall sports as scheduled.

Equally galling were Wolf’s follow-up comments Thursday in York. The governor stood by his recommendation while admitting he still hasn’t read the response from the PIAA.

TribLIVE’s Chris Harlan joined me for Friday’s “Breakfast With Benz” podcast. He says that letter was given to the governor earlier in the week.

Not only has Wolf failed to read it, but he also essentially said it wasn’t worth his time.

“I’m not sure what they could say that would make me change my sense of what I believe is the right thing to do,” Wolf said.

Comically, a few minutes later, Wolf described himself as “having an open mind.”

Equally hilarious is Wolf’s attempt to disassociate the importance of his job from his recommendation.

“I recognize that I’m just one person,” Wolf said. “Maybe I’m governor, but I’m one person that has an opinion.”

Governor is the key part to that sentence, ya know?

Stop playing games, Governor. This “I’m only one man!” stuff is a farce. And you know it. You are the leader of this state. You aren’t posting on Facebook. You aren’t “Tom from York County” calling in to a talk show. Your “recommendation” matters much more than most.

By the way, you aren’t “just one person.” Your health department and education department have already backed you up. So you are one person with two major government agencies supporting your policy.

Sorry. Not “policy.” I know, it’s just a “recommendation.”

Wolf is also frequently playing that semantics game. He catches himself before he says anything like “policy” or “declaration” or “decree.” He’ll parse between “recommendation” and “directive.”

Because “recommendation” makes it informal, like he’s not the one making the decision. Like he can shift the responsibility to the individual school boards, the PIAA or various conferences around the state.

Please! Who is this guy kidding? How many school boards are really going to open themselves up to the legal liability of operating in direct opposition to the governor and the departments of health and education.

Parents of the first backup punter who doesn’t get playing time on high school football team “X” and contracts coronavirus will take that school board (and district) to court so fast, the lawyers won’t be able to line up quickly enough to say, “Negligence! Negligence! They had a state recommendation! They ignored it and played anyway!”

Sure. It was just a recommendation. However, it might as well have been a bill signed into law.

And it might as well have been a cancellation notice for high school sports this fall. Although Wolf is pretending that’s not the case.

“I also recommended this summer that Pennsylvanians avoid going to the Jersey Shore. I’m sorry, that’s my recommendation. You do what you want, and school districts are going to do what they want,” Wolf shrugged.

No, Governor. They aren’t going to do what they want. They are going to do what keeps them from assuming whopping legal exposure.

And that Jersey Shore analogy is so stupid I can barely muster up a response. I’ll just say anyone who went to the Jersey Shore isn’t going to sue themselves if they get coronavirus.

The coup de grâce of Wolf’s address was this absurd justification for why cross country is an example of a fall sport that was too risky of a competition.

First of all, no one is prioritizing sports over education. The questions are about trying to carve out ways for them to coexist under the circumstances. We have enough real arguments without Wolf creating a strawman.

Secondly, psst! Mr. Governor, you can compete without fans. Remember?!?

So even though high school cross country meets in York are, apparently, as heavily attended as the finish line at the New York City Marathon, the governor doesn’t need to worry.

If Wolf wants to talk about whether high school football, soccer or basketball are safe enough to play, let’s debate that. But digging in his heels over cross country? That’s just a guy more concerned about being right than making sense.

Article

You can hear my entire podcast with Harlan here.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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