All of this could have been avoided if only Rutgers University grew a spine and told the handful of Condi Rice haters to go pound sand. So instead of having the most accomplished black woman in American history deliver their 2014 commencement speech they caved in to the tiny leftwing mob, leaving the majority disappointed.
So then they figured they would go with former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, a student paralyzed in a 2010 game who has gone on to become an inspirational speaker while still pursuing his degree. Except they now rescinded that offer in lieu of former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, possibly the dullest choice you could come up with. Now they’ve left LeGrand in the lurch.
A Rutgers official asked Eric LeGrand on Saturday night to deliver the keynote speech at the university’s May 18 commencement. Less than 48 hours later, another university official called LeGrand to inform him that the school had “decided to go in another direction for political reasons.”
A blindsided LeGrand was left searching for answers on Monday night.
“I just want an explanation,” LeGrand told NJ.com in a phone interview. “I wish somebody would have given me a call tonight and explained to me why. Then I can understand, but don’t just leave me hanging.”
LeGrand, a former Rutgers defensive tackle paralyzed in a 2010 game, was in Sunrise, Fla., over the weekend for the “Wings for Life” race, a fundraiser for spinal cord research. While out to dinner with friends on Saturday night, LeGrand received a phone call from Greg Jackson, the chief of staff for Rutgers President Robert Barchi.
LeGrand was monitoring the commencement speaker situation after former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice backed out amid controversy surrounding her selection. LeGrand hoped he would be asked to replace Rice.
“(Jackson) asked if I could do Rutgers a favor and give the commencement speech,” said LeGrand, who is graduating after taking classes throughout his rehabilitation process. “I was like, ‘Wow, thank you for offering.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, absolutely. Talk it over with your family this weekend. Let’s touch base again Monday.’ I was all amped all weekend. I was like, ‘This is perfect. I’m going to have to give a speech to everybody.’ “
Except now he’s not.
But when LeGrand returned home around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, he received a phone call from Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann. LeGrand said his heart dropped when Hermann informed him that former Gov. Tom Kean had been announced as the commencement speaker on Monday afternoon.
“She told me, ‘I was pushing for you, but President Barchi decided to go in another direction for political reasons. But he wants you to come to the ceremony. He wants to personally give you your degree,’ ” LeGrand said. “I just didn’t know how to feel. I was hurt. They offered me this on Saturday and then they take it back on Monday. I was like, ‘Why?’ “
This is what happens when you have an administration of clowns and cowards who try to appease the angry left, leaving themselves looking not only craven and weak, but downright idiotic. Get your act together, folks, before you further embarrass yourselves.
Oh, and this is a special touch from a commenter at the Star Ledger:
Enough already from this clueless self-entitled crybaby. He was given a free college education. Unfortunately he got paralyzed. Dozens do every year. It takes more than that to be considered a hero in my book. RU has treated him very well financially. LeGrand is upset because dropping him from graduation is one less opportunity for him to sit there and bathe in the applause that he craves. Don’t go away mad Eric. Just go away.
Update: Well, that was a quick back-pedal. Maybe they should just go back to Rice.