Vice President Joe Biden presided over the memorial service for the 29 miners killed in the April 5th explosion at the West Virginia Upper Big Branch Mine. A couple minutes into his seven minute speech, the VP talked about the lives of the men outside of work, here’s the audio from a couple minutes into the speech:
“And though this work defined them, it did not describe them. As Nick Rahall said they were fathers, grandfathers, sons, nephews, husbands and fiancés. They loved hunting, fishing, riding horses and four wheelers. They hated the way coach Rodriguez left West Virginia for Michigan [applause/cheers/whistles]..”
I read some of the comments ripping on Biden on mgoblog but I think they either missed the full quote or the point here. The fact is that he was describing the passion of these men and Mountaineer football was a big part of that. Do any of you doubt that they did hate the way Rodriguez left?
If Biden talked to the wives and family of these fallen men I’m guessing more than one brought it up & note the WV sticker on the helmet in the photo above. Certainly in the audience were (primarily) friends and family and you heard how they reacted to the Rodriguez comment.
I don’t have any problem with Biden mentioning this. If I croak tomorrow I hope someone mentions U-M football in some form or another at my funeral services (to be held at the Big House). If you’ve read these pages you know that U-M athletics, particularly Michigan football, is deeply woven into our lives and our society. It’s not just about a few Saturday afternoons each fall. Seriously, don’t you know a few people that have had their ashes spread inside Michigan Stadium or intend to when they pass? I do.
- I was a Political Science major* at U-M and I know a little about politics and politicians. I ended up on Capitol Hill for a spell, working for a Senator (D-MI) and after graduation, a Congressman (R-MI).
- Post-post script, now this is funny. Here’s how the LA Times mentioned the Rodriguez reference (a screen print before someone edits it):
* I Minored in cruising chicks with an emphasis on sucking face.