October 31, 2006

Dear Kurt Warner: Shut up

Dear Kurt Warner,

I am writing to thank you for your input on the complicated issue of stem cell research. While it is a delicate topic on which plenty of well intentioned people disagree, you succeeded where everyone else had failed. You managed to bring an uncommon sense of clarity to the subject.

In the latest ad campaign to humble the silver screen this October, you state that stem cell research is wrong because it costs millions and could take as long as 15 years to produce any results. Fifteen years! That’s, like, a millennium. Or something.

Well, I couldn’t agree more. How many concussions does it take before I can start thinking that deeply?

Most supporters of the amendment to ban stem cell research have their hearts in the right place. They believe it crosses numerous ethical boundaries that cannot be compromised. But no one had made the argument that it’s just a waste of time before.

While we’re at it, though, I would like to suggest that the following, too, be voted down by the good citizens of Missourah: Education. I’ve been in school for 15 years now, plus a few more years of preschool, and still, nothing has happened. Where’s my corner office with a view of Fifth Avenue? Where’s my five-bedroom house and three-car garage? Where’s my six-figure paycheck? What a waste!

Children. Have you ever seen a child run for president or fly to the moon or write a great American novel? Only in the movies, and even then they get help from the plucky B-list actor in a supporting role. Kids are all talk. They take ages to develop and I should say, I’ve had it with them, always coloring stuff with their crayons and giving names to stuffed animals. Do something with your lives kids; enough is enough!

Mr. Warner, I can only hope that this becomes the start of a new trend of athletes exploiting their roles in the public spotlight for questionable ends. Too often, professional athletes confine their worldly views to the small space inside their heads, failing to utilize their obviously superior mental dispositions for the benefit of the greater good.

But not you, Kurt. You do something very important for a living and you know it. You throw an inflatable piece of pigskin to someone who is paid to catch it, once a week, for 16 weeks a year. Sometimes you even throw it to the right person. And society is much better for it.

Because of that, your opinion on stem cell research, more than the opinions of scientists who work on it, the professionals who study it, or even those who are affected by it, matters to me. Because I watched you play once and you were pretty good.

Too often athletes focus their considerable influence on time-wasting charitable works—boring projects to send underprivileged children to college or feed the hungry. But not you, Kurt. You see beyond the pernicious fog of reality and into the issues that really matter: the fake ones. Why use your fading credibility for a clear-cut good when, by filming such an ad, you can lower the credibility of legitimate ethical concerns and prevent the advancement of science simultaneously?

I applaud you for taking advantage of your position as a once-sorta-respected member of the community for political purposes. Oh, and on behalf of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients for whom 15 years really is too long to wait: Thanks, Kurt! You’re an inspiration to us all.

Go Cardinals,

Tim Murphy