National media news outlets have showered our community with gratifying praise for responding with reason, compassion and unity to the horrific crime of June 17. But on Sunday, a particularly heartwarming tribute came from a sports network.
ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” a panel show delivering commentary on significant developments of the previous week, focused in part Sunday on the New York Knicks’ controversial selection of 19-year-old Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia with the fourth pick of Thursday night’s NBA draft.
Later, though, in his closing comments, Frank Isola, who has long covered the Knicks for the New York Daily News, went beyond the games athletes play to offer this poignant perspective:
“Starting with [coach] Pat Riley in the early ’90s, the Knicks held training camp at the College of Charleston in South Carolina for nearly 15 years. It was the team’s home away from home in early October — a time when hope is at its peak for every NBA team. The players, coaches and yes, even the curmudgeon beat writers absolutely fell in love with the place. The weather, the food, but mostly the people make Charleston the beautiful city it is today. I was there with my family last August, in fact.
“Now for all the wrong reasons, Charleston has been in the news lately. And yet in its darkest hour, Charleston sent a powerful message to the world when relatives of nine African Americans gunned down at a local church stood in a courtroom and told a hateful white man they forgive him. Thanks, Charleston.
“On Friday, President Obama delivered a moving eulogy for one of the victims, the Reverend Clementa Pinckney. He even sang ‘Amazing Grace.’ This all took place inside a basketball arena at the College of Charleston — more than ever, a symbol of hope.”
Thank you, Mr. Isola — and many others in and out of the media, for hailing the inspiring grace of shared humanity in the face of heinous inhumanity.