Gary Sadlemyer and KFAB's Morning News

Gary Sadlemyer and KFAB's Morning News

Lord knows what will happen with Gary and his crew on KFAB’s Morning News, but you can bet it’ll be on point and entertaining, and if you listen you’ll be ready for the day!


Joe Ricketts Issues Extended Explanation, Apology

Joe Ricketts has made a more detailed explanation and apology for last week's controversy over some e-mails he sent that were considered racist and offensive. Under the heading "The Rest of the Story" on his web site.

"There has been a lot of press coverage recently about emails I received and wrote several years ago that included insensitive and offensive remarks. In response to the publication of those emails, I issued a statement expressing my deep regret and offering a heartfelt apology. I meant what I wrote in that statement but there were things I didn’t write because I didn’t want to distract from the statement’s main idea of apology.   

Now, if I followed conventional wisdom, I would leave things alone, waiting for the storm to die down. But I don’t generally follow conventional wisdom and I am lucky and proud to live in a country where I can speak freely and where people can freely disagree with me. So here’s the rest of the story.

In December, I learned someone had stolen my private, personal emails and given them to a digital media outlet. I told the digital media outlet these were stolen emails, that they were both private and personal, that I didn’t authorize their publication or disclosure, and that I wanted them returned to me. The media outlet disregarded my request. That’s not surprising to me – this outlet attacks people it disagrees with, including many it views as too conservative, running pieces like “The 69 Idiots of 2018: Capitalists” where they note “2018 was a year filled with idiots—including the idiots who rule our cursed capitalist hellscape.” (I’m a capitalist, by the way, and I made the Idiot’s List.)

The person who stole my private emails wanted to harm me and my reputation as did the people who published the material over my objections. I get it; in the polarized world in which we live it can feel like anything is fair game.

Although I am a Conservative — primarily on economic and financial issues — I have both Democratic and Republican friends. And although I am a Catholic, I have Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim friends. I don’t let political positions or religious affiliations define who my friends are or who I associate with.

Which brings me to the recently published emails that date from 2008-2013. The emails themselves fall into two basic categories — offensive jokes sent to me and to which I responded inappropriately, and denigrating comments about Muslims, including some I wrote myself. The first group – the offensive jokes – were usually sent to me from old friends and were among dozens of emails I receive daily. I rarely paid much attention to them, usually responded with something like “funny” or “good joke,” and then deleted them. These emails were from people I knew, and I knew I wasn’t going to change their attitudes, but I didn’t want to alienate them; I wanted to keep the friendships, which in many cases dated back decades. In retrospect I wish I had said these were wrong or asked to be removed from future jokes of this sort, but I didn’t and I accept responsibility for my failure to speak up.

And then there is the second group of emails – the ones with comments about followers of Islam. The first thing to say about these emails is that I wish I had been more thoughtful in what I wrote because I wrote things that didn’t reflect what was in my heart. But, I wasn’t writing with the idea that lots of people who don’t know me would be reading and dissecting my words. Had I known that would be the case, I would have started every email by saying what’s in my heart: the vast majority of Muslims are just like the vast majority of Christians and Jews, trying to live good lives and to help their children do better. I would have gone on to say that, unlike the vast majority of Muslims, there’s a radicalized Islamic fringe that functions like a cult and who view people like me as their enemy because of where we live and the God we worship. I know firsthand this fringe isn’t representative of most Muslims – through the foundation I established, I’ve supported global educational initiatives for students of all faiths, including students in Muslim schools in Africa. I’ve spent time at these schools and I know the families to be good people. I regret that some of what I wrote back in 2008-2013 appeared to condemn these good people who have as little in common with the radical Islamic fringe as do most Christian and Jewish people. But at a time when adherents to this radicalized Islamic fringe were beheading people and declaring war on western society – something that sadly continues to this day – I wasn’t precise in the words I chose in my private emails.

I’m a lot of things – a husband, a father, a Catholic, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. Those are descriptions I like, but I can also be irritable, rash, and stubborn. I understand that some people now would add racist to the list, but I know what’s in my heart and I’m not that, and never have been. 

I believe there’s a lot more that unites all us Christians, Jews, Muslims, Socialists, and Capitalists than divides us, and I believe we need to find a way to thrive together. That can feel uncomfortable at times because we don’t all see things the same way, and we don’t all believe in the same things.  But I am going to be thinking about it, and working on it, and I hope others will too."

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