As you may have heard, former ESPN football analyst Craig James is running for US senate. James originally rose to national prominence as a star running back for Southern Methodist during the years it was illegally paying athletes under the table, a practice that eventually made SMU the only football program to ever receive the NCAA’s infamous death penalty.
Unfortunately for James the candidate, he now finds himself embroiled in a controversy that has gone viral. Just Google “Craig James killed five hookers” and you’ll see what I mean. The story has even infiltrated a site dedicated to soliciting donations for James, with one donor insinuating a poem with a clever acrostic calling James a “hooker killer.” (Note the first letters in each line of the “Ramzy” item in the second screen grab below.)
Some are chalking the story up to something called a “Google bomb,” which sources describe as a sort of search engine hijacking. To see an especially successful example, go to Google and search for “Santorum.” NSFW, indeed.
Still, I cannot find any indication that the James campaign has so far denied the charge, nor do I find any official comment as to whether James consorted with prostitutes, alive or dead.
Caution is urged, as this story is potentially a hoax, but voters are always encouraged to fully inform themselves, especially in an age so rife with partisan media-generated controversy. Witness the ongoing battle over whether evolution is factual or merely a theory, which plays out in debates over whether or not to teach creation science in schools. Or the raging conflict over climate change – is it real or is it the product of a media-driven liberal agenda? And what about President Barack Obama’s nationality? Many remain unconvinced that he was born in the United States. It can be difficult to know what sources to trust, so the only reasonable recourse is to gather and consider critically as much information as possible. Nor should we rush to judgment, one way or another. The stakes are simply too high, and if it takes months, even years, to reach a definitive understanding of the events surrounding the James/hooker killer mystery, it’s time well spent.
The citizens of the state of Texas should demand that James, who seeks one of the highest offices in the nation, address these allegations forthrightly, making available all documents that might potentially be relevant to the allegation, even if such documentation proves personally embarrassing.
As we do not currently have before us sufficient evidence to rule out the possibility that James is a serial murderer, it seems appropriate to call for more data and to initiate a vigorous public debate on the issue. Information is the lifeblood of participatory democracy, and voters are sometimes justified in their reservations regarding candidates who seem elusive about their personal and professional pasts.
Thanks to Frank Balsinger for the screen shots of the donation site shown above.