Miami's Shalala Giving Power to the Powerless

Miami's Shalala Giving Power to the Powerless

Scream. It’ll make you feel better. Complain. It’ll release the poisons. Throw a justified temper tantrum in public, like the University of Miami’s president did last week, and feel stronger as consensus gathers behind you with uncommon support. Purging outrage can feel good when it doesn’t feel bad. But then slink back to your corner, defeated, and realize that your path is littered with beaten screamers and complainers and temper-tantrum throwers who expired exhausted without ever making so much as a dent. And then wait for the fear to return.


The worst part? The helplessness. UM President Donna Shalala is a powerful person unaccustomed to feeling powerless. So her angry screed toward the NCAA about its investigation last week echoed from coast to coast, but it wasn’t so much an uprising as it was one tiny, furious woman yelling into a canyon. An angry letter, that’s all this was, though personal because this particular president felt wronged after decades and decades of university presidents enabling, empowering and emboldening the NCAA’s ridiculous rights.


So many powerful people have fed this bloated, ugly beast for so long, and now one of them was finally complaining about being bitten. But she wouldn’t have been this kind of passionate if she worked at the University of Florida instead. And that’s one of the frustrations here: Unfairness must be felt by the motivated many before fairness can be felt by the first few.



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