Does Katherine Harris have Golden Balls?

The Freepers say yes. Meanwhile, the Florida secretary of state defends a New York Knicks point guard.

By Anthony York
Published April 25, 2001 6:00PM (EDT)


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Big buzz

Among basketball fans in Miami, nobody is more hated than the New York Knicks. And among Democrats in Miami, nobody is more reviled than Katherine Harris. How great for those who love to hate that the two have come together at last! Chocolate and peanut butter haven't got a thing on this combo.

Harris defended Knicks point guard Charlie Ward after Ward offended many Jews -- including NBA commissioner David Stern -- and others, by saying Jews are "stubborn" and have "blood on their hands" for the crucifixion of Jesus. Ward is a spokesperson for Florida's "Born to Read" literacy program. But the Miami Herald says Harris, who supervises the program, should bounce Ward.

The problem, writes the Herald, "isn't the star athlete's ability to read -- it's his inability to think."

Ward was booed by his own hometown fans during the Knicks' playoff opener this weekend. But he has found surprising allies deep in the heart of Heat country. Besides Harris, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said Ward has a right to his interpretation of scripture.

"But when the athlete's intolerance hurts others," the Herald writes, "he shouldn't continue as a role model for a taxpayer-funded program."

One poster on cites a more compelling reason for Harris to dump Ward. "Ward may be a religious guy, but he's just another ignorant person who uses religion to justify his actions. In 1997 he helped incite a riot between the Knicks and the Miami Heat players at the end of the game. Ward told the press that the Almighty had chosen him to be at the center of the crisis because he was the Knick best able to handle the crisis."

But through it all, Harris has stood by her man. No wonder the Freepers nominated Harris for their "Golden Balls Award."

Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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