On last night’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart and Jason Jones combined forces to produce a segment on the punishment meted out by the NFL to Ravens running back Ray Rice after Rice was caught on a security camera first punching out his fiancee and then dragging her out of an elevator.
Stewart made the obvious point that the suspension Rice received was shorter than what the NFL imposes on recreational drug users and that the lenience of Rice’s sentence sends precisely the wrong message to players and their fans. So far so good.
But then Stewart took his point one step further. The disparity in consequences between domestic violence and drug use, he argued, is all the more absurd given the fact that “pot is actually legal in one of the cities the NFL operates in.” I’ll ignore the part of this criticism where an employer is free to administer drug tests to its employees, and that numerous drugs prohibited by the NFL are perfectly legal to consume all over the United States. I’ll just focus on the part where he said pot is legal in just one NFL city.
Oh, Jon, how quickly you forget. There are actually two cities in which the NFL operates in which it is legal to smoke pot. Even better, the teams representing those two cities happened to face off in the Super Bowl just a few short months ago. Better still: you pointed that out on your own damn show, in a segment about the Velveeta shortage that was also covered on this very blog:
Stewart said, and I quote, “This year, the match-up is between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, two teams hailing from states that have legalized marijuana.”
Why yes, Leibowitz, I did just use your own words against you. How you like dem apples? (Please answer when you don’t have the munchies and can therefore muster an objective opinion on apples.) (I said “muster”, not “mustard”, put that pretzel down!)
I can come up with two good explanations for Stewart’s blatant fact-check failure. Here goes:
First, a simple memory failure. Which, given the subject matter, is not necessarily that far-fetched.
Second, after watching the Seahawks demolish the Broncos in front of 111.5 million people (how embarrassing), Stewart is well within his rights to harbor legitimate doubts whether it can fairly be said that the NFL currently “operates in” Denver.