Fred Weinberg: Before That USA Today Critic Trashes Oral Roberts, She Should Try Building Something Like He Did


In a piece written a few days ago for USA Today, aka McPaper, a woman named Hemal Jhaveri attacked Oral Roberts University, suggesting that the 15th-seeded Golden Eagles basketball team blowing through the brackets into the Sweet 16 “isn’t the feel good March Madness story we need.”

The reason?

Get this: “[T]he university’s deeply bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ polices can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.” Homosexuality is officially not welcomed at the university.

Let’s unpack this. First of all, when student athletes’ sex lives become a part of college basketball? And secondly, when did a bunch of moronic editors at Gannett become the arbiters? These are, remember, the people who told you not to vote for Donald Trump as if they have some kind of super insight.

And even the jerks at Gannett know they went too far.

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They fired Jhaveri, but not for this despicable opinion piece. They fired her for a tweet even she apologized for about the Boulder shooter. “It’s always an angry white man. always,” she wrote.

Turns out it was an angry Syrian man. And for that, Gannett fired her from her position as “race and inclusion editor.” Honest. You can’t make this stuff up. McPaper has a “race and inclusion editor” that it just fired. But not for the despicable piece she wrote about Oral Roberts University. That the paper published willingly.

It happens that I know something about ORU and Oral Roberts because he was a friend of mine and my company owned the radio station that carried the basketball games back in the ’80s and early ’90s.

Granville Oral Roberts was controversial but a genius who could have just as easily been the president, a governor or the CEO of any Fortune 500 company. But he chose to market God and do great things for society.

Do you think Jhaveri has any business criticizing ORU?

He raised probably a billion dollars back when that was a lot of money, built a university and a hospital. He believed what he believed, and with all respect due Hemal Jhaveri (which isn’t much), he did not have to clear those beliefs with her.

O.R. (as we used to call him behind his back) built the university in the image he thought made sense. And I’m sure — because he told me — that one of his proudest moments every year was graduating about 1,000 students, commissioning them as second lieutenants in the army of life. Assuming an afterlife, it probably still is. And nobody ever held a gun to any kid’s head to force them to apply for admission.

If Hemal Jhaveri wants to implement her belief system, instead of taking potshots at people who actually do things, why doesn’t she start raising money to build her own university with a Division I athletic program? Nothing is stopping her. But she’s just another big mouth who thinks she’s smarter than people who actually go out and do things.

In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Gannett should be ashamed of itself and Jhaveri should be ashamed of herself.

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By the way, the Arkansas Razorbacks of Eric Musselman just barely edged Paul Mills’ ORU in the Sweet 16 to end the Cinderella run. As someone who is no longer at the university but I’m proud to call a friend said, “They almost pulled it out. Nothing to hang their heads about.”

For those of us whose memories of ORU are in life’s rearview mirror, I’m guessing there was still a high percentage of viewership last week.

And a high degree of satisfaction, win or lose.

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Fred Weinberg is the publisher of the Penny Press, an online publication based in Reno, Nevada ( He also is the CEO of the USA Radio Networks and several companies which own or operate radio stations throughout the United States. He has spent 53 years in journalism at every level from small town weekly newspapers to television networks. He can be reached at You can subscribe, free, to the Penny Press weekly email on the website.