Lou Holtz sometimes made outrageous pronouncements during his tenure as a NCAA head football coach (1969-2004) and ESPN analyst (2004-2015), and he’s continued that at the Republican National Convention. Holtz is one of the many sports figures to endorse presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, and unlike several sports types Trump tried to bring along, he actually showed up at the convention and gave out plenty of political thoughts Tuesday at the Eagle Forum lunch. Here’s his take on immigration, via Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast:
Speaking at a luncheon the Republican National Coalition for Life hosted during the RNC to honor Phyllis Schlafly, Holtz said the high number of immigrants coming to the U.S. constitutes an “invasion.” And he said new immigrants need to assimilate better. Holtz added that his grandparents learned English after immigrating to the U.S. from Ukraine, and insisted his family learn it as well. New immigrants to this country, he continued, need to learn and speak English and “become us.”
“I don’t want to become you,” he continued. “I don’t want to speak your language, I don’t want to celebrate your holidays, I sure as hell don’t want to cheer for your soccer team!”
The crowd laughed and applauded.
Update, May 21, 2018: The Daily Beast has now apologized to Holtz following a settlement of his lawsuit over their initial claim he called immigrants “deadbeats.” Their statement says “While The Daily Beast stands by the rest of its story, we recognize that Mr. Holtz also spoke to his audience about his poor grandparents, who themselves immigrated to the United States and were processed through Ellis Island.” Our original post follows.
It’s quite interesting that the guy perhaps most famous for coaching a team known as “The Fighting Irish” (Notre Dame, 1986-1996) would make comments that seem so anti-immigrant. Many took this as a chance to mock Holtz’s questionable use of English during his days as a commentator, too:
Lou Holtz says he doesn't "want to speak your language," immigrants. LMAO. Here he is on TV speaking … idk what? https://t.co/qs5jXIY2uX
— Sam Laird (@samcmlaird) July 19, 2016
Those aren’t Holtz’s only views, though. Here’s what he had to say about welfare and bumper stickers:
“A lot of people make a living by the way they vote,” Holtz said. “Forty-seven percent of people make a living by the way they vote.”
“They can make a living by the way they vote,” he continued, “but they can’t make a life.”
Holtz also said he has to park his van in the back of his church’s parking lot and back it into a spot there because it sports a bumper sticker that embarrasses his wife. He said the sticker is directed at some of his golf buddies, and reads, “Jesus loves you. Everybody else thinks you’re an asshole.”
Well, those are certainly opinions. It was more fun when we were only talking about Holtz carrying a bottle of Crown Royal around the convention Monday night:
— John R Parkinson (@jparkABC) July 19, 2016
On the bright side, at least Holtz didn’t bring up Hitler this time…