Empower Wisconsin | May 6, 2020
MADISON — Isn’t it nice to know that famous Wisconsin coaches and former athletes are on your side — If you support Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide lockdown?
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has released a 30-second video promoting Evers’ Badger Bounce Back plan, the Democrat’s glacially slow initiative to re-open Wisconsin.
DHS tapped former University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and NBA basketball star Terry Porter, Badgers Men’s basketball coach Greg Gard, and Badgers men’s Hockey coach Tony Granato, among others, to remind you that, “We’re all in this together.”
Except, we’re really not. There are thousands of businesses shut down, hundreds of thousands of displaced workers, and a whole lot of frustrated people who may not find this taxpayer-funded video of sports celebrities so reassuring.
You’ll forgive those who have yet to get through to Evers’ Department of Workforce Development’s overmatched unemployment claims service center for not being moved by Gard’s video selfie clip reminding us to all be like him and “keep social distancing as part of our daily routine.” It’s hard for most to feel simpatico with a college basketball coach pocketing $2.45 million a year.
You’ve cheered them on. Now they're cheering for you for staying #SaferAtHome to #SlowTheSpread of #COVID19_WI. Thank you @terryporter30, @GregGard, Casey FitzRandolph, @TonyGranato & @MattLepay. And thanks to you for your help w/#BadgerBounceBack to get our state moving again. pic.twitter.com/cteuK2Leu9
— WIDeptHealthServices (@DHSWI) May 2, 2020
A tweet from DHS declares, “You’ve cheered them on. Now they’re cheering for you for staying #SaferAtHome,” a reference to Evers’ lockdown order that has devastated Wisconsin’s economy and trampled on civil liberties. DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm extended the lockdown until at least May 26, but she added thresholds on coronavirus cases that would likely extend the stay-at-home order beyond that. The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionally of the emergency edict.
Justin Doherty, UW’s senior associate athletic director for external relations, says the coaches volunteered for the promo. DHS spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said the video “didn’t cost anything.”
“The video subjects were not compensated. They volunteered their time and shot their own videos on the cell phones,” she wrote in an email to Empower Wisconsin.
Olympic gold medalist in speedskating, Casey FitzRandolph, and Matt Lepay, radio broadcast voice of the Badgers, also appear in the video.
Still, taxpayer money, either in staff time or in production costs, had to go into the making of the DHS promotion — a public relations tool to support an Evers administration policy that isn’t sitting well with a lot of hurting Wisconsinites.
It reminds us of the hilarious video, Thanks, Celebrities, from Australian comedian Greta Lee Jackson, because nothing says tone deaf like highly paid celebrities telling us, “We’re all in this together.”