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Posted by on Nov 3, 2009 in FYI, Inspiration, Links

Meb Keflezighi Is More American Than Darren Rovell

Steven, a listener/reader of mine, sent me THIS LINK this morning via Twitter. As I began to read this mindless drivel, my jaw rapidly fell open at how something so incredibly obtuse could find its way onto what is considered by some to be a reputable news source.

\"mebflag\"Meb and his family fled his birthplace of Eritrea for Italy, eventually coming to the United States in 1989. In 1998, the same year that Meb graduated from UCLA, he became an American citizen. He did this because he was proud of the country that had embraced he and his family.

The United States of America is a country that not only welcomes legal immigration, but celebrates those who become a part of our citizenry. We are a people who ALL came from somewhere else (yes, even Native Americans originally migrated across what is now the Bering Sea). In recent years there has been a great deal of debate over illegal aliens that reside in our country and use our resources. Meb did not do this. He did it the right way. He paid his dues, worked hard to learn the history and background of a country that he had come to know and love.

Nastia Liukin, the gold medalist in the gymnastics all-around in 2008 was born in Moscow and came to the U.S.A. when she was two. Now, does the gymnastic dominance of Russia in the past have anything to do with her performance?

Darren Rovell&#039

;s ridiculous characterization of Meb as a \”ringer\” is part of an argument that has been going on for years, and will likely stop no time soon. However, I will tell you what it meant to me, personally, to watch Meb in the last .2 miles of this past Sunday's New York City Marathon.

I was watching the professional women finish from just past the banner for mile 26. When the pace cars came around the bend in the road and Meb came flying behind, it was so thrilling. As he came closer, he looked so incredibly fluid and fast…and happy. A smile from ear to ear was on his face as he ran through the screaming crowd from all over the world. At this point in a race of this magnitude, you might expect an athlete to be pumping his fist into the air, or drilling the pace to the tape, but not so. Meb was pointing to his singlet which was white with large red letters that said: U.S.A.. It was a moving thing to watch and every time I've watched a replay of it in the past two days, I continue to get chills.

One more thing; in a tweet just sent to me by Scott Burns he reminded me that many of the soldiers in the United States Armed Forces were not born here, but every single day, they not only claim America as their own, but they defend our freedoms, which unfortunately give Darren Rovell the right to be a jackass.

I am proud to call Meb Keflezighi my countryman. I am disgusted to do the same for Darren Rovell, who I would would happily welcome on my show any time to discuss his ineptitude in what it is to be an American.

[Edit: Meb came to the U.S. in October 21, 1987]

[UPDATE: Click HERE to see the link to Darren Rovell's pitiful attempt at a retraction]



  1. Great post, Brandon. I couldn’t agree more with you.

    It is also noteworthy that Meb paid tribute to the late Ryan Shay as he crossed the Finish line. A first class athlete indeed.

  2. This guy (Rovell, not Meb) has GOT to be joking! I kept waiting for the end of his article for him to say “just kidding. I was being ironic to prove a point. Congratulations to Meb!”

    I’m just as frustrated by illegal immigration as anyone, but as you say, Brandon, Meb did everything the right way. So he was born somewhere else. Big deal. He exemplifies what America should be all about, no matter where he was born. As far as I know, he calls himself an American and is proud of it…not an “Eritrean-American” who wants to take advantage of America, while also separating himself from our culture.
    It’s guys like Rovell that give a bad name to us folks who have disdain for the ILLEGAL entrants to this country.

    Congratulations to Meb for an amazing victory, and for proudly representing his country.

  3. Brandon – great response to a disgusting article. Ignorance like that demonstrated by Darren Rovell needs to be called out – thanks for doing it so effectively!

  4. Meb has all of the classiness and extraordinary talent that we could hope for in an AMERICAN athlete. Rovell could learn a lot from him.

  5. To CNBC: I strongly recommend that you place Darren Rovell on leave, awaiting your decision as to whether or not you will fire him. He comment regarding Meb Keflezighi is explicitly racist and it has no place in your format.



    • Editors note: While I do think Darren Rovell’s article(s) are decidedly ignorant, irresponsible and un-researched, I do not believe that they are racist.

  6. Thank you so much for taking up the mantle on this. This guy (Rovell) is a jerk and the running community needed to know what a moron this guy was. Your input has served the running community well.

    Running the Straight and Narrow,

  7. Meb’s win was one of the greatest and proudest moments that we as American running fans have been able to witness in the recent history. He could run in any run-of-the-mill sponsor singlet, but he chooses to show the world how he feels about his country and his citizenship. His NYC victory was an incredible athletic feat following a long road recovering from a stress fracture in the hip just two years ago, and I can’t think of a better melting pot of a city for a United States citizen by choice to win.

    Meb is more American in his little finger than Darren Rovell could ever hope to be in his lifetime.


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