The Times Union ran an article today on Assemblyman Bob Reilly's fight to keep MMA from becoming "legalized" in the state of New York. The juicy bits:
the soft-spoken Democratic lawmaker from Colonie, best known for giving his legislative salary to charity, remains a major impediment to the mixed martial arts industry's intense lobbying to get it legalized in New York state.
Reilly's impassioned remarks in opposition of the sport in a session of the Assembly's Committee on Tourism, Art and Sports Development last spring derailed the legislation, at least temporarily. Reilly said most constituents who have weighed in oppose it.
"I consider it brutal and savage. The lobbying and money behind it has gotten so intense since then that I feel like David against Goliath," Reilly said. "But I won't succumb to pressure."
Reilly railed against the caged battles once dubbed "human cockfighting." His fellow committee members, some of whom had little knowledge of the sport, voted against reporting out a bill that would have paved the way for making it legal in New York. It is currently sanctioned in 36 states.
"I'll express ignorance of this sport, but after Bob described what a vicious sport it was, it was voted down by everybody on the committee," said Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Niagara Falls. She's one of 20 members on the committee chaired by Steven Englebright, a Democrat from Suffolk County.
The last quote from DelMonte is the one that bothers me the most. The idea that people in charge of making decisions of this nature admit to being ignorant of the sport but then allow a single very biased opinion to sway them is irresponsible at best. The truth is, if you are unaware of the facts you need to get facts and not rely on one person's version of the truth to be the only information you take in.
I seriously doubt that any other situation could come up where a single opinion could be expressed and Assemblymen and women would say "well...that's all I need to hear. I'm convinced!" It's like going on trial and after the opening argument from the prosecution the judge turning to the defendant and saying "Well, you're obviously guilty because that guy says so."
Guys like Reilly take the hard and fast stance that this is about keeping a moral perspective rather than just go after easy money. The truth is that an honest moral and ethical decision is one made based on knowledge and facts from both sides of the issue.