Why We Can’t Let This Jim Rome Thing Slide


It was just one tweet. But it soon became the tweet heard ’round the band world.

jim rome screenshot

As the day progressed, the tweet—and the outrage it inspired from band geeks everywhere—picked up steam. #RomeIsBurning, Twitter proclaimed!

When I read it, my first thought was, “What a jerk.” But I didn’t think one tweet written by an ignorant jagoff (as they say here in Pittsburgh) was worth my energy. Lots of ignorant people say stupid things on the internet all day, every day.

But I saw the reaction to the tweet grow. Clearly, it struck a nerve. The timing made sense. The bowl games that day brought out the football fans—AND the band fans.

I’d venture to say that most band geeks have faced comments such as this one at some point. Repeatedly.

When I was in college marching band, we’d get taunted so often at marching band rehearsals by idiots in passing cars that our director taught us to shake our angry fists and say,

“You’ll work for US someday!”

The fact that CBS Sports’ Jim Rome had unapologetically put it out there on social media for all the world to see simply galvanized the marching arts community.

Before long, bandos had taken to the streets in a virtual #MarchOnRome.















Here’s the thing, though.

A lot of people agree with Jim Rome.

jim rome screenshot rt fav

Four hours later, the tweet had nearly 1,000 retweets and favorites. Jim Rome became a trending topic on Facebook and Twitter.

Judging from the way music education programs are funded, too many people are as woefully (if not willfully) ignorant as Mr. Rome was. Too many naive community members vote down funding referenda. Too many oblivious school board members and legislators hold the purse strings or make the decisions on scheduling and testing.

Imagine if a fraction of that passion was directed at those in our own communities who just don’t “get” music education. One relentlessly positive  letter, addressed to your local school board and cc’d to your local newspaper, city council, state and federal senators and representatives, would be a wonderful start.

We could tell them that “Adolescents with music training have better cognitive skills & are more conscientious, open and ambitious.” 

And that students who studied music have “higher grades, higher test scores, better attendance records and higher rates of community engagement than other students.”

In fact, they should also know:

  • With music in schools, students connect to each other better: greater camaraderie, fewer fights, less racism and reduced use of hurtful sarcasm. (Eric Jensen, Arts With the Brain in Mind, 2001)
  • Students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among any group in our society. (H. Con. Res. 266, United States Senate, June 13, 2000)
  • Nine out of ten adults and teenagers who play instruments agree that music making brings the family closer together. (Music Making and Our Schools, American Music Conference, 2000)

There are so many benefits to a quality music education. 

As always, this too shall pass. Mr. Rome has issued an apology. The firestorm is abating.

But don’t put down your torch and pitchfork just yet. We’re just getting started. 

jim rome

Don’t miss Brian Wis’ take on the situation. John Gardner also did a great roundup here.

4 thoughts on “Why We Can’t Let This Jim Rome Thing Slide

  1. Maria Dripps-Paulson

    So SO well said, Kathleen! I am NOT inclined to forgive him any time soon. His bosses could easily have made him apologize. Also, I didn’t feel bullied, I felt disrespected. I have learned that you can’t always make people understand with great argument and intelligent proof. My only wish for him is that his children become musicians …

  2. 13BURRN

    Jim Rome is nothing more than an arrogant, petulant child; a fratboy who refuses to grow up & move on from college, as thousands do each & every year, knowing it’s time to leave boyhood behind and now move on to manhood.

    Rome was is and always will be a punk bully, way too “cool” for his own good.


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