Sports Night, Ep. 5

Tensions build on the set in episode 5, when Dana (the producer) is willing to succumb to pressure and allow an athlete (who has recently been in the news for domestic abuse) to come onto the program for a featured interview with the program’s anchors, Dan and Casey. The network has been promoting the interview 24/7 for nearly a week.

There is only one problem: to land this top athlete on her floundering network, concessions are made, and the interview will not include any questions regarding what the whole country wants to actually hear about. Casey is furious, and righteous:

Dana: I’m aware of the moral questions posed by this, but I’m also aware that this is a third place show that doesn’t deserve to be. But I can’t educate viewers to that fact, unless they’re watching us in the first place. So, your pedantic scolding aside…These are the guidelines. (exits)
Casey: (to Dan) Hey, do you want to get involved in this?
Dan: I so don’t.
Casey: Didn’t you use to care about these things?
Dan: Yes.
Casey: And it wasn’t that long ago that you did.
Dan: No.
Casey: I mean, it was like, yesterday.
Dan: Right.
Casey: Now, when I say ‘yesterday’ I’m not speaking metaphorically, I mean it was YESTERDAY. What happened to your values?
Dan: I find that maintaining them is a lot of work. I take a day off every now and then.
Casey: You take a vacation from doing the right thing?
Dan: Yeah. I don’t loot store fronts or anything, but once in awhile when I consider the effort it takes to diligently adhere to a moral compass, I take myself out of the lineup and I rest for the next game.

. . . .

I don’t get to take a day off, not in the way that Dan does. Everyday that I go to work, I am obligated to behave justly, with sincerity and genuine empathy, and it can be as exhausting as it can be rewarding. I know that there are others who share my passion and must be more tired than I am after many more years spent swimming against the Cartesian current.

Maintaining your values is hard work, especially when they may be in stark contrast to (and conflict with) the viewpoints of others within your workplace and within your profession. Dan seems to appreciate that…but, undeniably, he has erred.

As tired as I become, I hope to never make the same mistake. He failed to realize that failing to do the right thing is no more desirable than doing the wrong thing itself.

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