“These days, it’s OK to be a bigot against some people,” muses the Deseret News’ Scott D. Pierce, “and not OK to be a bigot against others.” But enough about Larry Miller, it seems Pierce has a bone to pick with one of the Worldwide Leader’s hoops experts (link taken from Awful Announcing).

ESPN radio commentator Ric Bucher (above, right) brought religion into a discussion of why the EnergySolutions Arena is a tough place to play.

“Let’s be honest. They’re Mormon. And they’re in Salt Lake. And there’s nothing else there,” he said. “You’ve got to smile and be happy all the time. This might be one opportunity for fans to get vicious.”

Let’s leave aside the lame comment about how there’s nothing to do in Utah. That’s been done so many times it’s neither original nor amusing ” let alone accurate. If Bucher had left it at that, nobody would have noticed his comments.

And let’s leave aside how dumb it is to assume that everyone in Utah, let alone everyone in the EnergySolutions Arena, is a member of the LDS Church.

But let’s be honest. If Bucher had been talking about the Knicks and said, “They’re Jews and they’re in New York City”; if Bucher had said, “They’re African-Americans and they’re in Memphis,” he would have been suspended if not fired by now.

Because some forms of bigotry are less acceptable than others.

Bucher has somewhat of a history of weird comments about members of the LDS Church. Years ago, he wrote of Shawn Bradley in ESPN: The Magazine, “I’m not advocating that a Shawn vs. Shaq showdown favors the spindly Mormon.”

Why even use a religious reference at all? Does it have anything to do with basketball?

Would Bucher have written “spindly Jew”? “Spindly Catholic”?