Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NFL=No Felon Left-Behind

The team with the famous former quarterback who has been fined for sending naked photos to women who were fired for reporting this defeated the team whose famous current quarterback was accused of sexual assault before the season began. Of course, the team with the famous former quarterback who has been fined for sending naked photos to women who were fired for reporting this had to first defeat the team whose current quarterback spent time in prison for dog fighting. That was the same team whose coach’s sons were accused of operating a drug ring out of the man’s living room without his knowledge, of course. The team whose famous current quarterback was accused of sexual assault before the season began defeated the team whose famous linebacker was accused of murder a while back.
            A local catholic priest once made the assertion the rate of priests being convicted for child molestation was actually lower than that of the general population, and this is true if you look strictly at the facts. But this does not take into account the number of cases being settled by the church to avoid an even bigger scandal, and it does not take into account those who have been hidden for years, sometimes decades by the church, just to keep priests in circulation. The National Football League will overlook any offense as long as a player can win. They believe, and apparently they are mostly correct, the fans will overlook any offense, as long as the team wins.
            The reason the National Football League can get away with this is the same reason the Catholic Church can get away with what they do; money and a loyal fan base. Despite the incredible immorality of those in the system, the hierarchy can sell the whole organization as somewhat wholesome because they have the money to buy off anyone who might bring negative attention to the criminal activity of those the public interact with on a regular basis. The famous quarterback accused of rape was in a tiny dive bar in middle Georgia for reasons that defy explanation. Why would someone who is a multi-millionaire be slumming with drunken rednecks in an establishment most of us wouldn’t be caught dead in? Yet after the accusation the local police escorted the accused out of Georgia like he was a visiting head of state. A police officer on the scene referred to the woman who made the accusation as “some drunk slut running her mouth” and was recorded as saying, “we have to get Ben out of here.” Ben was indeed ushered out of the state, refused any and all cooperation with the half hearted investigation, and the whole thing was swept under the rug in a matter of weeks. The player in question proclaimed his innocence, yet accepted a four game suspension without comment. Hmmm, he didn’t do anything illegal, was innocent, but suspended for four games and then at the end of it all, played in the Super Bowl, again. The police officer, who posed with a photo opt with the accused before escorting him out of the state, replete with flashing lights and sirens screaming, was fired. Months later, he was very quietly hired by a private security firm, and has lived happily ever after. The “drunk slut” disappeared off the radar completely. I am willing to bet you she is also living happily ever after a settlement that would make the pope blush. Part of that settlement is very likely much like the one the victim in the Kobe Bryant case received that had a gag order in it. They will make you rich as long as you remain silent over what might have happened.
            I have heard the argument there are women who will make such a claim just to be offered the money to stop making the claim, and there is little doubt there is truth in this. Yet what does it say about a man, or an organization, where such a claim is immediately believed? What does it say about a man who has placed himself in the position to have to explain why he was in a certain place with a certain woman under circumstances that do not imply innocence? This isn’t to say that just because you are a millionaire several times over you can’t hang out in a dive bar in middle Georgia with a bunch of drunks, but there are some very compelling reasons not to do this. If you are a millionaire several times over there are some very compelling reasons not to hang out with people with a history of dog fighting and other criminal behavior, but where else is there to play football but the NFL?
            Yesterday was the first Super Bowl I did not watch in decades. I have always bet on the game, usually won, and always had some sort of social activity planned around the game. I have always been a loyal fan of the game itself, of football, the game I played when I was a kid, and a young man, and I understand the game at a depth that astonishes many people. Yet the purpose of the National Football League is to sell merchandise, to sell television commercials, to sell the concept to people that if their team wins then their lives are somehow enriched by this, no matter how much money the tickets and other stuff might cost them. Once, it was a few bucks here and there, for tickets, for a hotdog, for a team jersey, and for the trip that was an experience between fans, a father and son, perhaps, or a group of people just out to have fun. Now it is different. Now it is a high priced affair not easily afforded by the common fan. Now we’re not buying stuff but we’re buying into the idea that winning erases rape. Winning erases cruelty. Winning erases anything and everything and to be a fan of this is to stand under the umbrella of winning which protects us from the heavy burden of being responsible for who we are after those two hours on Sunday, be it in a stadium or a church.

Take Care,

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