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Plain and Simple for July 31, 2014

SoVaNow.com / July 28, 2014
I admit it. I love football. When I was growing up, we played lots of baseball and watched baseball on TV.

The World Series came on TV during the day and we even stopped having PE on those days so that we could watch the games. What kid would not love that? But my heart was in football. I loved the brutal energy of it. I loved hitting and getting hit. You could take out all of your frustrations and anger in a game and they actually congratulated you for it.

In today’s world, football is king. We have basketball and LeBron makes it interesting every few years when he becomes a free agent. Baseball captures our attention in October. But the ratings for the draft in pro football are almost as high as the games for the big events in the other sports. You know that things are going well for you when pundits for ESPN spend hours during the offseason predicting who you will draft onto your team for the next year.

Luck will eventually run out for football. It may be the high risk of injury that eventually derails the gravy train. Or it may be the totally tone deaf nature of the people who are running the league. Let’s take one case in point—the Ray Rice debacle.

Ray Rice is a running back for the Baltimore Ravens. He was caught in a video dragging his unconscious fiancée from an elevator. He was charged with assault but was eventually diverted into a first offenders program. For this outrage he was given a two game suspension and a fine. This slip in behavior will probably cost him about half a million dollars.

The problem is that his coach, John Harbaugh, has come out and said that he supports Rice who simply made a mistake for which he has paid the price. “It was no big deal. He is one heck of a guy.” Other commentators have even intimated that his fiancée must have done something to provoke him into beating her senseless. To add a little perspective, one should note that receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns will likely be suspended sixteen games for testing positive for marijuana which is legal in some states. Thus, it is eight times worse to smoke weed than to beat a woman unconscious.

If the NFL is to remain king of sports, it will have to be a little more careful with its image. I learned from my father that a real man would never think to hit a woman. I do not think I could bring myself to do it unless my life were in danger. It is hard to imagine that Ray Rice felt threatened on that elevator. To then place some blame on the woman is not acceptable in any way.


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