2014-09-11 – I never thought football was much of an action sport like basketball or soccer. To me it’s more of a martial art, like boxing or wrestling. It’s all about hitting. The movement of the ball is almost incidental—kinda like moving the peg in a game of cribbage. A way to keep score, but not the essence of the game. If it were a running sport, there would be more than an average of 11 minutes of running per game (according to the Wall Street Journal). What would the players do if they had to run the whole game?
As one of my least favorite pundits, George Will, said, in a rare moment of clarity: “Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”
These guys get paid for hitting, so it’s no surprise that they regularly get busted for hitting off the field. Ray Rice is just the latest case to hit the news, but he’s far from the only one. Lots have been caught. Lots haven’t.
Make no mistake. I have no sympathy for Ray Rice. I don’t like what he did to his girlfriend (now wife). I don’t like the organization that he works for. The sport may be great as a weekend pastime in a neighborhood park, but at the pro level, it’s not so great.
So the NFL has now punished Rice twice. First it was a two-game suspension. Now it is for life. I suppose they think that by hammering Rice hard they can close the book on domestic abuse by NFL players and move on to the next scandal. The action was cynical and done with zero regard for Rice’s wife.
Lots of people have said this. But I want to take this in a new direction.
What I find interesting is how bad folk get dumped in professional sports. If you are an employee like Ray Rice, they terminate your contract and you are out. If you are an owner of a sports team, like LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, they offer you a couple billion dollars to walk away.
Ray Rice wasn’t the only one to behave badly here. What will it take to make NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell go away? He’s an employee, too. American Football is a martial art. There’s a big difference between how generals and the troops are treated.
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