As a matter of general philosophy, though, the National Football League is the last bastion of fascism in America. - The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson
Its no secret to those who have read past posts on the "Basic Blogger", that the author is a recovering fan of the National Football League. It's indifference to he bullying scandal in Miami, retaining the racist moniker of a team representing our national capital, and the tragedy of football related dementia amongst many former NFL legends began the process of withdrawal. The reaction of many in the league to the prospect of an openly gay player joining their ranks, makes one wonder if caring about our national pastime is on the same moral level as voting for Vladimir Putin's re-election.
Amongst the storm of stories about Michael Sam's revelation, the most heavily critiqued was the the story in this weeks Sports Illustrated. The comments within were those of several NFL front office types, who honestly stated (anonymously of course) the objective truth that the vast majority would not want to deal with the media coverage and the disruption of that special locker room culture of gay and racist slurs that the unfortunate Richie Incognito reminded us of (again) this week. The blogs may explode with fury against SI for publishing the comments, but it would be hard to deny the transcendent window into the leagues soul. My personal favorite was this gem,
"I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down," said a veteran NFL scout. "There's no question about it. It's human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote 'break that barrier?'"
For those of us who read passionately about the game's history, its interesting to see how many aspects of football remain mired in the America that existed before the Civil Rights Years. Or how things may have regressed from the glory years. Vince Lombardi had a gay brother, and Bill Walsh had a son die from AIDS. It's doubtful either would have discriminated against Michael Sam anyway. Perhaps the most crushing thing one can say about the state of the NFL today, is that one must wonder if there is an owner or coach willing to give Mr. Sam anything approaching a fair shot for the same reason Tim Tebow is out of the game. Politics of a different stripe for certain, but politics just the same.
In the years I lived in Dallas, I never was a huge fan of WFAA's Dale Hansen, or any boosterism for the local teams. But Hansen shows great courage in speaking truth to power, and his comments about the NFL this week is on a par with his reporting about the legendarily corrupt SMU football program. Here's a sample of his comments as noted in the Dallas News....
“Several NFL officials are telling Sports Illustrated it will hurt him on draft day because a gay player wouldn't be welcome in an NFL locker room. It would be uncomfortable, because that's a man's world.
“You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome.
“Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome.
“Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that."
“You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!
“It wasn't that long ago when we were being told that black players couldn't play in 'our' games because it would be 'uncomfortable.' ”
There's nothing more to add really.
MANY BLESSINGS - NOEL
FROM THE DALLAS NEWS
THE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED STORY