Now that everyone else, except (perhaps) Pope Francis 1, has piled on the National Football League, the Miami Dolphins and Messrs Incognito and Martin (I knew Dean would find a new partner, even in death), leave it to me to find a non-sports take on the situation in this article in The New Republic, that makes me feel awful not just because it's incredibly harsh but more than that it's horribly accurate.
Did I bully my brothers and sisters when we were kids. Yes, and do NOT ask if I still do or I'll ask my attorney to end this interview. Everyone, I say, always did the "I'm bigger and you'd better listen" dance in a family in the apartment house in the neighborhood on the block in the district. It's how we roll over, Beethoven.
I'm not sure why the contention in the article that we do this behavior all over this culture and country (and consequently export it elsewhere like it was a Disney franchise or an MTV channel) unsettles me as much as it does, except that it does.
If I look in the mirror hard enough (my eyes hurt but), I can see a man who has in all likelihood bullied his spouse and children-wait! I'll insist it was for their own good perhaps even suggesting it came from 'a place of love,' but bier ist bier und schnaps ist schnaps and when I look at my right hand, stiff from finger pointing at US professional football, three of the fingers on that hand point back at me. Oh dear.
American professional football is the most violent of sports imaginable, with all due respect to hockey which may be as violent but also requires skill (like being able to stand on skates), with more and more former players being diagnosed with debilitating injuries that could have only occurred through high velocity contact over a prolonged period of time, and I'm supposed to put down my glass of malted beverage from whatever sponsor is bringing me the game (they have big horses or very cold trains or perhaps Coltrane and some horse) and be amazed?
These players are somebody's sons and are ending up in body bags in the short or long haul and all we know how to do is think of them as 'real men' and 'true warriors' on Sundays (and Sunday nights, and Monday nights and Thursday nights; damn! we LOVE us some football don't we?) and all the other cliches we make up to make the lies we tell ourselves sound better.
No wonder we never learn to be better than we are. We're not only terrible students we're even more horrible teachers.