by Betty Arenson
Big money is married to a number of things and Major League Baseball and the National Football League are two of the spouses. Considering the recent news coverage of events surrounding these two professional sports entities, shame is as non-existent as is enforcing rules, and common decency.
Breaking rules, breaking laws and acting uncivil all be damned. It’s about let-them-keep playing no matter what and keep the money rolling in.
One would think that the commissioners of these two bodies would be authoritative figures, however their actions present them as mere figureheads; specifically MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The kneeling controversy need not be detailed here; we’ve all seen it. The bigger issue is the NFL’s own rule: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sidelines for the National Anthem.
“During the National Anthem, players on the filed and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag hold helmets in their left hand and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition…
“It should be pointed out to the players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspension, and or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
Goodell refused to act as the responsible leader. Instead he offered: “It is an important moment in our game … the controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”
That’s a bunch of words and no meat.
The no-shame displayed by NFL’s players’/employees’ criminal activities would be detrimental to Average Joe America. The San Diego (team) lists 656 NFL arrests from 2000 to mid-May 2014 … over three years ago.
Michael Vick was imprisoned for running a lucrative dog fighting business. Defenseless little dogs were used as bait for fighter dogs. Dogs were tortured, electrocuted and physically ripped to shreds. Considering the massive abuse for the pure gain of more wealth, Vic lost his pampered lifestyle for 23 months behind bars. No problem, the Philadelphia Eagles were eager to sign him up in 2009 for a $100 million-six-year contract with a guarantee of nearly $40 million.
Adam “Pacman” Jones has reportedly been suspended from the NFL six times but always returns. His list of legal issues includes fighting, assault and selling drugs, but the Bengals are happy having him in spite of each and every new arrest with a (2016) three-year $22 million contract and a $2 million signing fee. He’ll need that to help pay for that $11 million court-ordered judgment to shooting victims arising out of a Las Vegas escapade.
Marshawn Lynch has multiple arrests under his belt including illegal gun charges. He was involved in a hit and run injury to another person and got off with a $100 fine. He presently has a two-year $9 million contract with the Oakland Raiders.
As for common decency, in the third game of the present World Series, Houston Astro player, Yuli Gurriel, a Cuban, made a racist gesture about L.A. Dodgers pitcher, Yo Darvish. Along with that, he spoke the word “chinito,” Spanish for Chinese boy. Aside from the overt racism, Gurriel is doubly ignorant, as Darvish is of Japanese and Iranian descent.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred ordered a five-game, unpaid suspension for Gurriel—next year; not now, with the foul deed. Such a racist act by another person at another time and place would have caused people marching in the streets calling for heads and resignations.
Effective and due punishment would have been immediately removing Gurriel out of the series. Instead, Gurriel will be a tad inconvenienced with resting on the bench and simply enjoying his already-garnered other millions.
All is well and the games will go on.