I knew I had inadvertently walked right into a mound of BS the moment I turned on ESPN and heard some marble mouthed ex-jock posing as a broadcaster utter the phrase “this is a problem in society as a whole…” Oh dear Lord, the carnival barkers on the sports entertainment network are venturing into philosophy again. And what momentous event has prompted athletes and football announcers to pontificate about the nature and causes of complex cultural woes? I knew it had to be something important. Boy was I right: Apparently, the backup tight end for the Eagles got drunk at a Kenny Chesney concert and used the “N-word.”
On any given evening there are literally hundreds of thousands of drunken Philadelphians saying and doing any manner of vulgar and unseemly things, but just this one such incident must be discussed, dissected and debated for at least the next two weeks. Someone get Obama to chime in on the offensive language of a second string pass catching tight end from the Eagles. The economy can wait, we’ve got a crisis over here.
This Riley Cooper guy has now been fined and will probably be cut from the team at some point. Various commentators and NFL players, not to mention Michael Vick’s brother, have openly salivated about watching opposing defenses spend the next several months intentionally trying to break his knees or cause him a serious spinal cord injury. In other words, we’re going down the familiar checklist whenever something like this happens: Permanently ostracize him from society? Check. Hurt him financially? Check. Threaten to/actually hurt him physically? Check. Yeah, that’ll teach people from one particular race not to say one particular word that offends one particular other race.
Justice is served.
Damn it, I was supposed to be taking the week off from ranting about the news, but I can’t help myself. I’m at my wit’s end with this sort of ridiculous faux-outrage. Personally, I don’t know anything about Riley Cooper. I didn’t even know his name until a few hours ago. Maybe he’s a complete jackass and a total jerk. I haven’t analyzed his biography and poured through his past to come to an overall conclusion about Riley Cooper the man. Nor do I care to. But I do know that on the spectrum of “Bad Things That NFL Players Do,” this doesn’t even register in the top 1000. Nobody has any business worrying about how to stop athletes from saying nasty words until we’ve fully investigated all the ways to stop them from beating women and killing people.
By my count, of the more than 40 NFL players arrested since the beginning of the year, at least 9 of them were charged with murder, attempted murder, assault, domestic abuse and/or child abuse. And of the ones that still get to play this season, precisely none of them will be targeted by opposing teams, nor will they likely even catch any flak in the locker room. Aaron Hernandez (speaking of misbehaving tight ends) allegedly slaughtered 3 guys, but that didn’t stop a couple of his fellow players from posing for photos in their “Free Hernandez” hats. You’d be hard pressed to find a professional football roster that isn’t chocked full of dead beat dads and thugs with lengthy rap sheets. It’s funny that Marcus Vick is so offended by a little salty language, considering his brother tormented and murdered puppies for fun. You know what’s even funnier? Vick’s dog torture chamber was excused by many players and media members as a “cultural thing.” Evidently you can be a bloodthirsty animal abusing sadist and still pull the culture card, but God forbid you try that move to rationalize a poor choice of words.
Imagine a man drowning in the middle of the ocean. A guy happens by in a boat and shouts a relatively unnecessary question. “Do you need some help?!” To which the panicked man responds, “Thank God! Yes! Could you toss me some Clearasil? I’m gettin’ a hell of a zit on my forehead.” That’s what we are doing in this society. We’re floundering in a sea of death and decline, yet we spend all of our time worrying about cosmetic, surface level superficialities.
I don’t actually believe that any human being in this country is really capable of getting sincerely upset about the politically incorrect words of an athlete or celebrity. It’s just hard for me to take a person seriously when they spend all of their time being a shameless vulgar hedonist, and then all of the sudden turn into a Puritan with virgin ears when some website digs up cell phone footage of some dude shouting racial slurs at a Kenny Chesney show. But if that sort of person really does exist, he needs to get his priorities straight.
Everyone should cut the crap.