Domestic violence is an ever-growing problem and one that affects people in all walks of life and that includes professional athletes who are held to a higher standard than your average Joe and, as such, are expected and required to behave in a way that won’t reflect badly on their profession and whatever league they play for.
Ray Rice, for reasons that have yet to be fully revealed, did something in Atlantic City that has not only brought some shame to him and his wife but has also ruined what was a stellar football career and along with the loss of millions of dollars. By now, almost everyone has heard of or has seen the video of Ray knocking his then-fiancee out in that elevator and only they know (for now) what started the shit in the first place. The NFL admits that when they first heard of this, they only suspended Ray for two games but realized they screwed the pooch; the commissioner was catching all kinds of flak about such a light punishment for what’s considered to be a serious offense and I give him props because he publicly admitted that he screwed up… and then announced the league’s new policy on domestic violence issues, something that’s been plaguing the league – along with the usual substance abuse – for several years now.
Ray Rice, because of the video that was released, was made an example of and deservedly so. This isn’t as much about Ray as it is the image of the NFL, which lags behind the other sports leagues when it comes to zero tolerance for bad behavior by its players on their respective fields of play or off it. I dunno… maybe professional athletes feel or have reason to believe that what they do when they’re not playing is no one’s business… and I think that they forget that even when they’re not playing, they are representatives of their respective organizations, in this case, the NFL and whatever they do off the field that involves any police action reflects badly on the league as a whole and more so when they’ve usually gotten off with mild slaps on the wrist.
Ray isn’t the only player this year to get bitch-slapped by the NFL; several prominent players have been suspended and one other has been suspended for the entire 2014 season… and all because of something they did off the field of play. Ray’s career, according to football pundits, is pretty much over; even if the NFL decided to show him some leniency – and they probably won’t – his age, along with his somewhat poor performance last season, would make him a questionable asset. It’s sad; that one moment, caught on tape, has put an end to what was a brilliant NFL career and has tarnished Ray for the rest of his life.
I read on Facebook where several people are giving Ray’s wife the business for ‘defending’ him and, well, it’s complicated and more so since the exact details of what caused him to knock her out have yet to be released. I myself opined if Ray now thinks that his actions in that elevator were worth it, just as I wondered if it never occurred to him that there are security cameras everywhere in Atlantic City casinos, including the elevators. Sometimes, the price of fame is very, very high and Ray – along with his family now – is paying the price. Now, onto another NFL subject…
My daughter, lovely creature that she is, suggested that I write something about Mike Sam, the football player that came out and admitted that he was gay before the NFL draft got underway. The St. Louis Rams picked him up and, ultimately, released him and one can’t help but think that this guy’s open gayness was part of the reason why he was let go; from what I saw of his play – and you know they were watching him closely in the media – he did pretty good; I didn’t see many plays where he wasn’t involved in and, at least in my opinion, he’d earned a spot on the team… but I guess Jeff Fischer and the rest of the Rams’ braintrust didn’t agree.
The Dallas Cowboys picked him up and put him on their practice squad and, as a knock against my son-in-law – a die-hard Cowboys fan – shit, after the way Dallas’ defense played Sunday, they might want to get Sam off the practice squad and put him in the lineup; he couldn’t possibly play any worse than the starting eleven did when getting their heads handed to them.
When my daughter suggested I say something about this, I was kinda ambivalent about it because, okay, the dude is gay – so what? Anyone who believes that there are no gay or bisexual players in the NFL probably doesn’t understand the whole “we’re a team” thing or how that brotherhood can and has led to some of these powerful men to have sex with each other. I say – and many others do as well – that a player’s sexuality shouldn’t have any bearing on his (or her) ability to play the game and as a fan of the game, that’s all I really care about: Can he play his position? If he can, then what’s the big fucking deal? If I’m a player – and let’s assume that I’m straight (ha, ha) – sure, I kinda don’t care if he – or any of my other teammates – likes dick… as long as he doesn’t bother me with that and, of course, does his job when we’re on the field.
Leave it to the media, however, to turn this molehill into a mountain and, in my opinion, unnecessarily so. That more professional athletes are coming out as gay or bisexual really shouldn’t surprise anyone but I guess because professional athletes are celebrities, the media is duty-bound to make a big deal out of something that a lot of us know has been going on since organized sports began. Indeed, anyone who has played an organized sport probably knows what goes on in the locker room after a game and even why it happen and even more so when discretion mandates that some guys wait until they leave the building to get their freak on with each other. Hell, I know what the deal is – played basketball in high school – so that there are guys who like dick or like it enough to deal with the emotions playing the game can invoke – doesn’t surprise me at all and, as such, an openly gay player in the NFL doesn’t surprise me either.
I commend Sam’s courage to come out; he did this with the knowledge that his announcement could affect his desire to play in the NFL and the league, in trying to be more mainstream and all that, didn’t even bat an eye that a potential draftee was gay… but that’s because they, too, know what the deal is and, besides, it makes them look good in the media to embrace Sam and any other gay or bi player who wants to come out – it has the potential to put asses in the seats in all of the stadiums so, yeah, that’s a good thing – the NFL is all about making their money, after all.
I hope that Dallas gives Sam a chance to play and I know that their owner, Jerry Jones, has instructed everyone to not make this man’s sexuality an issue – or else; given what’s happened to Ray Rice and a few other players so far this young season, I’m pretty sure the team doesn’t want to find out what “or else” means to Jerry or the league at large. I’d even go as far as to say that the straight members of the team won’t have to worry about getting hit upon – Mike Sam is already in a relationship so unless the boy is shady, he’s off the market and unavailable.
Daughter, how did I do with this?
Finally, to end my NFL ranting, my Dolphins kicked New England’s ass right proper Sunday and that can only be a good thing given how sorry they’ve been since Don Shula stopped coaching the team and Dan Marino retired…