Monday, March 12, 2012
The story is only a week old, and the NFL effective buried the lead by announcing the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal the same week star quarterback Peyton Manning became a free agent.
Perhaps, if you are not a sports fan you have not heard about the story. According to the NFL, the Saints had an organized bounty program to reward players for knocking opposing teams' players physically out of the game, cash bonuses for incapacitating them via injury.
The hue and cry about this discovery from the talking heads in the media, especially at ESPN1, has been ludicrous.
Our view, "What a bunchy of smarmy politically correct nonsense!"
The Clarion Content has no love for retired quarterback, and noted publicity hound, Brett Favre, but we think he got it right in this case. Favre said essentially, bounties or no bounties, it is a tough guy's league and people are basically trying to knock you out of the game on every play.
We at the Clarion Content cannot stand all the sanctimonious carping of the media mavens, like Dan Patrick, about how awful, how wrong, how devious these bounties the Saints put out on opposition players were.
Pul-leeze. The same folks who have been moaning about the NFL turning into flag football are suddenly horrified by bounties?? The same folks who were running weekly segments called "Jacked up!" and laughing their butts off at huge de-cleating hits are now disturbed by bounties??
Uh, huh, what?
It comes as a shock to you folks that the defenses were trying to knock quarterbacks and other star players out of the game? Really? That's a surprise?
Or it was the part where they were getting paid extra for it that bothered you morons?
Isn't that what their salary was for to begin with? NFL defensive players are performing a glorified version of the little kids' game, "Kill the Guy," week in and week out. Now somehow, because there are bonuses ponied up by the players involved its amoral?
What a crock!
Forgive the harsh language, but it is the same bullshit we see across a litany of other capitalist contexts. Whatever egregious violation of human rights or environmental degradation is being wrought, so long as it keeps costs down and it is largely behind closed doors or unreported, the mass of morons, will casually bury their heads in the sand and deny it is even happening. What Walmart/Nike/MNC X is paying little kids pennies a day in Asia to make our toys/clothes/crap? Eyes shut tight, head buried in sand, "No they aren't. No they aren't."
Undeniable mass media exposure brings said scandal to light, and the tune changes to "Oh wait, they are. Dang. Somebody needs to do something about that. Now! That's terrible."2
The standard political correct operating procedures see sanctimony rear its ugly head, and those caught out blantantly being abusive are punished, but real systemic change is never considered.3
In this case, sports is once again a microcosm of society. The reality is football is a hyper-violent sport. Kids are paralyzed and permanently injured playing the game every year. High school and college players sustain thousands of concussions annually, for a shot to make it into a pro league where the minimum annual salary is nearly $400 grand a year. Sudden traumatic death and/or disabling injury is an obstacle, but no kid ever thinks it is going to happen to them. Many serious injuries happen on otherwise seemingly innocuous plays.
Fans cheer the big hits. Violence sells.4
Pro football is a multi-billion dollar sport, and they play to win the game. To foolishly single out the New Orleans Saints, to pretend that their deliberate attempts to injure opponents are somehow unique is beyond ludicrous, it is civil hypocrisy of the most society annihilating sort. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Don't blame the player, change the game. Or accept that Americans are getting what we pay for, a brutal violent contest between highly compensated young athletes.
1One of the leading practitioners of yellow journalism today.
2A similar example: Joseph Kony has been running the LRA conscripting child soldiers and committing a litany of heinous crimes for more than twenty-five years, only now when the visual evidence is positively shoved down their proverbial throats are the masses reacting. During the reign of King George the II, more than 5 million people died from civil war in the Congo, there was no hullabaloo. No call for intervention, Americans, en masse, ignored the tragedy.
3This is why most American's are fine with the United States intervening in Libya and equally fine with the United States ignoring the wholesale slaughter in Syria. It is the left to the morally stolid, the John McCain's, Ron Paul's, Dennis Kucinich's, Noam Chomsky's of the world to point out the blatant hypocrisy. Alcohol related hazing is treated the same way. 1) Deny it. 2) Over-punish the individuals involved when tragedy occurs as it inevitably will periodically. 3) Ignore the system until it happens again in such a way that the horror is an unavoidable spectacle.
4Why do you think Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) took off just when they started trying to limit the violence in boxing? Why did NASCAR, for all its attempts to run and hide from its roots, suddenly bring back the "Rubbing is racing" mantra when attendance and ratings figures started to fall off a cliff? In America, violence sells.
Love ya, but how do you analogize bounties and steroids? Simply because both are considered cheating?
Opposition to steroids in baseball; full disclosure the Clarion Content is opposed to performance enhancing drugs, is more analogous to being opposed to allowing players to return to a football game after sustaining concussions. (We are opposed to that, too.)
Bounties: that other players are trying to hurt you is an acknowledged element of football from high school onward. Baseball has legislated away that stuff in high school, no more home plate collisions, they are an automatic ejection. No more hard slides spikes up to break up the double play at second.
In the professional ranks those plays are still legal because minimum salary baseball players make 10 times what a veteran teacher makes. Risk of injury is accepted along with the compensation level.
IN THE IMMORTAL WORD OF RAY NITSCHKE:
Success has a high price. Not many of us are willing to pay for it. Even fewer of us are fortunate enough to set a goal, steel ourselves to the task and carry it through. I'm prepared to win - whatever it takes."
We are saying people all over the world are consistently doing sh*tty stuff as a by-product of a capitalist system that pits us against each other.
We do things to our fellow humans over and over that we would never want done to ourselves, violating the Golden Rule.
Football players would not want other football players to deliberately attempt to injure them and threaten their livelihood. Yet the practice persists.
The monetary rewards. Players are bribed to sacrifice their bodies and eventually their very lives for the enjoyment of the masses, in a system propped up by Geico commercials (advertising).
As a society we ignore these egregious violations of human rights and human dignity day after day until confronted with a specific concrete well-sourced example, usually raised by a whistleblower.
Usually the whistleblower and the individual example are crucified, excoriated by the media and the obedient masses.
It is a panacea. The system continues unchanged and unchecked.
Read about another example here.
Remember Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution?
No surprise if you don't. He told us what we were feeding American school children, barely animal feed worthy in many cases. Told us how it was causing the obesity epidemic and a variety of concomitant health problems.
He was blithely ignored by the masses and the mainstream media. It was cheaper to stick with the status quo school lunch programs.
This week the same media and the masses are professing shock that the US Department of Agriculture buys 7 million pounds annually of a meat by-product one of its own inspectors calls, "Pink Slime."
Pink slime is an ammonia treated meat filler made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts. The bits are heated and spun to remove most of the fat then compressed into blocks for use in ground beef.
Is systemic change for school lunch programs coming as a result of the hysterical hue and cry over pink slime?
We think not.
But the company that makes it, the example to be singled out and punished, they have had to close three plants for sixty days and layoff more than 200 workers.
This is what we were talking about with bounties.