The latest brouhaha about professional football players beating up their little wimmen has me shocked, shocked! that such a thing could take place in modern-day America, Home of the Depraved. But before I go on about why black football multimillionaires don’t get enough violence on the playing field but have to bring it home with them, a word about head trauma.
When I was a kid fresh from Europe in lower school at Lawrenceville in 1949, I was given some pads and a helmet and told to tackle the one carrying the ball. Tackle low, tackle clean was the order of the day. The only concussion I ever got after six years of prep school was when I fell backward from a dorm stoop while dead drunk on the last day of my last year. Mind you, everyone back then tackled low and clean, the head-butt tackle having been made popular much later by players coming into the pros from great places of higher learning like Florida State and Miami U.
I recently watched a documentary on the New York Giants, circa 1956. The names are now forgotten, but Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Arnie Weinmeister, Frank Gifford, Charlie Connerly, and Kyle Rote are Hall of Famers, as are Roosevelt Brown and Rosie Greer, two black players who in the film were as articulate as they were fierce-but-clean on the field. I suspect both Roosevelts came from two-parent families, as was customary back then. Which brings me to the point of this column: The NFL today is made up largely of African-American young men whose fathers went missing somewhere along the way. It is a microcosm of the black American family, and the NFL kerfuffle is no different. It is a sad indictment of American life that young black males have a better chance of ending up in prison than at university or with a job. The violent acts committed by NFL players against women and children are no different from the violence across America in black households, with the exception that football players are millionaires, and the others are on welfare. American black leaders, needless to say, don’t want to know. A black kid with a book is acting white, according to the race hustlers, and criticizing black violence is blaming the victim. As Charles Barkley said while defending Adrian Peterson, who beat his four-year-old bloody with a switch, “every black parent in the South is going to be in jail.”
A wise black man once said, “If our people studied calculus like we studied basketball, we’d be running MIT.” Yes, that’s true, but it takes a father to make a kid become interested in calculus, not a mother on drugs who had the kid at 15 and has had six more children while he was growing up on the street. The NFL is worth ten billion dollars in annual revenue, and what it sells is violence, however controlled. It is no different from the rest of the entertainment industry that sells us blood and gore nonstop, except that it’s for real, without the ketchup. College football does not exactly lag behind the pros where domestic violence is concerned. Jameis (sic) Winston won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman last year at FSU—a bit like Oxford with palm trees instead of dreaming spires—while the voting committee knew that he had allegedly raped a fellow student. The list is much too long, but among the stars are Ray Rice, who infamously knocked out his fiancée in an elevator; San Francisco’s Ray McDonald, who assaulted and injured his pregnant girlfriend; Brandon Marshall of the Bears, about whom there have been roughly a dozen police reports regarding allegations that he beat up women, and of course Panther Greg Hardy, who assaulted his girlfriend and threatened her with death.
The league’s recent admission that 30 percent of players will suffer from accelerated cognitive impairment is as damning as it is hypocritical. All it has to do is change the rules. Go head hunting, and you’re out for the season. Do it again, and you’re out, period. But that would change the game of football as it is today. Going back to the 1956 Giants documentary, I was impressed at how articulate all the interviewed players were. And they lasted far longer in the league than some of the clowns playing today. Or look at Mike Ditka, among the greatest ever, a man who took more shots than a drunk takes in a year. He’s old and stiff, but bright and unslurring as they come. That’s because back then the game was played under gentlemen’s rules, not the thuggish warfare that it has become today.
The cheerleaders of the TV networks, of course, will never admit that the game is out of control and that thugs rule. We now even have a Muslim praying to Allah after scoring a touchdown. What is next? A Halal Mary, or a Sharia Pass? An estimated 64 percent of black American teenage girls will become pregnant. The newborns will never know their fathers. Why pick on a few NFL stars for doing what comes naturally—hitting out?
[By Uploaded on flickr.com by user “krisandapril” [CC-BY-2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]