Thursday, December 06, 2018

Just Don't

It's an interesting thing, this American football. In so many ways, it is a mirror that can be held up to reflect so many of the best qualities of this land of ours. The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat. The run-pass option. Maybe it's the ground acquisition element of the game. It's like war. Or real estate. We love a hero. And we love to see a hero fall.
Over the next few weeks, the National Football League is promoting itself by allowing its players to wear shoes that reflect their beliefs. Causes such as underprivileged youth, safer schools, breast cancer awareness and the SPCA are featured on cleats worn by players across the league. And when the television cameras zoom in on their feet, as they sometimes do, there is a moment when that choice is visible to the worldwide audience. One player, Demariyus Thomas of the Houston Texans, chose to use his feet to bring attention to the problem of domestic violence.
An interesting choice, given the past couple of weeks in the world of professional football. Star running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kareem Hunt is no longer the star running back with the Kansas City Chiefs because the Kansas City Chiefs let him go. They let him go because of a video that surfaced showing him shoving and kicking a woman in the hallway of his Cleveland residence. The video was taken last February, and it was only after those civic-minded folks at TMZ decided to publish it last Friday. Mister Hunt did not disclose any of the details of the event to his employers, nor did he have contact with any law enforcement. If you're a fan of the game, you might remember former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's elevator incident back in 2014 during which he punched his then fiance in the face. TMZ was there again to make sure the world saw that ugly scene.
And if it sounds like I am in any way ambivalent about any of this behavior, I am not. The whole thing stinks from top to bottom. The idea that we need tabloid journalists to help find our conscience in these matters troubles me. For his part, Kareem Hunt understands that his time in the sun may be setting. It would be amazing if this was the object lesson that let everyone know once and for all that no matter how mighty or talented, it is a long way down from the top. Or the middle.

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