Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Nerd’s Eye View on the Ray Rice Scandal

At the outset, let me reiterate – this site is run by a nerd.   In other words, I don’t know much about sports.  So if I say something wrong about football, give me a break, OK?  (By the way, how many tackles are in a home run anyway?)

In the wake of TMZ releasing footage of Ray Rice punching his then fiance (now wife), people are rightly angry at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.  They want to know what did he know and when did he know it.  Did he see this video when he approved a deal earlier this year that only suspended Rice for two games?  Shouldn’t Rice have been kicked out earlier anyway since there was, at the time, video available that showed him dragging her limp body out of the elevator, and could it not have been surmised, without the footage that made the incident even more “real,” that if a guy is dragging a woman out of an elevator, he must have done something bad?

I think it is great that people are upset.  My only question – what took you all so long?

Ray Rice isn’t the first football player to ever abuse a significant other. He isn’t even the first football player to be accused of committing a crime.   He’s just the first one to do it in front of a camera, thus providing shocking footage that the media can show over and over again.  Other football player scandals seem to come, go, and be forgotten.  Apparently, video tape is required to make a scandal stick.

People like Rice dishonor the game – a game I know nothing about, but hey a lot of other people do so there must be something good about it.  For every Ray Rice out there, there are probably a hundred undiscovered players who would a) love a chance at the big time and b) not do anything to embarrass/dishonor the NFL if asked to join a team.

Whether it’s Plaxico Burress tucking a gun in his pants or Ray Rice punching his girlfriend, there are just too many replacements available for the NFL to have to worry about dodging and deflecting scandals.  Obviously I don’t know what goes through the mind of the people who run the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens.  I doubt that any of them thought something as sinister as “Hey, no problem Ray, she deserved it after all!”  Rather, I assume they spent more time worrying about losing games due to the loss of a star player, fans getting angry over lost games, lost profits, etc.  Unfortunately for the NFL honchos, this was a situation where morality should have come above winning games and profits.

To keep these scandals from going out of control in the future, the NFL should just make a rule – If a player is charged with committing a felony, he gets suspended.  If, after his trial, he is not acquitted, then he’s fired completely, never to return to the NFL.  Such a rule will give the players clear guidance – if you screw up, there’s no damage control, there’s no hold a press conference and make your battered wife vouch for you, there’s no lackluster apologies – you’re simply out, your football career is over, and that’s it.  It gives the NFL guidance as well – fans are angry you cut a star player?  Tough luck, your hands are tied, the rule requires you to do it.

Notice I said the player has to be acquitted – none of these hire a great lawyer and get the case postponed forever deals where you promise to get counseling and take a class about how to not beat on women.

My opinion, such a rule would put NFL/TEAM leaders, and players alike, on notice.  At the end of the day, the player that screws up should be the one that takes the blame, and others shouldn’t be sucked into it.  It would be great if the NFL was strong enough to not get sucked into a player’s stupidity on its own, but apparently it is not.

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The Poet’s Battle – “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”

If you caught the Every Simpsons Ever Marathon on FXX, you might have seen the episode where Grandpa Simpson laments that “Death Stalks You at Every Turn.”   He then mistakes everyone from Maggie to the family dog for being the Grim Specter of Death.

It is something I try my best to not think about, but the sad reality of life is that it is limited.  If life went on forever, people would probably be a lot happier.  Haven’t accomplished your dreams yet?  Don’t worry, you have unlimited time.  Except, the truth is, you really don’t.  The epic struggle of chasing your dreams vs. finding any job that will pay the bills so you can survive is something we all face and can often lead to regrets at the end of life when the latter inevitably wins out.

Several years ago, I was the caretaker of a dying parent.  The experience left me with a negative view of our hospital system.  Once they declare an old person to be a goner, doctors tend to act like you’re wasting their time if you ask followup questions to the effect of “What if we try this?”  or “What if we try that?”  They say it delicately, but they essentially let you know that your loved one is old and this is what happens to old people so get over it.

Like the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon, death is a natural part of life and yet, I don’t know about you, but I’ll never get over it.  There are many parts of life that are difficult.  But then – sometimes I see a nice sight – like a river, or a mountain, or just a nice sunny day and it makes me sad that all that is great in the world is dangled in front of me and yet one day I’ll have to let it go.  Even worse, the complexities and difficulties of everyday life will probably keep me from experiencing most of what’s out there.

Here’s what one poet told his dying father:

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

BY:  DYLAN THOMAS

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at the close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Good men, the last wavy by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Wild men who caught and sand the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, the grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Ironically, Dylan Thomas died at the age of 39, only two years after his father died.  It has been said that the poet may have succumbed to alcohol poisoning.  I suppose one could argue that turning to alcohol to cope is the very definition of giving in to the dying of the light, though I don’t presume to know or understand what Thomas was going through.  In any event, it is good advice.  Life is limited but take care of yourself and try to stick around as long as you can anyway.  It always bugged me when doctors shrugged off questions about my mother.  I get that to them the questions were obviously answered by a “No, that’s not going to save her” – i.e. they were simple to the point that they felt bothered that they were even asked, but they need to be asked anyway.  Struggle against the dying of the light, because whether that struggle buys you five more minutes or five more years, you’re still in the light.

Don’t forget – this advice can be applied to anything.  Having a hard time at work?  Don’t give up, fight to do better.  Upset over some situation?  Don’t throw in the towel, try to fix the problem.  Whatever the light i.e. all that is good disappears, you’re in the dark and that’s it, so fight to have that goodness in your life for as long as you can.

What choice do you have?  The alternative is to be left in the dark.

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