Saturday, October 11, 2014

Smelling Salts

("What I Saw as an N.F.L. Ball Boy")

The smelling salts serves as perfect metaphor, intended or not. While the author advises that his tale is not justification for wrongdoings perpetrated, his assertion that on-field brutality inevitably led to off-field "aftershocks" draws us directly to that very conclusion.

Violent collisions in athletic endeavor cannot serve as excuse or predicate for violent actions on those not part of this undertaking.

There is certainly room for compassion and understanding in our heart. Football players, gods at play, are human after all. We get it, and we understand that there are tensions and struggles that they too must face and demons they must conquer each and every day.

But this piece reads too much like marketing ploy, a misdirection to take us away from the scene of the crime and into a locker-room full of blood and agonized screams, smelling salts needed to revive our damaged warriors with their damaged brains. It creates the impression, or at least gives implication to the notion, of criminal wrongdoer as victim.

From that moment  in 1979 when a limping and exhausted Mean Joe Greene tossed his  jersey to an awestruck young boy, we have been informed that behind the face of the fearsome lion was the heart of a  gentle lamb. But reality does not reside in slick television commercials. And it is now time we stopped being awestruck ball boys and faced some very ugly truths.

No comments: