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Disposable zeroes of hypocrisy

Fight.Club.lead.hypocrisy

I couldn’t let this whole Ray Rice/NFL/TMZ controversy slide without writing something. Normally I’m not at a loss for words, but in this case, a story with so many fly-swarming layers of festering rottenness, I had a real beeatch of a time trying to “narrow my focus”, as one of my journalism profs used to write in red ink on one of my sub-standard assignments.

But I think I have it now. I want to tell you about what I did after the video of Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancé in an elevator came out. My reaction, contrary to most of the others, is the only one that puts this whole mess into its proper perspective.

(Instead of rehashing this whole sordid affair, here’s a link to a story by Andrew Sharp over at Grantland.com. This will get you up to speed.)

Unlike most people, I wasn’t outraged at the video; the details of it were already known before TMZ managed to get a copy of it. It was a horrible piece of video, to be sure, and the blood-thirsty whores of the media played it far too many times for my own liking, but I wasn’t surprised. In germalism, if it bleeds, it leads.

Nor was I surprised by an outlet such as TMZ breaking the story. I learned a long time ago that the world of sports germalism is one where the media and teams have a Bert and Ernie relationship: you’re not entirely sure of its nature, but you know it is very close and wholesome.

A sports beat reporter’s biggest fear is having his or her access cut off, so questions and stories aren’t normally hard hitting, unless you consider asking a team’s clean-up hitter about his new batting stance serious germalism.

The sharpest knives of public derision over the video were plunged into the back of the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, for his handling of the situation, from the meager initial two-game suspension given to Ray Rice, to his unconvincing statements about never having seen the video.

Those of you screaming for Goodell’s head on a platter haven’t been paying attention though. This is a league that allows convicted wife abusers to continue playing – search Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald – and refuses to accept any responsibility to its players for the long term effects of repeated blows to the head.

Nor is this the first time the NFL has been connected to a dubious video. The New England Patriots were caught cheating before Super Bowls but mysteriously, the video evidence was somehow lost by the league office. While the Patriots kept their tainted championships, they have yet to win another one since getting caught. The NFL marches on to record TV ratings and the perennially mediocre Buffalo Bills just sold for over a billion dollars.

As a person somewhat tuned to the machinations of public s**t storms, I know that occasions such as these present glorious opportunities for those soulless, opportunistic parties interested in keeping unflattering news out of the headlines. So, somewhere between the 500th and 1000th broadcast of Ray Rice battering his partner, it came as no surprise that the NCAA announced a reduction in penalties to the Penn State University football program. Pedophiles on the coaching staff of a top-tier college football program and an institution-wide cover up is now only worth two years of reduced scholarships, not four.

My indifference to all of this hypocrisy is in no way a reflection of my views on abuse. It is, though, a reflection of my belief that a sports league, where profit trumps morality, is not the fulcrum for elevating social change.

So, after seeing the video and hearing about Ray Rice’s suspension, I did what any football fan would: I put in a waiver claim for Justin Forsett, Ray Rice’s backup. My fantasy football team could use a running back.

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This entry was posted on September 11, 2014 by in Germalism, Life, Sports and tagged , , , .
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