This is what happens when I tend (try) to get serious for a moment about serious things. In my attempt to NOT write a 347 page book about the subject, I wind up glossing over things ((which is rather like polishing a turd—to use a tedious cliche….use of said cliche is ALSO a lot like polishing a….*sigh*)). So if I miss any important detail or forget to leap to some obvious or unreasonable conclusion, please accept my apology in advance.
The Richie Incognito Fiasco® has brought bullying in sports(and in other areas of life) into the spotlight and ignited passions on both sides of the equation. Some say that bullying in one form or another is inherent to the nature of the sports locker room. Others feel that there is no place for it in the professional workplace….which IS, like it or not, what an NFL locker room is. The truth of things, for lack of better phrase, at least in the case of an NFL locker room, lies somewhere in between.
The NFL has launched an official investigation of the Miami Dolphins. And I’m certain that more heads are going to roll. Dolphins management….ie. Coach Joe Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland disavow any knowledge of what was going on in their locker room. This is as quisling a defense as the one the Obama administration is offering up regarding their knowledge of the NSA and the depth of its existential meddling in the affairs of the world.
There are also reports that Incognito’s bullying of Jonathan Martin was sanctioned by the Miami coaching staff….said staff told Incognito to “toughen him (Martin) up”. Why an NFL professional needs to be toughened up to play pro football is a bit beyond me. After all, you NEED to be tougher than fock to play at the pro-level anyway.
And if Martin needed some toughening up…..isn’t that the job of the coaching staff? Or maybe not.
As an aside, I don’t believe for one minute Vince Lombardi ever delegated the job of “toughening up” a rookie to another player on the team. I should have asked Bob Long about that when I saw him last Saturday at The Firehouse here in Mt. Horeb.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect the NFL locker room to be all sweetness and light, or a hot-bed of civilization. There is a lot of dumbfuckery that goes on there….brutal men in a brutal sport bonding and building camaraderie. There is nothing wrong with the smack-talk, and most of the teasing of rookies….it’s a rite of passage, like it or not. Most of it is mostly harmless. Carrying the veterans shoulder pads after practice or picking up a reasonable $1500 tab ((or a $54,000 tab if you don’t carry the shoulder pads)) for dinner is one thing, and given the milieu of the NFL, not as bad a thing. As I said, stuff like that is mostly harmless.
But in the Incognito/Martin case, the dumbfuckery went over the line. And when things like hazing and teasing and smack-talk goes over the line and off the cliff into the realm of bullying and abuse, it becomes inexcusable & indefensible on any level.
Because professional football, and most male sports in general are based on an inflated sense of manliness and macho, there are many who will rise up to defend the underlying system while at the same time justifying Incognito and his abuse without realizing how far off the beam they really are. Defending Incognito in this case is very much in the same league as defending a school-bully, or Hitler, or a wife-beater or a rapist. There’s the underlying knee-jerk reaction in the thought process that the victim, whether it’s a victim of bullying, or rape, or abuse, somehow has it coming or brought it on himself or herself by the very nature of their existence, their personality, their manner of dress, or speech, or colour of their skin, or any other fault that the abuser/bully finds an excuse to set ablaze.
Being a bully is the height of cowardice. Preying on the weak, the less-fortunate ((in the bully’s mind, that is)), or people who in some way spark all the insecurities in the heart of the bully. A bully will deflect the nature of and the responsibility for his actions. The bully will not take blame for his behavior. It’s always the victims fault. That’s a key defense used by the culture of bullying.
The problem is a larger, more insidious, and more endemic than this. Like anything worth changing and doing in this fallen world, solving the problem will take MORE than the utopisms of all the poetic intellects in the world to solve.
But a start must be made.
The culture of the locker room has to change ((and just as reminder, I’m using the world in the anthropological sense of the word….since culture and locker rooms is like Bob Evans Restaurants and taco salad). A daunting task since the culture of racism and sexism ALSO has to change along with it.
So let’s get at it! Suck it up, Buttercup!!
No more bullying, hazing, sexism, racism, fascism and all that dross. If you’re so insecure that you have engage in those horrible isms, then maybe you should just take off your shoulder pads and hang up your cleats, and cast your jockstrap into the eternal all-consuming fire.
Hugo Lloris was definitely NOT in Brighton when was knocked unconscious in Tottenham’s match with Everton a week ago Sunday (November 3rd, for those of you keeping tabs on that sort of thing). The Tootenham goalie who got his lights shut off at the 78th minute by Everton’s Romalu Lukaku as they contested a ball in the area, was was flat on the ground and stone cold out at Goodison Park in Liverpool (more noted for the Mersey River, Gerry & The Pacemakers, and the fookin’ droog-taking BEATLES, than anything remotely seaside….the Sea is one of the LAST sounds one would associate Liverpool with). But when Hugo came to, and insisted that he keep playing on, his gaffer, AVB ((Andre Villa-Boas, disgraced former Chelsea coach, for you denizens of south suburban Daleyville, Wisconsin and the more rural areas of Iowa County who don’t get out much)) allowed him to continue and after the match hailed him as a HERO.
In light of all the knowledge we have so far regarding concussions and sports, keeping Lloris on the pitch was more than utter bullocks and dumbfuckery, it was irresponsible and dangerous. Maybe AVB and Hugo Lloris should ask Briana Scurry how dangerous. Have a chat with Taylor Twellman about how concussions can end a career.
For all the bravado from AVB about Hugo Lloris…..how the critics don’t know what they’re talking about…how Hugo would start against FC Sheriff in the Europa League tilt ((Brad Friedel, the oldest player in the Prem started that game))…..then when he didn’t start, how Hugo would definitely be goal against Newcastle on the weekend ((you guessed it, oh denizens of evil evil Blanchardville—Freidel started that one too)). Yes, all that bravado from AVB was and is totally utter fuckin’ wrong and stupid. Akin to the low level of ignorance that tolerates and condones the sort of bullying, racist, sexist, facist behavior of the Richie Incognitos of the world.
AVB’s counterpart on that day, Roberto Martinez, condemned keeping Lloris in the game….if his goalie Tim Howard were down for the count like Lloris was, Martinez would have hauled his American ass off despite any protestations to the contrary. The concussion issue is something that the FA, and UEFA, and FIFA needs to address. Teams and leagues at all levels can no longer turn a blind eye to the knowledge we have about concussions.
Meanwhilst, on Friday November 15th, France has it’s opening WC Qualifying playoff tilt with Ukraine at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. Here’s hoping that Didier Deschamps has enough focking sense to leave Lloris on the bench for this one. But, most likely, it will be business as usual.
Mexico 5 New Zealand 1
While I wanted the Mexico/New Zealand tilt today to be a bit closer ((and on some devious level, in some strange power’s employ, I wanted New Zealand to upset Mexico)), it was clearly a lost cause for the All-White’s ((take THAT oh ye PC ones!!)). After all, they had to beat the mighty angry Samoans to get there…..tear through the Solomon Islanders, and devastate the likes of Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Guam, and Christmas Island perhaps and possibly Easter Island and….the mighty Kapuls of Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhilst Uruguay was saved blushes ((which is the English term for embarrassment for those of you keeping tabs on this sort of thing at The 1850 Landmark Inn in Milwaukee)) by a beatdown of Jordan. Not bloody likely that Jordan will have a prayer of a chance in the return tilt in Montevideo next week. So Uruguay limps into the World Cup with the head of Jordan on a stick. As expected.
Getting back to New Zealand for a moment. I hope you all take the opportunity to watch the return tilt in Wellington next Wednesday. The All-Whites will get to sport their home kit and it will tee off at Midnight on Wednesday November 20th Mt. Horeb Wisconsin, and Mexico City time and will be broadcast live on ESPN. I have a feeling there is still a bit of fight left in The All-Whites. Although….they accused Mexico of playing mindgames with them by not allowing them to wear their home kit at the Azteca…..Mexico’s kit is green with white shorts….and New Zealand’s is…..you guessed it……ALL WHITE! Mexico objected because of New Zealand’s white shorts. So……..The All-Whites had to wear their away strip, which is…..you guessed it…..ALL BLACK!!
Altitude, and the fact that the Azteca is hell for anyone, even the good ol’ USA, to play in aside, the All-Whites looked and felt vaguely uncomfortable in All-Black. They looked sad from the start, and played sad. It was sad.
Mexico, however, is focking lucky that they didn’t have to play New Zealand’s rugby team. The rugby team is called….you remember, right??……the All-Blacks. I don’t think Mexico, or anyone would want to mess with that lot.
Like Uruguay, El Tri will sneak into the World Cup and they only way they won’t is if New Zealand beats them 4-0 or better in Wellington.
Unlike Uruguay they might not go much of anywhere.
So there we go. Everything glossed over nicely for the moment. And if you haven’t accepted my apology for this by now, you never will. But if you have, then bully for you!
Let’s just pop a top and groove to some smooth music.