Slap My ‘itch Up! – Of Sports and Violence

Each month we at Boom Bap Radio will bestow  the award of “The Douchey McDouche Bag” award on the biggest dickheads in the news.  This category is not limited to politicians or entertainers or even athletes – there’s room for everyone on this bench.

However, each month one person stands out as the absolute winner of our coveted prize.

The award is based on the name I gave a menial worker from a big box department store, who insisted that my item was no longer in stock without looking. This douche actually made me order the item online and had a whole five minute explanation of why the product was not available days after Christmas. Evidently it was shipped back to some remote warehouse – over the hills and far, far away.

Imagine my surprise when about an hour later –while walking to the other end of the store I found piles of my item, neatly stacked and very much available.

So this one goes out to that collared shirt wonder, who obviously knew nothing, but before he knew a whole friggin’ lot –Douche Bag!! Hey dickwad - this award  goes out to you  – You Douche!!!

The September 2014 Douchey McDouche Bag Award

When the month of September usually comes each year, our thoughts change from heat and humidity to cool, crisp days where the leaves turn gold, red and orange.

Our collective eyes leave “The Boys of Summer,” harden and peer in the direction of “Monsters of the Midway,” “Big Blue” or “Men of Steel.”

From Elysian Fields to the gridiron.

However in 2014, those football thoughts and pigskin dreams were replaced by the douchey nightmares meted out by the Neanderthals in helmets and shoulder pads who beat the hell out of some of society’s perceived weakest members – women and children.

That’s right, where most of us see women and children as the first off a sinking ship, in September of 2014 many high paid, professional athletes saw them as punching bags and whipping posts in a douche-fest that has hit some of the National Football  League’s biggest names this season.

Furthering the vinegar and water spritz, was the distorted and hypocritical way in which the NFL seized upon these tales of woe to push its reinvention campaign.  Beginning in 2013 the league has worked to transform itself into a “kinder gentler” league of violent, gladiators and the events of 2014 seemed to present the perfect opportunity to continue the dialogue.

We are of course referring to the plight of suspended defensive linemen Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald as well as running backs Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Dwyer.

For some reason all five players just could not wait for the season to start and instead began hitting stuff prior the NFL’s 2014 football season.

These guys not only started things off with a bang, but seemed to add an inappropriate choke, punch and whipping to the mix.

Nonetheless, be it a Charlotte, N.C. apartment, or in a casino elevator in Atlantic City, NJ; at their girlfriend’s house or while they were holding baby-daddy visit day, our aforementioned athletes were easy picks as winners of our September 2014 Douchey McDouche Bag Award.

Beating M’F#*~ers like Ike Beat Tina

We began setting up our famous mix of vinegar and water in February of this year when Baltimore Ravens All-Star running back decided to visit the boardwalk empire with his longtime girlfriend – Janay Palmer.

Reports of an altercation at in the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ soon came to light.

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Next thing you knew, “Lil Ray” the all-time leading rusher for Rutgers University, was playing defense and fending off member of the press for a move that could only be applauded by Ike Turner.

During the incident, Rice was allegedly seen dragging his unconscious fiancée out of a casino and to their room after a few slaps and a vicious left hook.

Initial reports suggested she was drunk and Ray was helping her.

However, a tape released following his agreement to undergo counseling and a two game suspension from the NFL, seemed to show the 5’ 8” Ray-Ray leaving an elevator and forgetting something.

When he returned from the elevator dragging a woman minus a shoe, we realized he’d maybe left his dignity and reputation on said lift. Oh don’t worry, Ray went back and got the shoe. He is indeed very helpful as it turns out.

A grand jury indicted Rice in March of third-degree aggravated assault, charges that were ultimately dropped after Palmer, who had since become Mrs. Ray Rice, declined to testify against him.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell jumped right in and handed down a tiny, two-game suspension for the diminutive Rice. A move that wasn’t too shocking in a league where killing your teammate, manslaughter and drug possession historically doesn’t slow your roll.

Rice was expected to miss a few games. He married his fiancée and the season rolled onward.

There seemed to be little complaint about the penalty until months later when another elevator tape emerged from the then shuttered casino showing fist-a-cuffs between the couple and Ray-Ray’s Joe Frazier-esc hook that dropped his honey like a sack of potatoes.

rayricejrsyxchangeThe next thing you know, Rice was in the middle of a policy and public relations fight with the NFL that saw his two game suspensions rescinded and his employment with the Baltimore Ravens terminated. As the season crept into the second week – fans were urged to return the All-Pro’s jersey for a rebate.

His college alma mater, also scrubbed all memory of Rice, including jersey’s, bobble heads and photos of his glory days in New Jersey.

In fact, with the help of the NFL and media, Rice became a pariah and the face of domestic violence.

Things got downright douchey when popular ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith took to the airwaves and caught some blow back for defending Rice.

Next we learned what happens when a corporation is considered “a person” and the news cycle is expanded to 24-hours.

Evidently, the entity begins to reveal all types of human frailties, like douchiness and hypocrisy and the media is there to report every disgusting aspect of the fall. Soon the NFL, the home of the nation’s favorite sport, was “in crisis,” and suddenly the whole situation needed a warm douche.

NFL Commissioner Goodell made this point apparent when he strode back in front of the cameras and admitted he made a mistake in only giving Rice a two-game suspension.

Goodell challenged Rice’s douchiness with a corporate version that was of a higher profile, politically correct, but potentially smelled worse than Rice’s story.

With a totally straight-face, Goodell said he wanted to make things right, so he admitted he was wrong for earlier suspending Rice for only two games and increased the three-time Pro Bowler’s suspension to infinity.  He also claimed to never have seen the additional elevator footage, despite numerous reports placing the tape in the NFL headquarters weeks after the assault.

Things got even funkier, when he rolled out a glitzy new domestic abuse policy with harsher penalties depending on number of times the player in question was caught beating his wife, girlfriend or family member.

Then, just as it appeared the rigid rules would right the ship, a funny thing happened on the way to the changing the NFL uniform from a wife-beater back to a crisp, new jersey – more NFL players were arrested for beating their female associates.

Soon after Carolina Panthers Defensive Lineman Greg Hardy, San Francisco 49ers Defensive End  Ray McDonald and Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer were all benched, suspended and inactive after incidents of choking, threatening and beating their significant others.

A Kinder, Gentler NFL

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As punishment for Rice went from traditional light to the newer harsh in the blink of an eye, the media began to question the league and its influence on its millions of fans.

Some referred to the NFL as a “league in crisis.”

Others naively wondered aloud how a sports league could allow its players to seemingly run amok, like overpaid twenty-something’s on steroids.

Hmmm – imagine that.

To give context to this ridiculousness, understand that this is America, one of the most violent places in the world.

Our citizens have a constitutional right to carry firearms and one of our states, Texas, leads the world in executions.

Our favorite professional team sport openly involves huge, muscle-bound men crashing into each other with the ferocity of an automotive crash, yet somehow we could not imagine that these hulking humans could possibly beast on their smaller, frail female counterparts.

Unfortunately, domestic violence and its affects have long been a not so secret, secret in the NFL,  America and on the planet.

jovanbelcher chrishenry

In recent times, like five years ago late wide receiver Chris Henry,  died after allegedly being involved in a domestic dispute with his fiancée. Henry, who had assault and drug charges in his past, died after he allegedly jumped into the back of a pick-up truck driven by his beloved. Henry sustained a mortal head wound when he was ejected from the bed of the pick-up.

In 2012 Kansas City Chief Linebacker Jevon Belcher shot and killed his fiancée with a shotgun and then turned the weapon on himself.

Belcher’s post-mortem exam showed the 25-year-old exhibited a key signature that could show he was afflicted with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurological, brain condition.

Ironically, before both tragedies, Chicago Bears Brandon Marshall was involved in a messy domestic dispute in 2007 that was seemingly swept under the rug by Goodell and the NFL.

During that alleged event, a woman Marshall was dating claimed she had been assaulted several times by the wide receiver, was again being threatened by the athlete when she attempted to leave the scene with the aid of a female friend.

The vehicle driven by the two women was allegedly followed by Marshall in another. Marshall allegedly rammed the vehicle and hurled cement at his girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat. After demanding her from the vehicle, he allegedly fled the scene before police could arrive.

The friend, identified as Kristeena Spivey, also allegedly contacted Goodell and the league, but was spurned. Marshall, who is now a broadcaster, was initially suspended for three games. His penalty was later reduced to just one game.

Goodell’s “laisser- faire” approach to the Marshall incident in 2007 was consistent with NFL policy until just a month ago. Like many corporations, big stars are protected and sometimes shielded from blame and legal incidents are swept under a rug to protect the brand.

It appears the combination of past and recent incidents, along with an ongoing lawsuit by former players may have forced the NFL to finally take a good look in the mirror.

In a league known for violence on an off the field, the NFL began reinventing its image in the wake of former players suing the league for long-term head injuries. By 2013, the league rules on the NFL’s trademark and celebrated brutal hits changed. Any of those leading with the helmet would be flagged and possibly fined. The league also developed complicated protocol for players who were concussed.

The changes have led to a flurry of penalty flags and fines being handed out with all of the skill of a drunken sailor.

Coincidentally, all of this occurred in the wake of almost 5,000 former NFL players accused the league of not enlightening them about the dangers of head injuries. The legal action, which will cover four times the number of players who are suing, will give compensation for medical testing and treatment, along with several brain injuries including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s and CTE, which has been linked to aggression and suicidal thoughts.

Spare the Rod Or Lose Your Job

Roger Goodell and the NFL continued to preach the gospel of righteousness and in doing so, seemed to continue laying the foundation for a league that could set the right example and reflect its fanbase.

Like a steaming locomotion, the train of political correctness seemed to pick-up speed as more and more players were outed for abusing a significant other.

But as the crackdown on violence continued chugging along, it made a stop in the complicated world of all-world running back Adrian Peterson, who was also indefinitely suspended and shamed due to an incident in the spring when he spanked his son too forcibly.

adrianpetersonmugPeterson, a star running back for the Minnesota  Vikings and arguably the best running back in the league, turned himself in after allegations of child abuse emerged from the Texas legal system.

An area rarely visited by the media, Peterson was now operating in the atmosphere of shame created by his fellow players and the NFL’s struggle to remain in public favor, at time when his incident hit the news and pictures of the injured 4-year-old emerged.

Soon thereafter, a whipping with a switch, made the previously affable Peterson into a child abusing monster, not fit to lace up cleats.

Peterson, who signed a 7-year, $100 million contract in 2011, had to be made an example and with its new conduct policy firmly in place, the NFL surely wasn’t going to miss this public flogging.

Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if found guilty.

After turning himself in, Peterson was released on $15,000 bond and must have believed that league would do what it had done in the past – wait for the court proceedings and then act accordingly.

Nope, not in the new, gentle NFL.

Peterson was deactived by the Vikings for a week two game against the New England Patriots.

However, the Vikings re-instated Peterson the next week.

Stating Peterson “deserved to play,” the Vikings rebelled against the league, embraced the old routine and would instead allow the legal process to run its course.  The Vikings rebellion against the status quo suggested Peterson would continue to practice with the team and definitely start against the New Orleans Saints in the week three match up.

The rebellion, however, was short-lived.

After further “reflection” the Vikings talked to the league and reversed course, this time placing the player on the recently created NFL’s Exempt Commissioner’s Permission list, which required him to be excluded from all team activities.

Team officials said the move was a chance to do the “right” and “fair” thing.

It was like aliens had infested the rebellious Vikes and taken over their brains. What was right on Tuesday simply wasn’t on Wednesday. It sounded like the League must have got to them!

While on the exempt list, Peterson lost endorsements from Castrol and the Radisson Hotel withdrew its limited sponsorship of the Purple People Eaters. Even the website for Peterson’s All Day Foundation was taken off line.

But most disturbing was the douchey charade all of these incidents and said league reaction created.

The NFL has always been a league of brutal hits and violent stars waiting to hand them out each week, but in the end, violence is a part of humankind.

It comes from that base, rough, primitive place that has allowed Homosapiens to evolve for thousands of years.  Our ability to reason and communicate with one another largely is the reason we haven’t managed to annihilate our entire species, although we’ve tried.

Interestingly, African and Greek wrestling, Roman gladiators and in recent times pro football players, have allowed us a luxury that comes with civilization. Sport allows us the decency to secretly enjoy our most boorish traits, while being able to keep our couth and largely our humanity intact.

Football is one of the bi-products from our violent existence as humans. As Commissioner Goodell stated domestic abuse is not an NFL problem, as much as it is a societal problem that has dogged us as long as we’ve existed.

Furthermore, as the collective consciousness is shocked and shrinks against itself, we redefine who we are as group.

To somehow believe we’ve reached the 21st Century of our existence without our violent tendencies is not only a fallacy, but spinning such a yarn may be the douchiest thing we’ve ever observed.

Don’t believe me?

Ask the generations before us about how men treated their wives and relatives.

It’s shouldn’t be shocking – women have only had the right to vote in our society for about a century and still labor under a concept that they are only worth .77 cents to a white male’s dollar.

And as for children and discipline, I only wish Adrian Peterson invented the use of the switch, the belt or just plain our open hands or closed fists.

Children have always been disciplined with the understanding that they should be seen and not heard. In addition, we all know the Christian Bible teaches: “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

This is not exactly new to humans and certainly, despite how many new wave philosophies we espouse, most of us dealt with whippings, beatings and other forms of punishment until perhaps the last 40-years.

Adrian Peterson is not a monster. He’s a muscle-bound athlete who wrongly disciplined his child into a trauma center. He should be fined or suspended, but not wished into the cornfield. To do so is yet another level of douchiness and hypocrisy that shows not only this society’s short memory, but our hubris.

The problems of domestic violence and child abuse are topics that deserve time in the media spotlight, but the Goodell dog and pony show of 2014 proves the NFL needs direction in shaping the message. By having several shifting sets of rules it is obvious Goodell is an opportunist only concerned about making points to appease or attract new fans.

chuckbednarik nighttrainlane

Although the testimonies and commercial spots for nomore.org may be a good start towards addressing a glaring problem for athletes and men, more consistent efforts from historic organizations will be the only way to set a tone of defiance against domestic violence. At the end of the day, the NFL is composed of men playing for a historically violent league and playing an openly violent game and no Madison Avenue campaign will change that reality.

So, NFL this one goes out to you and your new self-righteous attitude about the violence you’ve profited from and that of which you have swept under countless rugs for almost a century.

Don’t vilify these athletes. Help them to be better people and you athletes stop beating folks, you’re too strong and too good at your job. By the way, after you’ve decided how many millions you’re going to pay the former athletes who have sustained injury from their craft, pick up our trophy – you’re Boom Bap Radio’s September 2014 Douchey McDouche Bag Award winner.

You arrogant, short of memory, violent  – douche bags!

 

 

 

 

 

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