I'm still reeling.
Both Steven A Smith and Skip Bayless, morning ESPN commentators who normally make my skin crawl, said this morning that they each were beaten with belts and switches by their fathers. Neither one of them thought it was appropriate discipline - then or now. I found myself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with those I usually abhor.
Sunday NFL Countdown is a collection of older and wiser talking heads. Except for Mike Ditka, who was, as usual, clueless, these men were all appalled, but none of them were as passionate as Cris Carter. Carter had his own troubles off the field, and was waived by the Eagles in 1990 after failing 3 drug tests. He turned his life around, returned to the NFL, and retired 12 years later as the league's second all time receiver and a recipient of the 1999 NFL Man of the Year Award. He's thoughtful, articulate, and in this instance absolutely right.
If you are at work and can't watch the video, here are two takeaways. The first, after recounting his own mother's beating him:
"This is the 21st century. My mom was wrong… And I promise my kids I won’t teach that mess to them....You can’t beat a kid to make them do what you want them to do.”The second, while discussing what should happen:
"We don’t respect no women. We don’t respect no kids...Take them off the field because they respect that.”It shouldn't be that hard to get the message through, but obviously it is.
The NFL has an opportunity before it. There's a chance to make a difference, to take a stand, to educate and advocate and make things better. Pink accessories are a good reminder in October, but what about some blue (child abuse) or purple (domestic violence) as accents? NFL funded womens' shelters come to mind, so do parenting classes along with the how to manage your money and fame classes offered to newbies. If they didn't learn it at home, then it's time for the NFL to step up and take the lead.
Yes, it's the nanny state. Just as the schools checked my mother and her classmates every day for clean hands and their heads for lice, assuming that immigrant families' standards of cleanliness differed from Americans, the NFL is now in the position of having to explain proper behavior to its community.
We do not beat on women and children.
It's an easy sentence to remember. All the NFL has to do is put the weight of The Shield behind it. Perhaps someone might want to mention this to the Minnesota Vikings, who changed their minds after a sub-par performance last weekend. Adrian Peterson is practicing with the team and will play on Sunday in New Orleans. I don't know how a loving father could share a locker room with a man indicted for child abuse... how you can rely on a person who could do such a thing... who didn't see anything wrong with what he did.....
I'm still reeling.