Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Nanny State and the NFL

We live our lives out loud. For years, social scientists wondered how to extract personal data from the general public; it never occurred to them that their subjects would volunteer that information if only given the chance.  Even private communications can be widely disseminated.  There's no need for history to comb through stacks of legal papers to recall Adrian Peterson describing his son's wounds; the texts are sent 'round the world with the click of a button.

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.


  1. The whole thing is absolutely appalling. I cannot watch that video of Peterson beating a four year-old. I think I would be an absolute mess. And just because our parents did something, doesn't mean it was right. I was spanked with a wooden paddle by my god-mother. I swore even as a child that when I was a mom, I would not spank or EVER hit my children. It's child abuse--pure and simple. Anyone that sees it otherwise is sick in the head and should be no where near a child.

    As for a nanny state, when my kids were dropped off at day care, every day the teachers would check for bruises and marks on all children. They were to record if they saw any. That keeps parents and teachers accountable. I was glad they did it.

    The NFL needs to address this issue right now. Any and all abusers who have been convicted of abuse should be expelled from the NFL. Otherwise, it sends a message to other men that it's alright to abuse women, children, animals.

    Have to get some tea. Finding my nerves are frayed this morning thinking about this.

    Megan xxx

    1. TBG was furious all through the game last night. If watching football continues to bring up issues that make him this angry, I'm going to start lobbying against watching it!

      Son was appalled by beating women. Father upset by beaten children. Wife upset with the whole situation. The NFL should be worried!

  2. We are a sports loving family and generally watch the DBacks and the Cardinals, however, the other night my husband turned off the baseball game, I wondered why? He said he was sick and tired of listening to the commentators regaling stories of how the rookies are treated. The rookies are made to dress up in diapers and walk for blocks to get to the game, they must do whatever the older team members require of them, no matter how degrading or humiliating. My husband said this is just Bullying, the entire process is just Bullying. You try to teach your children not to be bullies starting in grade school, only to have them learn hazing in High School and College and it seems to get worse with professional sports teams. The Pros are taught to be bullies as rookies and it seems to carry over to their personal lives. This won't stop until the professionals teams put a stop to the rookie hazings. Just my thoughts.

    1. And good thoughts they are, Ellyn :)
      There are a lot of positive lessons to be learned from sports, but, sadly, all too many bad lessons, too.


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