Monday, November 9, 2015

The Canary in the Coal Mine, or, Big Cuter and the NFL

There were several non-negotiable items in my son's Pantheon of Perfection. Among them was the sanctity of Sunday Football.  Unless there was a wedding or a funeral, Sundays were spent devouring the NFL.  His Perfect Girlfriend was welcome to watch with him, and he would be happy to explain anything and everything.  She could share the space while reading or crocheting, as he watched me do for decades.  She could go out and have her own version of a fabulous day; he wouldn't mind at all.  All he wanted was to be allowed to watch his games in peace.

That's why his photo on Facebook was so surprising.  He hiked, with friends, up Twin Peaks.  He posted a photo of the city which he took himself.... out in nature....  with nary a television in sight. His team, the 49'ers, was playing a locally televised game and he was not only not watching it, he didn't care that he wasn't watching it.

"Until there's a total change in the administration of the team, I am choosing not to care."

He watched the last part of the last quarter, but only because he and TBG were on the phone and my husband, who still chooses to care, couldn't find the game on Red Zone. (If you don't understand, don't worry.  It's not important.... on any level.)  Big Cuter was willing to share updates, but, for the first time in my memory, he was more interested in talking about life than about football when Sunday rolled around.

His disillusionment is based on more than the team's current dismal performance.  He began to question the nature of the sport itself when Chris Borland, a rising star on the 49'ers, quit the game after one season. He cited the risk to his brain, declaring that thinking was more important than playing.  My boy has a close relationship with his brilliantly functioning brain (I'm his mother, I get to brag) and this young man's decision resonated with him in a way that I'd not seen before.

Throughout his childhood, I told him that I did not sleep on a basketball for 9 months for him to destroy his body while playing professional football.  I've always felt that he resented that, on some level.  Recently, I've begun to hope that he sees, once again, how right I was.

And now, with all weekend to talk about it, Greg Hardy's domestic violence conviction  and subsequent overturn on appeal (when the complainant did not show up at the appeal hearing.. and we can speculate about that all night long.... from personal experience, facing the assailant is terrifying... and who knows what was said or threatened or feared..  and why should she have to be there once the case is adjudicated?) is on the big screen for all to watch as his Dallas Cowboys play in the national, Sunday Night Football game.

There are second chances and there is sharing a locker room with a man who beat a woman... even if the words on the indictment weren't enough for you and you needed the photographic evidence to realize what your new teammate had done... and all the talking heads were agreeing with themselves, saying that since the NFL's punishment was stymied by an arbitrator, the team's owner, Jerry Jones, should do the right thing and fire his sorry ass.... or some variation on that theme.

My former-NFL-fanatic son is "making a conscious choice to avoid everything Cowboy's" which is why he had other plans for the Sunday night game.

The NFL should be very worried.

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