Wednesday, September 10, 2014

To the Moon Alice.

Between reports of ISIS beheadings, Humas rocket attacks and the Syrian uprising the Constant Conflict News (CNN) was able to report on home fed American violence this week.  Ray Rice and sparing partner Janay were all over the news defending their right to practice Cage Boxing in Atlantic City elevators.  
The NFL players who have been in trouble with the law is not news nor is it a short list.  There have been charges of rape, murder, abuse, drug dealing and assault to name only a few.  Some have served jail terms, been released and returned to their "out of proportion salaries" as football players.  Michael Vick comes immediately to mind.  But then he was only violent toward dogs.
Here are a few facts that can not be separated from the "story" of Ray Rice. 1) The NFL is a multi- billion dollar business in America and winning teams make more money. 2) Players are not people, they are the raw material used in the manufacture of this NFL product called sports. 3)  Lastly and most importantly, the NFL is the passive promoter of a very violent business. 
There is a pretense of thinking professional football is a sporting contest but it is only the modern day PC version of gladiators in the Roman Colosseum.  At least we do not kill players on the field anymore.  However, death and disability due to repeated head injuries years after the players are too old to play is just now being considered.  Obviously the difference between us and the Romans is the length of time it takes for a gladiator to die. 
Football players become rich and famous if successful. They become role models valuable to advertisers who want to sell the products that they endorse.  However, they are not hired because they can sing or dance or tell a great joke. They are hired to play in a violent physical game.  
There is little doubt that violence is encouraged in the sport.  In recent years teams have been fined for encouraging injuries to the opposing team with bonus checks.  They never use the actual word "violence", they call it toughness, or hard tackles. 
So in this industry of inflicting injury the players are not taught manners, sensitivity and normal human interactions. They are taught to hit, hurt and immediately react to a quick snap with all the fury they have. Why then are we surprised when some of these players can't turn off that knee jerk violence when not on the field.  
Ray Rice reacted as football groomed him when his wife did something or said something he didn't like in an Atlantic City elevator in February.   Ray saw someone step over the line and he reacted violently to stop them cold in their advance.  This is not to say that men in other professions do not abuse women, but only in this case does it come from on the job training.  
On "The Honeymooners" Ralph Cramden used to threaten Alice with a balled up fist.  He would say "One of these days, Alice. One of these days,  bam zoom... to the moon." Threatened spousal abuse passed for humor back in the late fifties.  But it is now as dated as the flat painted sets of a black and white sitcom.  Today we are horrified to see a grainy black and white video of a man actually carrying out the Cramden bam zoom threat. 
Ray Rice may or may not play football again.  It doesn't matter he is not ground zero for the problem. Until violence is no longer profitable, and playing a game is more important than winning there will be no change.   
Like work horses professional football players will be trained, encouraged and rewarded for going into a blind rage when they hear the word "hike".  The kind of human they become when not on the field is not the concern of the NFL... unless it affects the cash flow.  When no longer able to hit the hardest or run the fastest they will be turned out to pasture.  Or in the case of Ray Rice... fired because he exposed the underbelly of professional sports. 
If a picture is worth a thousand words... a grainy elevator security video must be worth millions of words. But they are not the words of one man's violence toward his wife, it is a cautionary tale about the hypocrisy Americans have toward violence itself.
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

You're absolutely right...but you'll probably get some flack for it, anyway.

John Hardman said...

Not from me, you won't. Good post, Jay.

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Pete Biro said...

The pro football players I have met are definitely violent people,Good writing, Jay.