Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. This Wednesday is a bit more festive around our home as our son arrives home tonight from two months of playing baseball in California. Although his Aviators did not make the playoffs, I really do think that this summer was a great experience. He finished the summer hitting .294 with 6 doubles and a couple of dingers. It also appears that he has found his inner Benito Santiago, as he has been throwing runners out from his knees. I am not sure where this came from, but he says he has been consistently throwing 1.8s to 2B…which is pretty damn good. I wonder how his college coach will feel about his new throwing “style”. It won’t be long until he finds out…just a few weeks at home then he heads off to Ranger.
There has been much discussion about the Ray Rice suspension. There is not much that I can add that others have not already covered, but I had to weigh in regarding Stephen A Smith’s one week suspension by ESPN. I am not a fan of Smith…actually, not even close. Smith’s comments about women not provoking an attack were ill timed and really rather dumb. But, I think most of us understand what he was trying to say. Maybe it is just me…but doesn’t a 7 day suspension for Smith seem as ridiculous as Rice’s suspension? I sort of go back and forth with regard to what Stephen A said…it was dumb, but was it something he should be suspended for? Or was it so dumb that he should have just been canned…period. Smith is paid to give his opinion and although it was not communicated very well, it was still his opinion. The job of those in front of a camera and microphone walk a very slippery slope today. Opinions are fine as long as they are within the confines of what their employer is comfortable with. But, there is more to this. What if ESPN was okay with what Smith said, but was forced to do something because of pressure brought from sponsors? Is this just the world we live in now?
On the way home from work on Tuesday, the local radio sports guys were kicking this topic back and forth. The question that they were discussing was whether it was ever appropriate to hit a woman. This is a topic that I truthfully have a tough time even discussing. I have never come close to hitting a woman, especially one that I loved. As I thought through this, I wondered if being a football player makes one more disposed to violence. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that this has nothing to do with football. I believe this is more about role models and family dynamics. I also think that this has something to do with a segment of our society that celebrates violence. Many of us enjoy our lives living comfortably in our suburban homes. Kids that grow up with little guidance and a lack of love gravitate toward something that appears to offer what they are missing. Gangs seem to provide love and support for those kids desperately seeking both. In truth, gangs are not about love, but about survival. The way that they survive is by brute force. Gangs demand loyalty and a willingness to commit violence against any that threaten their group. Kindness and understanding are viewed as being weak. Respect is earned by violent acts. Respect is very important for those that grew up never being respected. What many never understand is that true respect is earned by showing respect of others.
We may believe that our kids are not part of this group and as such are not influenced by this behavior…but I must disagree. Even though kids are loved at home they are not immune to the effect of popular music and actions of their peers.The words and actions of this culture are slowly creeping into our society. You only have to listen to a bit of rap music to realize that the message being broadcast is a troubling message indeed. With the violence that this music describes, is it any wonder that many young men react to confrontation with violence? This lifestyle demands respect, but offers little respect for others…especially women. If you think about it, if you are willing to put a bullet into someone…slapping a girlfriend is no big deal. Domestic violence is a complicated issue, but one that the NFL and other sports must address. I think that all of us can agree that Roger Goodell has failed with regard to Ray Rice. Yes, the suspension was ridiculous, but equally as bad was the statement issued this week by the NFL regarding Rice. Roger Goodell has made it clear to everyone that upholding the integrity of the NFL shield is extremely important to him. His actions with regard to Rice suggest otherwise. The NFL had an opportunity to make a strong statement regarding domestic violence, but chose another path. Roger Goodell had an opportunity to respond to the outcry of public criticism…he chose to hide behind the shield and send out a suit to defend the NFL’s punishment. Roger Goodell believes that he can do whatever he chooses to do. He believes this because he is commissioner of the most popular sport in our country. It appears that he thinks that the public is so addicted to his sport that he can get away with whatever he chooses to do. I believe that he is wrong.
Roger Goodell and the NFL faced a tough test with Ray Rice and they failed. But, there is hope that the publicity that this situation has garnered will begin to change some minds. There are many groups that have the ability to make a difference, but one I want to speak to specifically is coaches. Across our country, many coaches seem to turn a blind eye when their best players screw up. It is time for this to stop. Of course kids screw up in many ways, but one that we repeatedly hear is sexual assault or a violent act toward a woman. Perhaps they have witnessed this growing up, so it is imperative that they understand that this behavior is not acceptable. It is time for these athletes be forced to stand accountable for their actions. One coach that has embraced this philosophy is Charlie Strong. The new Longhorn coach has made it clear to everyone in Austin that he does not play. Six Longhorn football players have been shown the door, with 3 more teetering on being gone. I will be the first to admit that I really liked Mack Brown and his grandfatherly approach. But, watching Strong in action…I am sold on the man. I think that the core values that Strong stands upon are exactly the right answer. I think that any NFL should follow Strong's lead and take a stand against violence toward a woman. Any player guilty of assaulting a woman should lose their job for a year…and be required to petition the league for reentry. Strong’s words hit home with me…”when you take away something that a player loves, it sends a message’. This may seem harsh to some, but it is exactly the right thing in Austin…just as it is the right answer for schools all across the US. Yes…Texas may suffer a few additional loses this year, but is on the way to building something special. The sooner that athletes understand that hitting a woman is not acceptable, the sooner we will have a change begin to occur.
These are the core values that Charlie Strong brought to Austin...Awesome stuff, Charlie!
I realize that the topic of domestic violence is pretty heavy. I had to share one comment I read this week that tried to bring a bit of humor to the issue of Ray Rice. “We should give Ray Rice a break…that carry of his wife from the elevator was his longest carry of the year”.
I watched the MLB HOF presentation last weekend. It was a great tribute to three terrific players and three iconic managers. As I sat listening to the words spoken by each recipient, I could not help but think that there should have been one more speech being made. Craig Biggo deserved his day at Cooperstown and as an Astro fan, I felt cheated. Biggio is too classy of a guy to make much of a fuss about being excluded, but I have to believe that he was at home thinking the same thing. When I caught a headline earlier this week about the MLB HOF making changes, I was hopeful that the changes would be with regard to the voting practices of the hall. I was wrong; it was only wishful thinking on my part. The changes being made are simply to shorten the time a player can be on the ballot from 15 years to 10 years. As noted by at least one person on twitter…this is simply to push the players from the steroid era off the ballot sooner. I love baseball, but will never be happy until changes are made with regard to who does the voting for the HOF. It is a damn shame…
In reading about the changes, I was struck by the comments made by a guy that calls himself Missouri Slim. I am going to use his words as I could not express the sentiments better:
“I have touched on this before and I raise the issue again based on this story. It is my position that if you are going to effectively bar certain players from the Hall of Fame, especially players who would be a "lock" otherwise, you should go all the way as in revoking their records and titles. If you are going to tout Barry Bonds as holder of the (single-season & career) HR records, then you have to restore his eligibility based on those records. If you don't want a Roger Clemens in the Hall of Fame, then you shouldn't acknowledge his Cy Young/MVP Awards, strikeout/ERA titles, etc., and in effect you must rewrite baseball history. Same with Pete Rose; if he's not eligible for the Hall of Fame, then his all-time hits record should be expunged from the record books; conversely, if that remains the standard then Pete should be eligible for the Hall. To me these things are by necessity linked to each other: either ALL or NOTHING. Personally, as long as the record books show Bonds and McGwire, Clemens, et al., being league leaders in various seasons and with high standing in lifetime stats, then I think they are Hall of Fame eligible, or should be. To list them as record holders and their stats as worthy of standing on the seasonal and all-time lists, then you've got to accept their "credentials". All or nothing; one way or the other. Otherwise, doesn't make sense.”
I have to admit to being troubled with regard to the steroid era. Here are a few things that have troubled me specifically:
- Selig and MLB for ignoring the issue of steroids, while allowing the blame to be placed solely on the players.
- Writers and others in the media turning a blind eye to the elephant in the room that was steroids in baseball.
- All players from this era being tainted by the suspicion of steroids.
- All of the records with none of the players being voted into the HOF.
Missouri Slim gets it right. It should be all or nothing. All of those records with none of the players in the hall makes no sense. I am not sure who Missouri Slim is, but I wish he would stop by the Gab.
I saw a tee shirt available that really cracked me up…anyone interested?
I saw that President Obama was visiting KC this week and eating BBQ at Arthurs. I looked carefully to see if BOB and son might be doing a photo bomb. Now that would have been a classic.
Hey...it would have been easier for Kershaw if they used real baseballs...Kimmel is hilarious.
Forrest Gump’s mom always said, “Stupid is as stupid does”. A 54 year old woman in Oklahoma called police to complain that her crystal meth was laced and she wanted to make a complaint. Police were only too happy to come by to take a look. Seriously…this is a true story. Take a look at the video in the link as it is damn funny.
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I wish outer space guys would conquer the Earth and make people their pets, because I'd like to have one of those little beds with my name on it.
I think a good product would be "Baby Duck Hat". It's a fake baby duck, which you strap on top of your head. Then you go swimming underwater until you find a mommy duck and her babies, and you join them. Then, all of a sudden, you stand up out of the water and roar like Godzilla. Man, those ducks really take off! Also, Baby Duck Hat is good for parties.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…