Over the past couple of weeks the sports world has been rocked by a secession of socially unpopular actions by some of its highest profile football athletes and Atlanta NBA co-owner and executive. Ray Rice, now former Baltimore Ravens running back, was caught on video punching and knocking out his then fiancée, now wife. He has since been released from his team and suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Current running back for the Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson has been indicted for child abuse for disciplining his son with a tree branch/switch. A co-owner of the NBA Atlanta Hawks Bruce Levenson is surrendering his half of team ownership due to the discovery of a 2-year-old memo regarding the demographics of the audience of the team at home games being largely Black-American and wanting to increase white attendance. He has apologized for his supposed “racist” comments. Also, a conversation by Hawks President Danny Ferry has come to light of him recanting a scouting report on prospective player Loul Deng. It referred to Deng as an African. Which he is by the way. He has since placed himself on “indefinite” leave and offered himself to those who benefit from racial strife and division.
None of these men have been convicted of a crime. Only Mr. Peterson has been indicted. But has yet had a jury seated for his day in court to actually determine if there has actually been a crime committed. But simply by a small, but loud, course of accusers they are being treated as though the have committed a felony.
First let me say that in the case of Ray Rice knocking out his then fiancée, or the physically injuring a woman by a man is truly repugnant to the highest degree. But, nor should women have a free rein to attack men without provocation with impunity. We don’t want to get to point where for a woman to ruin a man’s life is to simply accuse him of threatening or hitting her. What I believe to be the most repugnant issue in all of these instances is the severe lack of the allowance of a dissenting or opposite voice to be heard and the absence of a true aim for resolution.
Not that there hasn’t been voices dissenting from the popular course, but those aren’t the ones that are being reported and spoken of over, over, and over again. They do not fit the narrative that defames masculinity and manhood or further divides us on race and gender. I can remember when ESPN NFL Sunday Pregame had controversial conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh to do a segment. But, his comments regarding then Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb prove too much. They wanted to stick football and sports. My, how things have changed. ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption Co-host Mike Wilbon comment on his radio show regarding the Adrian Peterson issue saying, “I think the decline in the behavior of America is directly traceable to the lack of whippings with switches,” During the times of the “Greatest Generation”, though they may not have been perfect, a good argument can be made that kids by them were more discipline do to the fact that the rod was not spared. I don’t remember reading about kids killing their parents, going off on mass killing sprees at schools, or such back in their time. Discipline and morality were better set in the home, by the parents.
Another ESPN popular commentator Steven A. Smith was suspended for his comments regarding Ray Rice then 2-game suspension when he said,“In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a two- game suspension, which we both acknowledged,” Smith said on the show. “But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation.” You don’t think a jury would? Or someone truly interested in the facts, the truth, or coming up with a real solution?. Of course they would. If that was the objective. But then another ESPN commentator Michelle Beadle responded most vehemently stating, “Violence isn’t the victim’s issue,” she wrote. “It’s the abuser’s. To insinuate otherwise is irresponsible and disgusting.” Irresponsible? Disgusting? Really? One can not even question the context or circumstances of an event that can cost someone their livelihood and reputation? Would she feel the same if she were in Mr. Rice’s shoes? But regardless, Mr. Smith was the one who had to publicly recant his words of common sense to say, “I made what can only amount to the most egregious error of my career,” he said. “My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent. It was not what I was trying to say. Yet the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders.” Dissension of thought squashed in the public square. We dare not look at the effect of the explosion of single-parent child births or the growth of gratuitous violence, or the socially destructive effects of the feminization of the male and the masculinization of the female, right? Nothing happens in a vacuum, without cause and effect. To think so would be irresponsible.
In the case of the Atlanta Hawks’ president and co-owner, Hall of Fame LA Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke in defence of Hawks president’s comments in saying, “Sure, there are assumptions he makes that are cringe-worthy — but the questions about how to attract more white fans were entirely reasonable. Well, the pitchforks are already sharpened and the torches lit anyway, so rather than let them go to waste why not drag another so-called racist before the Court of Public Opinion and see how much ratings-grabbing, head-shaking, race-shaming we can squeeze out of it. After all, the media got so much gleeful, hand-wringing mileage out of Don Sterling and Michael Brown. The only problem is that Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson is no Donald Sterling. Nor is his email racist. In fact, his worst crime is misguided white guilt.” As for Mr. Ferry, he didn’t stick to the main fact as he said, “these were not my words…”. He was only reading from someone else’s report on Loul Deng. And even and investigation of some 24,000 prior Ferry emails by Atlanta law firm Alston and Bird uncovered no other similar remarks. Has anyone went to punish the author of the report? Put him on front street and call him a racist? Of course not. Why go after a guppy, when you have a whale on your hook. If the conversation was over how to increase black participation at a sporting event, or how a European player may fit for a team would this be an issue? What if a woman basketball star was the attacker against her male lover in a domestic violence issue, would that story be front page news?
There is a destructive agenda of political correctness and social reformation at work not just in the sports world today, but in the nation as a whole. It no longer matters what is actually the truth or legal, but what those shouting the loudest and has the largest media machine behind it say is truth. And the rest of us will be made to accept their truths. The legal and law process is not allowed to run its course, no true solution is sought, nor common sense allowed to be given air to breathe. Where a well orchestrated placement of liberally slanted point of views are thrust to the forefront to silence, marginalized, and or demonize any and all counter opinion or point of view in the court of public opinion. We are being divided into protected classes – the woman class, the black or ethnic class, the sexual orientation class, the age class, religious class, and so on. We are not allowed to view things as simply right or wrong. We have to first ask what class of citizen is involved. And in a climate where too many care about the failings and imperfections of a sports figure or institution than we do about that of a politician, makes this period in our nation more anxious. If we continue on this road we will fear to say anything or do anything that maybe seen by someone as unpopular, insensitive, or harsh. Dissension will be smothered in its incubator. And the mere accusation against a member of a protected class renders public defense of the accused mute and throws the life and liberties of the accused into jeopardy.
Edward R. Murrow prophetically said, “We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”
I don’t know the guilt or innocence of Mr. Rice, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Ferry, or Mr. Levenson. No one does. But, what I do believe is if counseling or professional therapy , or even incarceration, is needed, than that should be offered. But only after a thorough and truthful investigation is executed, irregardless of the air of public opinion. To hear only one side of any dispute or argument can only end with an unjust and undeserving verdict. If we, due to a severe lack of factual information and thorough use of objectivity, clear thought, and reasoning, via manipulation of the presentation of the evidence, and only energized by hyped up, propagandized, and emotionally targeted stimuli inducement, prior to the true application of the law, then we are no better than a lynch mob. And a nation that is far less unified and free.