Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Thugs & Sports

When I began this blog in January 2011, I named it Mosaic Moments so I could feel free to hold forth on any topic that struck my fancy. And although I primarily blog about Writing and Editing, I continue my original premise today by ranting about a topic close to my heart.


I posted the following paragraph last week, joining 88 others (at that time) who were protesting the absurdity of a half-game suspension for Jameis Winston, bad boy quarterback for Florida State University. I have no idea if the Powers-That-Be at FSU ever saw my post, but outrage from the general public was so widespread that the night before the game Winston was suspended for the entire game. Oh, wow! What a leap up the punishment scale for the man who has been accused of rape and claims he simply forgot to pay for all those crab legs from Publix. Allegedly, he was also involved in a BB gun battle that resulted in 13 broken windows. And most recently, he climbed on a table at the student union and shouted a phrase so vulgar, so denigrating to women, that I would not think of repeating it here. (I'd probably be kicked off the blogosphere.) You can, however, find it through Google. I did, and my eyes popped.

Grace's comments about Jameis Winston:

 I just looked up what Jameis Winston said when he stood on a table at the student union and shouted the incredibly vulgar words to the student body. And got benched for HALF a football game! This thug, against whom the charge of rape rings more and more true, should be in jail, not representing one of Florida's state universities on the football field. He, along with similar thugs in the NFL, need to GO. They are ruining the reputation of one of America's great sports, and they need to join their fellow criminals in jail, not in the locker room. Give us back our favorite fall sport and get rid of so-called gridiron heroes who advocate, or practice, violence against women!

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And then, after the FSU-Clemson game, even the newspaper's Sports pages took up the cry. It was reported that Winston's coach wanted him removed from the team when he was first accused of rape. The administration said no. He also drew a pass on his other offenses, including the supposedly "forgetful" theft from Publix. No wonder he suited up on the day of the Clemson game,as if totally ignoring his suspension. He had been granted so much entitlement he probably assumed no one would enforce the ban. According to the newspaper, however, his long-suffering coach was shocked, sending Winston back to the locker room to change. 

Yes, football is a violent sport, but when did the thugs begin to take over? When did winning become all important? Ah . . . but that's been true for a long time. Some people have always taken their sports very seriously. Perhaps attitudes began to deteriorate when winning became so important that rabid fans with deep pockets were willing to sponsor scholarships to anyone, no matter their character, as long as they could play ball. When those rabid fans were allowed too much control over sports, solely because their wealth just might be extended to other college needs.

How incredibly sad. 

And of course the illness doesn't stop with college. In fact, the college sports woes probably filter down from the professional arena. Too many thugs are playing professional sports of all kinds. Particularly in the National Football League. And pretty much for the same reasons. Rabid fans with lots of money bring the same ruthless, anything-to-win attitude toward sports that made all that money in the business world in the first place. thus spectacularly fulfilling that old saying, "Dog eat dog, and the Devil take the hindmost." 

My father, while a teaching-principal in a small Nebraska high school - the one where he once played football - was also the sports coach, including football. So I grew up knowing the rules of most sports and the conduct expected from those who played. My father was a true "straight arrow" of the old school. He would be even more outraged than I over what has happened to sports in our time.

You've all heard the expression, "Throw the bums out!" Well, it's more than time we did just that. It's took nine months for the NFL to discipline the player who knocked out his fiancĂ©e in an elevator (in spite of the act being recorded on surveillance tape). And then there's the player who "switched" his four-year-old so hard the boy had to be taken to the Emergency Room (where a doctor blew the whistle on him). And now the latest on Jameis Winston is that his attorney has announced he will "cooperate" in the federal government's investigation of the rape charge that was swept under the rug last year (when evidently, he was allowed to refuse interrogation). Well, bless whoever got the government involved, for certainly all those in authority in Tallahassee blew it on that initial investigation. 

One good thing: the newspapers are now covering the instances of violence by sports stars. Their criminal behavior is no longer being shoved under the rug. But will any of these thugs face conviction and punishment? And if so, will it be enough to stop the horrendous attacks not only on women as individuals but on the female gender as a whole? Brave women fought for the right to vote. They're still fighting for equal pay. But hey, female rights advocates out there, what about the fight for a woman's right to survive without fear of rape and abuse, physical and mental? As long as one life hangs by a thread, we all go in danger of plunging into the abyss. 

This issue affects us all. And the good guys out there - and there are a lot of you - need to join the fight as well. Do NOT be so dazzled by someone's ability to throw a football, score a three-pointer, or hit a home run that you condone him acting like a beast of prey. Stand up and be counted on the side of right. Ban the Jameis Winstons and the Ray Rices from professional sports. "Good riddance to bad rubbish," as my mother used to say.

If ordinary citizens don't protest, who will? If college administrators and NFL executives only do their duty when the outcry overwhelms their willingness to let these criminals do anything they please, then WE have to stand up and be counted. Cry, "Enough! We want our football, basketball, baseball & soccer players to have hearts and heads to match their talent. We absolutely, positively do not need thugs in either college or pro sports. Let them crawl back to their own level and stay buried, forever condemned to a pit of Bad Guys surrounded by poverty and ignominity.

This morning, Saturday, September 27, 2014, the by-lined sports reporter for The Orlando Sentinel, wrote an article which I feel merits repeating here. It may not emphasize my feeling that we ALL are responsible for fixing this issue, but Mike Bianchi's words definitely ring true. He wrote:

In honor of the great Martin Luther King, I have a dream. I have a dream that there will be a day when we turn on SportsCenter and they'll be talking about triumphs and touchdowns, not domestic abuse and child abuse. I have a dream that one day Heisman Trophy winners will be chosen based on the very first sentence in the Heisman mission statement: "The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." I have a dream that one day we will have commissioners and coaches and school presidents who will make decisions based on what they believe is right, not what they believe they can get away with. And I have a dream where all athletes—pro and college—conduct themselves with the style, grace and class of Derek Jeter.*

 *an exemplary athlete and human being, on and off the field, who retired this week after 20 years with the New York Yankees

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And now for something lighter, plus a reminder that we all need to remember to edit, starting with our spelling . . .

The photo above was taken in Kenner, Louisiana, and shared on Facebook by Del Shores

To end on an upbeat - another glorious Florida sunset*
*borrowed, as usual, from my daughter's Facebook page

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FYI, I will be presenting my 2-hour workshop, "A Wise Author's Approach to Writing a Book," for the Southwest Florida Romance Writers on Saturday, October 18, 1-3. Guests are welcome. For the SWFRW website, click here.

Thanks for stopping by.


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.

For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.   

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