Athletes are no different from the rest of the population. They buy groceries, hang out with friends, walk their dogs, play video games (ok, I just described my past weekend). In all seriousness, we are all carbon-based life forms, with similar biological processes. So it shouldn’t surprise you that in a world where there are church-going golden boys, socially-conscious community acitivists, womanizing players, attention-hogs, and yes even criminals, that there would be somewhat proportional existence of these things in football world. There have been studies done on athletes to see if all those steroi…uh, testosterone might contribute to a higher incidence of aggressive behavior or a propensity for violence off the field, or court or field. But when it comes down to it, you can’t expect too much from football world. And every team has its Mary. Wait, that is not what I was thinking of. Ok, sidebar:
My former coworker and I used to joke about how we have ESL syndrome (English as a second language). She wasn’t born here. I was. But even though I am a first generation American, my mother was raised in Japan and I was raised by my mother and my Japanese grandmother. They used all kinds of strange sayings around me and used to mix up meanings of words (and he/she distinction). I say things like “Don’t poop on my parade”—because what does it matter if it rains, that’s what umbrellas are for, but if a horse or other livestock poops in the middle of the street, you gotta stop the parade to clean it up, or you’re stepping all in it. And THAT would be a disaster. So now I realize I did not mean “Mary” because that would mean “gay”. What I meant was “every team has it’s one person that stands out or causes trouble or something”. Wow, I swear none of this is coming out right. I have lots of gay friends, I swear. Help.
Ok, sidebar done (whew, I was really not taking that in a great direction anyways). So…what I meant was: every team has that one player, and there are plenty of them—Kobe, Big Ben, Mike Vick…Plaxico even shot himself. That’s how bad things are getting—shoving concealed weapons down your pants and shooting yourself in the leg. It was the leg right? Soooo, I get it. And I know that every Ravens fan is going to cry foul at this post because (if you remember this from the last blogpost) “Ray Lewis’ charges were dropped”. Uh, ok, let’s take this step by step.
Ray Lewis and his thug entourage got into an altercation with some other individuals where two people ended up stabbed to death. Yeah, so let’s think about this. Lewis and his two friends were charged. Lewis, in exchange for his testimony against the other two got one year probation and a fine from the NFL. The other two guys were tried and acquitted. You know why they were acquitted? (The lawyer in me really wants to answer: reasonable doubt!, but no). The answer is: (wait, I think I see a hand in the back row…nope, that’s just the bartender grabbing another beer for me) Ray Lewis participated and may have actually killed a person. You think? The fancy pants lawyers really did a good job on that one. Ok, so here’s the deal Ravens fans, you have a murderer on your team. Ok, technicality that he was never convicted, but that’s about as much of a technicality calling Big Ben’s run-ins sexual assaults instead of rapes. And you, as Ravens fans, definitely take liberty on that one all the time. But I digress. Lewis is a murderer. But as if that wasn’t bad enough, five short years later he was on the cover of Madden. I won’t re-hash my previous posts about Vick and how I think he deserves another chance, but Vick will literally be mauled in the streets for years to come for his crime against dogs. Lewis killed a person and is now endorsing Old Spice. All the Ravens fans wear his jersey with pride, as if they have no recollection of his criminal past.
I know what you’re saying, I’m over-exaggerating. There are plenty of Big Ben and Michael Vick fans out there too. Their jerseys sell. They may not have endorsements now, but they might in a few years of good behavior. But neither one killed a person, which I think is a distinction that you can’t overlook. Which brings me to another piece of evidence to bolster my argument: Donte Stallworth. There’s one piece of work that I’m sure the Browns were OK with the Ravens taking.
Donte Stallworth, during his time as a wide receiver for the Browns, drove drunk and hit and killed a pedestrian. He got a bunch of small-ball punishment including an 8-year probation period (yeah, compare THAT to Lewis’) and was eventually reinstated in the NFL. The Browns rightfully terminated his contract and the Ravens signed him. Surprise surprise, it’s like murderer’s row over there in Baltimore. Since the Ravens are a pretty good football team, I’m pretty sure all the low-ranking players are plotting some sort of criminal activity just so they can eventually end up on the Ravens.
So I don’t love the fact that there are criminals (it seems) on every team, I guess I just don’t appreciate the glorification of it in some franchises. I have a few jerseys, and to my knowledge, none of them have done serious bodily harm to another human being. I consider that to be a quality that I look for in an athlete. And clearly, that’s not a priority for the Ravens or Ravens fans…which is why…let’s say it all together now…I hate the Ravens (and so should you!).