I thought of writing about how angry I am at the National Football League, but I've decided instead to write about how proud I am of my sixteen-year-old son, who burst out of his room to tell me about this story. He was irate. "Can you believe this, Mom? Can you believe this? What's wrong with these people? How can that guy [ex-football-coach-now-sports-analyst Tony Dungy] call Michael Sam a distraction in the locker room just for being gay? Why is that a distraction, but beating up someone you supposedly love is 'not a big deal'"?
I thought of writing about how angry I am at the National Football League, but I guess my son and I just don't understand why repeatedly getting embroiled in accusations of sexual coercion (Ben Roethlisberger), or accidentally shooting yourself because you went clubbing with a loaded unholstered Glock in your waistband (Plaxico Burress), or being indicted for murdering a guy in a deserted industrial park (Aaron Hernandez) don't count as distractions.
I thought of writing about how angry I am at the National Football League, but what's the point? Football has become a training ground for bullies, and we live in a world in which people smoothly accept that a bully can be "a heck of a nice guy" . . . especially if he plays for a winning team.
I thought of writing about how angry I am at the National Football League, but I am the daughter of a man who was captain of his high school football team. He told me one time about a friend who was so good that he began playing semi-pro football after high school. But he quit because the game at that level was no longer fun. He told my dad that he was being trained to hurt people, and to hurt himself. The people who could do the best hurting were the people who went to the NFL. Of course this was in the 1950s and 60s. Players were only beginning to get interested in steroids.
I thought of writing about how angry I am at the National Football League, but now I am thinking about Michael Sam. Just because he's gay doesn't mean he's hasn't been trained to hurt. It's conceivable that he will be a distraction, in the same old football way.