Christensen: No Mutiny on The Bounty
By Todd Christensen, The Mtn. InsiderMarch 27, 2012
We have all heard the tough talk indigenous to sports. In the current lexicon it is referred to as ‘trash talking’ and it can take on quite vulgar and frightening proportions. The hockey player that is going to ‘knock your block off’ or the pitcher in baseball that is going to ‘put one under his chin.’ In basketball someone is going to get ‘body-slammed’ if he doesn’t stop driving in the key. The worst is probably in boxing, where the combatants have been heard to ‘take someone's heart out’ or ‘eat your children.’
For the most part, we view these as euphemisms and as a result don’t take them literally or even close to face value. In my 25 years of organized football and eleven years in the NFL, you can bet that I listened to some of the most crass promises an athlete can make when it comes to an opponent but never witnessed any of those rash predictions come to fruition. Maybe that is why I give those players for the New Orleans Saints the benefit of the doubt. I don’t believe that anyone was trying to injure anyone else but in the heat of the machismo and testosterone, things were said and promised that were not only unbecoming but also illegal within the fraternity of the NFL.
Getting paid to hurt someone is untenable regardless of the circumstances. No one as yet has been able to garner the ability to just knock someone out for a quarter of the game or just for that particular contest. Had someone versus the Saints had a career-ending injury or a debilitating malady for a lifetime, this would be a tragic story. Anyone who has played in the NFL for any length of time knows that they are vulnerable to injury. The prospect of someone being paid to take advantage of that circumstance is disconcerting.
Maybe that is why NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the penalties he did. I thought it was interesting when many of the pundits referred to this as unprecedented because in this instance, it truly was! There was, for a brief moment, those that felt the actions of the commissioner were too harsh, but the majority concurred that this could not be tolerated. Goodell has been put in the unenviable position of having to juggle the concussion issues with violent on-field hits and rule changes to protect his players. Now this comes about and he is forced to make a decision on an issue that many wish would go away but now cannot be certain has not been going on in a clandestine fashion for years.
The hope is that this is just an aberration. The difficulty lies in the future as to what level of violence the respective sports leagues and their fans are going to be willing to tolerate.
See all of Todd Christensen's blog entries HERE