Opinion

Guest Editorial: Save America, Stop Soccer

Misguided youths playing soccer instead of baseball or real football. Photo shot by Derek Jensen (Tysto), 2006-January-13 - Wikicommons

Misguided youths playing soccer instead of baseball or real football. Photo shot by Derek Jensen (Tysto), 2006-January-13 – Wikicommons

I saw a headline the other day. It said, “Premier League” is back, and all I could think of was Obama Bin Laden and how the liberals are ruining this great country.

I didn’t watch my friends get their faces blown off in Nam to have this great country taken over by heathens and immoral folk.

I didn’t build my paving business from the ground up just to watch my sons run it into the ground and become fat slobs dependent on Pabst Blue Ribbon and hookers for their peace of mind.

My father didn’t toil endlessly in the fields of central Ohio so I could grow up and witness the end of the great American culture, including and not limited to the increase in vegetarianism, homosexuality, hip-hop rap, yoga, and other immoral behaviors.

And now this. Soccer is invading our country and taking over. According to one horrible website, five major league soccer teams are doing better than baseball teams in average attendance.

If your heart isn’t broken then you’re not an American.

If it wasn’t for Osama Obama we wouldn’t be in this position. We should not elect anyone who is not going to stand up for American rights. We have a duty to uphold the constitution, and that includes not letting our sports get ruined and diluted by silly European games like soccer.

George Washington did not sail in a little boat across the Potomac river just to end up rolling in his grave several hundred years later on account of some dumb frenchies who think kicking a ball around is a sport.

Our children deserve better than to run around while kicking a little ball into a net and being rewarded with grapes and oranges. This is not American. What ever happened to rewarding our children with ice cream and soda? I, for one, think we should take our children out to have pizza after a game, not some fancy-pancy veggie parlor with “organic” juice and alfalfa roots. That is just not acceptable.

I understand that some of you may enjoy soccer, and that’s fine, for you. Just keep it to yourselves. Don’t bring it around my neighborhood cause I’ll tell you right now we don’t want it. Keep your kids and their silly shin-guards out of my community cause we don’t want it. Our boys play baseball around here, and if you don’t like it, you can piss off.

Save America. Stop Soccer. Save yourself and bring back real morals to this once great country.

 

Bill McDonald is a member of the Corn Farmers Association of America and lives in Dengle, Indiana with his three children and wife who all prefer baseball over soccer.

 

 

March Insanity: The Plight of the Little Guys

This year marked the first year where I skipped out on March Madness. I feel like madness is fitting here. Not because I felt strangely disinterested in college basketball. No, the real reason I stopped watching is because the NCAA is really about grown men making millions of dollars while kids play basketball and see none of it. Granted, this isn’t anything new. The NCAA is, and has been, broken for a while now and nobody seems interested in doing anything to fix it.

We pretended we cared when we required basketball players to “go to college” for one year before declaring so they could write papers like this. To be honest, Google translate could have written a better paper than that, although it wouldn’t have had to because Rosa Parks’ biography is in English and Google translate doesn’t have free will. Of course, that’s not the point. Google translate wrote this article, but at least I proofread it.

That of course is the problem with America, and most of the world — if there’s money, well, period. Nothing else really matters. Not people’s feelings and certainly not people either. It’s capitalism, and it’s not capitalism at the same time, because the definition of capitalism is not what capitalism actually is nowadays. And while “economists” will claim that capitalism is actually based in altruism, anybody who has actually been alive can see that’s a blatant lie, e.g. Monsanto.

The NCAA, like western capitalism, is a system that could have gone down the right road, yet veered off the highway some twenty plus years ago. After all, our real world sleaziness has allowed us to “build” an “America” that is entirely dependent on China, or any other country where we pay people poor wages to make our shirts, pants, bowls, cups, rugs, furniture, electronics and… athletic jerseys.

So it’s hardly surprising that we’ve one upped the people we’re robbing overseas and have begun robbing our own pint-sized academic, athletic citizens in the guise of “betterment.” Because, honestly, we’re really not giving these kids anything. Not a true education and certainly not money. If we took the basketball players on Florida, UConn, Kentucky and Wisconsin and calculated money earned to money payed out and made some questionable parallels, every one of those people working in factories in China and making US products wouldn’t just be wealthy. They would be bottomlessly, fabulously wealthy. Their bank account would literally read the infinity symbol.

Because we don’t pay these college athletes anything. Not only that, we embarrass and occasionally destroy their futures if they do accept money and we pretend like we actually care about decency and morals. How silly Derrick Rose could have been to let someone else take his SATs and go play basketball under the NCAA’s protective wing, who in turn milked him for all he was worth only to deal him a nice ol’ crack-back when he finally started making his own millions. Memphis was a feel good story. Thank you dear old NCAA for turning them into another Michigan.

All this makes me sick and tired of the NCAA. Their smaller parts (the academic institutions themselves) cover up sexual assault, pedophilia, academic fraud and whatever while the NCAA cries foul after the damage has already been done and lays down bowl tablecloth swipes and scholarship sanctions. After, of course, the NCAA has already pocketed millions of dollars in (literally) sweatshop profits generated from the offenders. The point is, NCAA, if you care, show you care. Take preventive measures. When was the last time you saw an NCAA related infraction that wasn’t at least a year old get reported?

I used to hear the idea that the NCAAB creates a better product than the NBA. That the players care, they actually play defense, they have more “heart.” And while that’s true in some respects (but certainly not all, as there are plenty of NBA players who care and have heart) it’s also misguided. Because the NBA, at the very least, has transparency.

Adam Silver (just like David Stern, god bless his soul) uses grown men to make a lot of money. But that’s okay, because he acknowledges this, and he pays these grown men a lot of money. Even if he should probably pay them a lot more, the underpayment is at least acknowledged. Every ten years or so, the powers that be will sit down with Derek Fisher or some other walking zombie basketball player and they say, “Hey, we’re kind of robbing you, sorry, but it’s just gotta be that way” and the players will shrug because the difference between $175 million and $200 million doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) really matter.

Look, I didn’t watch any March Madness this year because I don’t care anymore. I’m tired. And I’m sad. I heard it was a great tournament, too. Anytime a 7 plays an 8 is a treat. When the little guys win out (even if Kentucky is huge and all of their players are NBA bound), it’s a victory for the world. It makes me smile, because for one brief moment, the people who work hard and fill the world with passion come out on top. It makes me forget that they’re being robbed blind.

There’s enough pain and suffering in the world and sometimes sports just don’t really matter in the universal schemes of big guys squashing little guys. If I’m going to trudge on down to my neighborhood bar and get a few beers and feel sorry about the state of the universe, I prefer to avoid conflict. That means skipping out on NCAA money charades and leaving my phone that was made out of conflict minerals obtained by African children who work 48-hour shifts amidst mudslides and tunnel collapses at home.

Sometimes, you just need to be alone with the stars, drinking local beer out of glasses made in China.

Sochi Apocalypse

 

The Winter Olympics are supposed to be a lot of things. A celebration of the world. An opportunity for us all to come together and not kill each other. A chance to not be a completely terrible and invasive species. Fine sporting and spectating. Binge drinking. Skeleton. Ice coitus dancing. Sweeping brooms in front of giant stones.

Most of all, the Winter Olympics are supposed to be cold. They’re supposed to be as snowy and frigid as Russian-American relations in the mid 80’s. Because that’s what winter is — it’s dark, it’s depressing, it’s cold. It’s bone numbing. Siberian (and Chiberian) misery of epic proportions. Think Lillehammer. Snow, ice, Nordic sweaters, and red noses. Think snow. The cold stuff that you can actually do things on. Not slush. There’s a 7-Eleven down the street.

There should be a new test for the Winter Olympics, one I propose should be effective immediately. The locations should be cold and snowy enough to spur the desire to consume massive amounts of alcohol. Winter should make you want to drink. That’s obviously why alcohol was created — to numb the misery of the human existence when it’s hypothermically low on vitamin D.

Winter should be painful. Your head, shoulders, knees, and toes should hurt. You should always feel a few short steps away from death. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong. There shouldn’t be dolphins and palm trees. None of this should be happening.

It’s not like Russia isn’t cold — honestly, I couldn’t think of a finer country for the Winter Olympics. Some of the best vodka in the world? A country whose winters are so bad, their severity has defeated numerous enemy invaders? Give me that winter. Not this bizarro, 60 degree thing.

Having mountains and snow isn’t enough. Mountains always have snow on them. That’s just how it works. It’s science. They’re really high in the air. Get close enough to your creator and of course he’s going to want to spit on you. That’s why all the humans are down near the ocean. We’re an embarrassment, the proverbial ostrich and we belong in the gutters.

The point of the Winter Olympics is to have something to look forward to during the miserable, cat nights of winter. We’re banking on them being miserable. But if it’s 76 in Miami and it’s 63 in Sochi, who’s going to want to watch the Olympics?

The Vancouver Olympics were the warmest games EVER. The average temperature was nearly 45 degrees. That’s what you get when you host them in a city that’s basically a Canadian version of Seattle and Portland: moderate winters, a ton of rain, and a much higher Canadian quality of life.

Obviously, this is happening because the world is ending. Global warming is real. Everything is dying and it’s our fault (and the cows’ too). Because of this unchecked destruction, we might not have the Winter Olympics soon. Not because it’s too warm, though. Because of the zombie apocalypses. Things are going to get The Walking Dead bad…

Here’s the thing though: if we continue to destroy everything (and at this point, nothing, not even Eric Gagne circa 2003 is a surer thing) contrary to popular belief, the world will actually get much, much colder. Global warming will melt the glaciers, adding a significant amount of fresh water into the ocean, which will disrupt ocean currents, which will cause global temperatures to plummet, which will cause an ice age.

So by all means, when 2016 rolls around, make sure to drive that car two blocks to the grocery store, idle it while your wife runs in to grab a whole bunch of factory farmed, dead animal product and drive back and crank the AC in the house and watch the Summer Olympics. Because in the end, you’re really just contributing to the future of the Winter Games. Long live the Age of Ice.

But all that is beside the point. The world isn’t over just yet. There is still summer, fall, spring, and most importantly, winter. There are plenty of places on this earth that still suck. Where it’s miserably cold and people are downing shots of their national liquor and complaining. Where the drama of the Winter Games should play out.

We owe it to ourselves to find those places.

Richard Sherman and Stanford: Why it Shouldn’t Matter

Richard Sherman’s interview with Erin Andrews brought the haters out of the woodwork. Thankfully, some people chose to defend him. The problem with some of the defense, however, is that it’s just as shortsighted as all of the offense.

How many times do we have to hear that Richard Sherman went to Stanford? Or that he got good grades and nailed his SATs?

Excusing Sherman’s “actions” based on his academic degree – while thankfully not malicious in any way – is still narrow minded. I didn’t see Bill Gates (a Seattle native) all pumped up on national television. Is that because Bill Gates went to Harvard for two years? Or is it because he dropped out?

Sherman’s SAT scores don’t matter much either because it’s the same as name dropping an alma mater. I certainly wouldn’t want people rushing to defend my personality with a number that determined how well I took some outdated and extremely flawed ‘aptitude’ test. There’s also this idea that school isn’t the bees knees either. So why judge someone by their grades?

I care about the people that know Richard Sherman. I care that his coach, other teams’ coaches and reporters who cover the Seahawks respect him. I care that he apologized (even though he didn’t have to). I care about his actions. Richard Sherman, by all accounts, seems like a good guy who yelled loudly and passionately on national TV after a crazy game in a crazier sport.

If you disagree, fine. You’re entitled to that. Just know our ability to hate people for any reason we see fit is becoming destructively obnoxious at this point.

But for everyone rushing to his defense, stop using Stanford and his grades as an escape clause. Defending gray areas with even grayer matter isn’t helping. Saying Richard Sherman is a good person (and not a thug) solely because he attended Stanford and got good grades is unfair to Richard Sherman and to everyone else.

Where you attend college (and how well you did on a bunch of obsolete tests) should never factor into the equation when it comes to holding people accountable for their actions. Academic absolution only works for a select group of people. Besides, if you haven’t noticed, it isn’t working in Sherman’s case anyway.

There are probably many different shades to Richard Sherman and his academic degree is a very small part of who he is. I’m sure he’s proud of those other parts. I say that not because I know who Richard Sherman is (or what Stanford is like) but because he’s a human being and I’m a human being and we most likely share the infinite complexities of human existence.

Breaking Bad: Football’s Power Overdose

(Warning: contains Breaking Bad spoilers)

When I was in the sixth grade, I attempted to sign up for football and started crying instead. One of the coaches saw me and told me football wasn’t about judgement or being strong. It was about “heart” and “believing in yourself.” He was a liar, but I’m glad I listened. I signed up, played defensive end and wide receiver, recovered a fumble, broke a bone, and was nicknamed “Legend.”

I quit two years later, mostly because I discovered running. I have really long legs and it’s just easier in life to run away from things. I was joking about Legend. He existed, somewhere — most likely in Santa Barbara for his sexual hot-tub prowess — but not me, not then, not football. But I’ll always be grateful for that coach who helped out a crying kid and didn’t tab him $15,000 for the Vegas bro-trip.

It’s a pretty powerful thing, football. Check out a map of the United States according to the highest paid public employees. Forty-one states claim a sports coach — a whopping 30 of those are football coaches. We care a lot about it. More than libraries, obviously.

There is that other thing, though, that comes with great power — the thing football doesn’t seem to know much about.  Instead of embracing its great responsibility, football has collapsed inward and upon itself. The result is an overwhelmingly powerful black hole.

By now, we’re sick of hearing about Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, anything to do with CTE and concussions, sexual assault and Jameis Winston, or homophobia and ex-Viking punters. We’ve been exposed to every reaction possible, from stubborn denial and anger to hopeless pleas for institutional change.

Last fall, when the Martin/Incognito Bullygate went down, someone went all Nostradamus on us and said, “all hell is going to break loose.” Smart guy. Here’s the thing — hadn’t hell already broken loose?

There’s that book, League of Denial, after all, which is about football-related brain injuries and the NFL discrediting scientists and claiming the concussion issue in football, “was one of those pack journalism issues, frankly.”

Here’s the truth: Football broke bad a long time ago.

This isn’t Walter White deciding to cook meth. It’s him killing Mike. Picture Adrian Peterson dying beside a river with Roger Goodell mumbling about how all those hits just didn’t seem so bad at the time. “Shut up Roger,” says Adrian. “Let me die in peace.”

Chris Kluwe is football’s latest sacrificial lamb, a punter who was allegedly booted off the Vikings squad for being opinionated about human beings deserving basic civil liberties. He even aligned his situation with poor Tim Tebow’s, saying “Because he (Tebow) brings this other stuff with him, just like I bring my other stuff with me, teams look at it like, ‘We don’t want it. We don’t want players speaking out. We don’t want players doing anything other than football.’

It’s a good point. After the obligatory, “we don’t condone discrimination in any way and will investigate this immediately” statement by the Vikings, speaking out truthfully seems more relevant than ever. The obligatory “we had no idea this was going on” quote has become the de facto “we clearly knew about this and we know you probably know this, so whatever, here’s a lame statement about how we didn’t know about this” NFL guilty plea.

What will most likely follow is the firing of someone, perhaps the glorification of Kluwe, the denunciation of the Vikings, or the fourth coming of Richard Timothy Tebow. The thing is, none of that really matters. Not in the grand scheme of things. This is – and always has been – about the establishment.

Who do you think the Vikings answer to? The Catholic Church? Football is an incredibly profitable machine that has a whole bunch of cogs. It’s not rocket science. Kluwe < Vikings < NFL. The thing is, why are we punishing the low men on the totem pole? Go after the coaches and the organizations all you want, but if a kid goes into his first day of organized school and punches every other kid in the face, is it right to hold the parents completely unaccountable?

All these “transgressions” amount to is football never having to answer for anything. Football – as a whole – gets off scot-free every time. Yet somehow, that’s always overlooked in our (and the media’s) rush to get on the proverbial moral high horse.

Sadly, this isn’t just a professional issue either, as the lack of responsibility can get downright educational. I’m no law expert, but it seems very obvious (and experts agree) that Florida law enforcement completely bungled what should have been an incredibly serious investigation that involved Jameis Winston and the alleged sexual assault of a young female.

Look, there was something sad about watching that National Championship game. Especially the way it ended. It’s sad because there is no such thing as black and white and it’s not like handling sexual assault cases atrociously and ignoring victims is an isolated incident in college football.

I don’t know what happened with Jameis Winston and that girl. Everyone deserves to be treated as innocent until proven otherwise, but the thing is, football – professional and collegiate – really is a black hole when it comes to the evaluation of truth. You can speculate all you want about what happened, but you’d never know the truth until you became a part of the system. Once you’re in, however, there would be no way for you to report back on anything. Nothing escapes football. Not light, not gravity. Certainly not truth.

That’s what is so disappointing — that truth and justice in football will always be warped and clouded by the powers that be.

Some of this is on us, of course. Football is very dear to us and we turn blind eyes when things get ugly. But we have to take some responsibility. We have to stop dragging the red herrings  — Richie Incognito, the Kluwe-haters, the Minnesota Vikings, even Jameis Winston — to the gallows. Because as long as we punish the cogs and not the machine, football will never be threatened because we will have failed to shine our moral flashlights on its rotten core.

Everything is always a product of a bigger environment. There is always a higher power. It needs to answer for something too. Ironically, for all the fuss about the Redskins, there’s something else football stole from Native Americans — tribal sovereignty.

Football is a sport, not a sovereign nation. A judge recently rejected the NFL’s $765 million settlement of concussion claims. It’s a small step in the right direction, sure, but still — is it any wonder $765 million wasn’t enough?

Football needs to be held held accountable, but more importantly, it needs to take some responsibility. And not just financially. The sport I played in sixth grade seemed to be about knocking people down and helping them back up. Not kicking their skull in.

So it’s up to you, football. Your move.