Thinkofone's Blog

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The trouble is beyond the NFL…

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Yes, you heard me, the trouble is beyond the NFL, and no matter how much they try to fix it, it’s not fixable. Sort of like ISIS. You can’t kill it, it will just keep popping up, just under another name, and more menacing than the last. Former coach Herman Edwards was on Mike and Mike, and he spoke to “getting it right”, meaning the response the NFL and teams have to make when confronted with high profile issues with their players, which the flavor of the moment is, “domestic violence”. The league’s policy is quite simple. Let the circumstances play themselves out in court, and address the punishment through the proper guidelines through the NFLPA agreement as well as consultation with the player. The NFL is not in the business of doing what the courts do, which is to investigate, charge, and convict if necessary. That’s why it seems as if they are sitting around waiting before handing out discipline if necessary, it’s called due process.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trivializing it, it’s wrong, plain and simple, but, it’s been going on for a while now, and, unfortunately, Ray Rice is going to be made out as the poster child for this. Less than 5% of NFL players have these issues, which is less than greater society, but, because of the magnifying glass they are under, and because they are black(yep I said it), it’s huge earthshaking news. Sponsors, Governors, Congresswomen and now even Oprah are chiming in on it. Again, his act was despicable and wrong, but, Ray should not be made the poster child, or at least, the moment of clarity for what’s been going on. He should not be castrated, neither physically or financially. He is going to appeal the NFL ruling on his expulsion from the league, and rightly so, according to the rules and regulations of NFLPA, he cannot be penalized twice for the same infraction. You may not agree with it, but he has a strong case as to why he already paid the penalty for his infraction, told the true as to what happened in the elevator, and should be reinstated. There are several examples as to what is going on here, and the first one is Michael Vic and Ben Roethlisberger. Or better yet, I use it as MY famous line when something like domestic violence happens in the NFL or something similar before Ray Rice:

“You can rape Becky, but don’t touch rover”.

I should patent that line. Many don’t get it, but once I start explaining it, some of you get the picture ( those of you who don’t treat dogs like humans ). As a side note, always remember… a dog, is just a dog.. .anyway. Becky is a fictional character, who has been accosted (raped, assaulted, groped, almost raped, etc.) by an athlete, regardless of the sport. Usually, the athlete gets off with a hand slap while the woman is at times labeled a slut, and at the most, paid off to keep quiet about the incident.

But not in the case of Michael Vic. Michael Vic was tried and convicted of several crimes for funding an illegal dog fighting club. The Humane Society was even quoted in saying they wanted to make him the “Poster Child” of dog fighting, to stop it in its tracks. Michael Vic at the time was the highest paid player in the NFL, was terminated from his contract, had to pay huge fines of millions of dollars, did several years jail time, and basically was financially emasculated… ( a more painful version of castration). Mike was deprived of some of his most productive years both financially and athletically in his sport. People were up in arms about this. Dog fighting still goes on by the way….

Ben Roethlisberger is a super bowl champion twice over. Quarterback of the famed Pittsburg Steelers. Loved by many. Super Quarterback. He has also been accused of not one, but two sexual assault charges that were eventually dropped or paid off ( paid to go away). The NFL charge him with violating the personal conduct policy and enforced a 6 game suspension, that was eventually reduced to four. Are you now seeing the Rover vs Becky analogy? As a side note, I’m just wondering, where was all the outrage that is currently flooding the NFL back when these allegations were going on? And, by the way, assaults on woman have raged on….

Now, I’m going to mention two athletes to you that you may be familiar with, that are not in the news but, have done things the right way. The first one is Grant Hill, professional basketball player who played at Duke. Won a National championship. Played for the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, etc. Son of Calvin Hill who attended Yale University and Played for the Dallas Cowboys, and super bowl champion. His mother is Janet Hill, attended Wellesley College, roomed with Hillary Clinton, attended law school, etc… Grant Married singer Tamia, and have two children.

The next is Shane Battier. Played at Duke and won a national championship. Played 13 years in the NBA. 2 time NBA champion, and in my opinion, is the reason why the Miami heat took their first championship, he was the “Charlie Hustle” of the team. Numerous individual and team awards, Married his high school sweetheart, has two children.

What in common do these two have? Playing basketball? Making lots of money? playing for Mike Kryzewski at Duke? Nope. It’s great parenting, and coachable and responsible kids. A value system taught early on and carried out through adulthood. Models in their community and in the league they play in. That value system is rooted in on word; RESPECT.

Now… Let me tell you a story. I’ve coached in a few places now, and the dichotomy cannot be any closer than the western half of South America to the eastern half of Southeast Asia. At Cranbrook as well as Bloomfield Hills Lahser, and NFWB Viking, I’ve coached some excellent kids. Well behaved kids. Kids who have been raised by good parents, married, divorced, or single. The best kids I’ve coached are the ones that I attended high school with their parent(s), hands down, the absolute best of the best. Now, of note, the kids of Cranbrook and Lahser are from the richest community in the state of Michigan, Bloomfield hills. Before the crash it was ranked in the top 5 as the richest in the country. Some of those kids drove cars to practice like two seater Audi’s, Volvos, and even a Jag. Yet, they were still coachable, all of them. Those kids were taught one valuable quality, and that was, RESPECT, and they respected me as their coach, and as a person.

Now, the flip side. I’m currently helping coach some kids in the Maryland/Baltimore area that are ages 9-11. Kids that some come from challenging areas. When I first started, I said to myself, “finally, an opportunity to coach come under privileged black kids”. Perhaps make difference, be a role model, influence, etc….

I’m not sure it’s working out that way. For the first time in my life, I may be out of my league, out of my element. The main issue I have with the kids I’m currently coaching is…. LACK OF RESPECT. They don’t respect me, period. They don’t respect any form of criticism, or any form of coaching. You almost have to yell at them constantly to get them to do what they should have a passion to do in the first place. How can I coach someone who refuses to tie their shoes in practice. Don’t get me wrong, they are very athletic, probably some of the most athletic kids I’ve ever coached. I started out with the older group, and had the same issues, no eye contact, no respect, and almost no discipline. Now, I began to get through to some of them, by purchasing some American classic at the book store and distributing it to them in order to get them to think on terms of academics along with football, because they go hand in hand. Some got it, most didn’t. Most didn’t even know the name of the title of the book I had given to them when I quizzed them on it while in football drills. “Reading is the most fundamental thing you can do, how can I give you a playbook when you don’t even read the things I ask you to”. A male parent walked out to me and said, “Coach, that’s what I’m talking about, you’re trying to teach them academics while coaching them, it’s too bad most won’t appreciate it”.

Now, trust me, the lack of respect continues through high school, where many of these players will become star athletes. I mean star athletes, they are extremely athletic and would make college coach’s drool at the prospect of getting them on their team. What these kids lack is the knowledge to get them out into the world, a plan, focus, discipline, and RESPECT. So, now this kids is coddled, gets to college/university and segregated with other athletes in programs and curriculums just to keep them eligible, with a low prospect of graduating. Along the way, they get what they want, through boosters of the program, some cash, and woman, but with no social skills and no real applicable skills to get and maintain a job. Just athletics, and that’s wrong.

So now here you come along. You, the fine sexy college coed, ready to jump on the bandwagon of the soon to be pro. Cute face, round hips, nice chest and juicy you know what. All ready and nicely wrapped for the handsomely chiseled athlete who has no clue outside of 100 yards of a football field. As Robin Givens once put it, “I liked the street in him, his rawness and how tough he was”. That was her description of then Champ Mike Tyson, who by the way, ended up assaulting her. Heck, if you just wanted that, I could have shown you some brutha’s on Chene and Warren hanging out ( a dubious eastside intersection in Detroit ), and could have fulfilled that dream for you. But it wasn’t just his rawness Robin, it was his money.

Your relationship may seem fine at first because of it’s newness, and his attention to you because quite frankly, he’s never had that before, or at least not to that level. His life has been totally encased in being an athlete, without a true appreciate of art, humanities, poetry, reading, writing, real music, psychology, math,science, socialization, religion, and humility. Little do you know what you’re getting yourself into. A self serving person who is not concerned with anything but getting his way. That’s why it was easy for the current Heisman Trophy winner to walk out of a store stealing crab legs, and using the excuse that he forgot to pay. Once he meets up with someone who will challenge him and his manhood ( which is how he’s going to interpret it ), he may lash out, in ways that only he knows, because, he doesn’t know any other way. He’s know nothing about what women are all about, and what is a good fit for him. All he knows is the attention that you have given him, at the right time in his life.

So now he’s a pro, and you’re his “angel”, as Ray Rice referred to his fiancé in their statement to the public. You have a child and a life together. You engaged to him, you love him. So why did he treat you like a punching bag? Why in your frustration did you spit on him? Why did he partially drag you off the elevator, and even kick you as you laid unconscious. It’s because he’s been coddled, exploited for his athletic ability, no social skills, no humility, and no respect for YOU….

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