Okay, I come to this with a pre-existing bias. Football, I’ve pontificated here and elsewhere many times before, is one of the dumbest-assed games imaginable.
I mean, how can you root for a pro football team when your favorite players are likely to have their knees folded sideways at any given moment in the big game? That and the game represents all the most dearly held fetishes of the Republican Party: the forceful acquisition of real estate, corporate welfare, violence, extreme obeisance to authority, regressive labor subjugation, and the only role for women in it is as scantily-clad window dressing. So, yeah, I’m likely to cherry-pick evidence that the game ranks somewhere on the spectrum of crimes against humanity. But, honestly, how can you explain these two stories of the past weekend?
◗ Superstar running back Adrian Peterson played a football game Sunday, a mere two days after his two-year old child died. The kid died due to injuries suffered from an alleged beating at the hands of his mother’s current boyfriend.
Peterson is the best player on the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings played the Carolina Panthers, an historically mediocre team. The Vikings themselves seem to be on a fast track to last place this year. So, this game did not mean anything in the larger scheme of things, even if that scheme includes an undue and ghoulish preoccupation with the Vikings’ final record for the 2013 season, considering the circumstances.
Even with their superstar running back, the Vikes lost to the mediocre Carolina Panthers 35-10 yesterday. There will not be a championship parade in Minneapolis next winter after the Super Bowl. But even if the Vikings and their fans had a realistic hope of winning the NFL’s big prize, wouldn’t a father want to take some time to remember his son and to help the kid’s mother get through this horrifying time? Is football that important?
To Peterson it is. It was also important to him to send a text message to Laura Okmin, a Fox Sports reporter, explaining his decision. Here’s the message, a screenshot from the Fox Sports broadcast of the game:
So god told him to play. God, apparently, thinks fathers (and brothers) should be playing football rather than grieving over their lost sons (and siblings). I would like to think that Adrian Peterson might have spent his Sunday afternoon helping to console the kid’s mother or assisting with whatever arrangements that need to be made.
But, of course, god “wants good” to come of the kid’s death. Peterson did score a touchdown, so all is right with the world.
Peterson told another reporter the idea of not playing never even crossed his mind. “It was all about praying to god for the strength to get through and help my teammates,” he said.
No mention was made of the kid.
◗ Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub suffered an injury on a play Sunday afternoon against the St. Louis Rams. Schaub had been sacked and as some several hundred pounds of humanity was lifted off of him, he lay on the turf holding his lower leg and writhing in pain.
As Schaub lay on the ground, the agony clearly visible on his face, the loyal Houston fans cheered. No, not for Schaub being courageous and steely and a game warrior. They cheered because maybe, just maybe, they’d get a new quarterback. Huzzah! Turns out he’d hurt his ankle badly enough that he was unable to continue to play in the game.
Houston fans got what they wanted.
See, Schaub has committed the unforgivable sin of not being the best quarterback in the league. He hasn’t allowed the city of Houston to climb on his back so that he might carry them single-handedly to a Super Bowl victory.
Why, it’s positively unpardonable.
Instead, Schaub got his limb turned into a gruesome origami and — voila! — now Texan fans have hope again.
I’m torn now. I don’t know who is more loathsome, pro football players or pro football fans.
Baseball & Football
A master at work.