Monday, August 06, 2012

Something Rotten in Football

Yes, of course, there may be rottenness lurking under the jerseys of every sport in America, pro and am. And the probability of that corruption is huge.

But I only get really exercised about the stuff that gets reported in the news.

Joe Paterno sold his soul and his family’s good name to ensure that money would keep flowing to Penn State’s football franchise and to keep alive the myth and lies about his own coaching prowess. To do this, he had to enable, abet and promote Jerry Sandusky’s pedophile crimes.

And yesterday in Philadelphia, when Eagle’s coach Andy Reid’s son Garrett Reid was found dead in his training camp dorm room, Andy Reid apologized to his fans for the disruption his son’s death caused in Eagles’ affairs.

This apology seemed to be met with approval not horror by the fans.

Since the report of Garrett’s death, we have been hearing about how much Andy Reid loved his sons and how much of a family man he is. And we’ve seen on TV the outpouring of grief from fans, and the spontaneous altars of grief that have sprung up. The PR message is that we will never know how much Andy Reid is grieving but that he knows what Eagles fans want and need and therefore, Reid will be back at work where he feels he should be this coming Thursday.

Here’s the thing…the point is not that we don’t know what Andy is going through inside. The point is that the front office has decided the fans want to hear about football not about grief, and therefore, on with the show.

This is alarming.

It surely doesn’t matter that I believe Andy Reid loves football and his own image more than he has ever loved his family. And it doesn’t matter whether Andy Reid’s personality has been formed by his career or his career has formed Andy Reid. What matters is that the Industry of Football once again appears to be soulless and greedy. And the fans of the Industry of Football have approved this perception wholeheartedly while giving lip service to knee-jerk sympathies and pieties.

Frankly, I don’t care if Andy Reid has been such a jerk as a father that his sons Garrett and Britt have been in trouble for years. What I would like to have seen is the Eagles’ front office giving Andy Reid three to four weeks off to grieve and get counseling whether he wanted it or not. I would like to have seen the Front Office turn coaching and training over to assistants. I don’t care if this would have cost the Eagles money. And I don’t care if it would have gone against Andy Reid’s grain.

A son of a major NFC coach lay dead in the Eagles training camp dorm room yesterday. After that event, it is not business as usual. The show should not go on. It’s time for the Football Industry and its fans to take stock. The fans have become as corrupted as the Front Offices. 

Attention must be paid.

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