By "Radical" Russ Belville
This Sunday, anyone who reads the blog or follows the show knows I will be dressed ridiculously and cheering my voice hoarse for my beloved Twelve-Time World Champion Mighty Green Bay Packers. Football fanaticism is probably the only non-marijuana related thing I do.
So I can’t help but think about how reprehensible the NFL considers marijuana and its consumers.
This Sunday, the Packers Clay Matthews and BJ Raji will be sacking Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. According to the reports, Big Ben has been accused twice by women of being that big dumb aggressive hyper-macho thinks-he’s-a-sex-machine entitled predator jock we all knew and loathed in high school. The woman never pressed rape or sexual assault charges but she pointedly did not retract her story. My thought is that a 20-year-old woman who was drunk realizes she hasn’t much of a shot in court against a multi-millionaire celebrity and she would only damage her life and reputation by proceeding.
The NFL, in response, suspended Big Ben for six games, which the commissioner then reduced to four games for “good behavior”.
You know who else got suspended four games by the NFL? Ricky Williams in 2004 for failing a pee test for medical marijuana use. Yeah, I know, marijuana’s illegal and not even medical use is allowed in Florida (Williams was with the Miami Dolphins at the time) and it is banned by the NFL, yada yada yada. Even if you subscribe to the notion that bulked-up he-men regularly injected with massive amounts of painkillers by team doctors should be banned from smoking a dried flower, is it equally as bad as abusing two young women?
Santonio Holmes won a Super Bowl for the Steelers a few years ago. He was ousted by those Steelers while playing for the Jets this year for the right to be in this Super Bowl. He also was suspended four games by the NFL for marijuana use.
My beloved Packers traded their legendary QB (whose name escapes me, must be the marijuana) to the Jets, where he then tried picking up on a young lady (whose last name spells “regrets” backwards) by allegedly texting her pictures of his Green Bay Pecker (because that always works!) None of this behavior earned any suspension for #4, the guy we cheered and supported as he stood by his wife in her battle with breast cancer.
There was also the story this year of the Azteca reporter, Ines Sainz, being verbally harassed by the Jets players in the locker room. (Fellas, mentally harass – I sympathize, but keep a civil tongue.) The NFL concluded that “she was never bumped, touched, brushed against or otherwise subjected to any physical contact by any player or coach”, so nobody was fined or punished (but a new sexual harassment training program will be implemented).
Message received. In the NFL, the non-physical abusive behavior towards women earns you bad headlines and a boring workplace lecture. The worst abusive behavior toward the ladies earns you at most a suspension equal to smoking pot.
Then there is the case of Michael Vick. The man admits to drowning, body slamming, hanging, and electrocuting (with jumper cables!) the dogs he was training to viciously fight one another for his and his friends’ sadistic gambling entertainment. Now, the NFL did suspend him indefinitely and he did go to prison for eighteen months. But then, this year, the NFL welcomed him back, saying “it is intended to maximize the prospect that you can successfully resume your career and your life.” Unlike seven dogs.
The NFL also reinstated the aforementioned Ricky Williams. He had been indefinitely suspended for, interesting coincidence, eighteen months. Williams also had to go to 5½ months of rehab for marijuana, which he had been using for his severe social anxiety disorder.
Message received: If you do something so vile, so heinous, so barbaric as drowning, body slamming, hanging, and electrocuting dogs or failing a marijuana test four times, the NFL will suspend you indefinitely for eighteen months, then welcome you back to successfully resume your career and your life.
I love the NFL but its moral bearings are a little out of whack. If they really are trying to hold up athletes as role models who must be punished for marijuana lest the children emulate their dope smoking ways, then then that principle must be applied more severely to the dog killers and sexual predators. Big Ben’s six game suspension should have stood and Mike Vick should be looking for work in the Arena Football League (if they’d have him).