With many claiming that the awful shooting in Tucson, AZ was due to the vitriolic political rhetoric that currently engulfs the airwaves, it’s really time to take stock of a lot of things in life. Specifically, let’s look at the harmful, caustic rhetoric that is used in sports. Sports are very popular, thus, very influential. Think of some of the terrible terms that we use everyday in sports talk that most likely contributed to terrible events such as Tucson, Columbine, the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11.
Here are some items compiled by the OTR staff that prove our point. Sports rhetoric is indeed tearing this country apart by the seams.
-The Tomahawk Chop: Really, Atlanta Braves and Florida St.? Why don’t you just go buy knives for a bunch street gangs and help them stab the people that never paid up on that dime bag from last week? That would be a lot cheaper and easier than what you are doing now. Hey, Bobby Cox….look down at your hands. Yep, that’s blood.
-The throat slash gesture: Originally intended to signify a play that just essentially ended the game, it ended up killing millions of teenagers in cold blood. No wonder so many leagues did the right thing and banned it. How many childless mothers are out there that wish they banned it much sooner?
-Shotgun formation: The NFL tells us all the time how much it cares about player safety. They have cracked down on concussions by levying huge fines on players who lead with their helmets on defenseless players. However, they allow formations to be called “shotguns!?” Oh heavens. We saw a recent headline today that said “Goodell Optimistic About NFL Labor Agreement.” It might as well have read: “Goodell Buys Shotguns for Teenagers and Encourages Black-on-Black Crime.” We don’t know for sure if Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris used shotguns at Columbine, but if they did? CASE. RESTED.
-Washington Bullets: This is exactly the kind of forward thinking that we need. Reviled in Washington, D.C., Ted Leonsis is actually a prescient visionary. He knew that there would be tons of horrific shootings all over the country (and beyond) if he didn’t change the name of his basketball team. Sure, Tucson happened. But how many didn’t happen because of this name change?
-Washington Wizards: And now we actually have a problem with Leonsis. Sure, he got rid of the awful Bullets moniker, but Wizards?? Have you seen the destructive effects of some of those god damned spells those people cast? Leonsis is walking a line here, and we don’t like it one bit.
-Philadelphia 76ers mascot Hip Hop: How can a big, stuffed bunny rabbit running around shooting free t-shirts into the stands be inciting and promoting violence? Because I constantly want to beat the shit out of it, that’s how.
-The Bomb: It’s a term used to describe a long, deep throw in football. Ask a Japanese person if they think that’s funny. There aren’t many Japanese players in the NFL, coincidentally.
-Slashing penalty: If you hear certain words or terms enough, it becomes desensitizing. They don’t have any effect anymore because we are just so used to hearing them. If you watch enough hockey, the term “slashing” will have all but lost it’s true meaning. Think of what this has done to the northern part of the United States of America. Do you know how many people were “slashed” and killed with knives in 2010 in that part of the country? We aren’t sure, but it’s probably a lot. Just something to think about the next time you go to the arena and say it’s “just” a hockey game.
-The Steal: In basketball, if you take the ball away from another player, they call it a “steal.” And we hear pundits all the time talking about, “Allen Iverson led the league in steals,” or “Alvin Robertson had a ton of steals last night.” I mean….you don’t think kids look up to these guys? How many burglaries wouldn’t have happened in 2010 alone if they said, “Allen Iverson led the league in taking the ball from the other team at a time when they would have really preferred that he didn’t”? Is it really that hard? This goes for baseball too!
-Hockey players wearing Jason mask: Why does everyone remember the vicious and barbaric “Friday the 13th” movies? Because the NHL won’t let us forget! Really? You don’t have anything else to protect your face? It’s like rubbing murder in the faces of children.
We think we’ve made our point. It’s very important that politicians, and the media that covers them, do their best to tone down their hateful and vile rhetoric. But, the sports world could do their part as well. So, the next time you want to say a pitcher threw a “nasty cutter,” or a player was “gunned down at the plate,” why don’t you stop and think for a minute? Think how your words could affect a loved one, or maybe someone you don’t even know. You certainly wouldn’t want to walk around with the guilt that you helped cause the next 9/11 over a stupid Mets game.