Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Good Character Guys"

I made a snotty aside to this in my SB post, ("God hates Chicago"), but overt religiosity by athletes/coaches has always bugged me. First, I suspect that the whole point-to-the-sky thing is a less overt version of the sack dance. Yet another way of saying "look at me." Poster child for this was always Cris Carter, who was by most accounts a complete prick during his playing days. So, color me cynical when I suggest that his 'thanks-to-God' schtick was just that*. Second, there's the sheer ridiculousness and arrogance of suggesting that God cares about a football game. I'm reminded of the Chris Rock bit where, imitating a losing boxer interviewed after the fight, he says "I was doing fine, until Jesus came down and busted me in my ribs." Third, what are we really talking about here? Tony Dungy, such a great guy. Except when he isn't (via Dwil):
Virtually every article about Colts coach Tony Dungy praises him as a devoted family man of deep religious values. But Dungy’s values do not extend to tolerance for gays, which is why he will be the honored guest for Indiana’s leading anti-gay political organization.
For all the hagiography about the Colts "doing it the right way" that we've heard in the last few days, you wouldn't suspect such open bigotry. Even understanding that prop sports in general and the NFL in particular are not especially welcoming to non-heterosexuals, this is surprising and disappointing. Though upon reflection, I shouldn't be either surprised or disappointed. I'm in no position to offer a lecture or to pontificate about why Dungy has any special responsibility to gay people. But am I off base in wondering why this is both ok and not a bigger story, nationally? Instead of focusing on such trivia as a candy bar ad, why are we not talking about this great guy, Tony Dungy, being honored by a group who's main purpose seems to be to deny rights to their fellow citizens?

Which leads me question what we mean by having a team full of "good character guys." Peyton Manning just might be an asshole, but he's a "good talker," so he gets a pass. Allen Iverson shows real erudition at times, but he's surly at others and vaguely scary, so he's a "bad character guy." How do we know enough about any of these guys to say? It would be different if we had personal knowledge. I've interacted with a few pro athletes, enough to say that he's a good guy, and by proxy, so is he; Randy Moss is in fact a jackass. But beyond that, what the hell do I know? And why should I base my opinion of them on their ability to conjugate a verb or not have tattoos?


*I'm not doubting that Carter was and is a very religious man, giving his recovery from substance abuse. However, I doubt very much that he is praising God, instead inviting you to praise or at least notice Carter.

8 comments:

Icepick said...

"Yeeeeaaaahhhh Booooiiiii!"

Tim said...

Well done, sir.

A very well reasoned polemic.



(I too met JT a couple of times, including back in his senior year at Roosevelt, and found him to be a great guy.)

Kaiser said...

Great post and even better topic.

Wait, how do YOU know Randy Moss is an ass? Oh right...

Hops said...

Kaiser and I debated your post for most of the afternoon. Let's assume it was an intelligent, reasoned, and incredibly interesting lesson in discourse.

Pooh said...

Awesome, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Except it was actually your thoughts about your thoughts. How very meta...

Pooh said...

Wait, how do YOU know Randy Moss is an ass?

"I wouldn't try to cheat you, buddy."

The "Buddy" kills me every time I think of that one...

(For those of you not following, the above quote was Kaiser winning an argument over a call in a game of pickup basketball with Mr. Moss by refusing to acknowledge that he was Randy Moss...)

reader_iam said...

My mind focuses on trivia because, of course, it is trivial.

yogo said...

The "buddy" is excellent.