When we last left our good friend and disgraced radio reporter Craig Schaller, he was busy playing the role of contrarian iconoclast, taking our greatest heroes, tightrope-walkers, down a notch or two. Why, they were getting so high and mighty, you'd have thought they were Korean!
Well, since then, as you might have heard, some bad things have happened in the world. Foremost amongst them is the arrest of New England Patriot and noted Tim Tebow friend, Aaron Hernandez, for murder.
This heinous and alleged crime seems to have awoken our dear columnist. Not content with hacky sportswriting tropes, he is going to create a whole new paradigm for all of you. In his latest column, he puts forth the bold idea that Mr. Hernandez's woes may - get this - not just be an isolated incident, but instead, a product of a culture or something it's really hard to tell because this whole article makes no sense.
Let's read! But first we'll need a catchy headline - you know, something that is clever, or maybe a play on words, or something. We want it to be memorable. How about...
GANGBANGER CULTURE IS HURTING THE NFL
Aaron Hernandez arrest on murder charges is the latest black eye for the NFL, and the players who play in the league. The big question lately seems to be, "Is the level of law breaking and criminality in the NFL more than it is in the rest of society?"
That certainly is the big question. Or, at least, it seems to be. Wait, that actually seems to be a pretty stupid question. Nevertheless, I'm sure that we'll tackle this issue in a well-thought-out manner, one that deals with the various levels of nuance and-
I would have to say the answer to that query is an unquestioned "YES".
Unquestioned, huh? Well, I'm sure that you'll back that up with some stats or dat-
The stats don't show it and the data is really not there to back it up, but in my opinion, there are far more criminals and ne'er do wells in the NFL than the rest of society.
Craig's got a point here. He's sharpened the end of a stick he found lying around. No, Craig, put it down! Craig, don't swing it around by your eye! [sigh] Fine, whatever. It's the only way he'll learn.
Anyway, back to the column. This is an incredibly stupid paragraph, for the following reasons:
1. Craig admits, from the get-go, that there is no basis for what he is about to write.
2. In fact, Craig states that, were one to research his statement, they would find the truth to be the opposite of what he is about to write.
3. Notwithstanding #2, it's pretty evident that Craig hasn't actually done any research, and is just writing out of his ass here.
4. Craig states what should be an objective and measurable fact as an opinion.
5. Craig states this opiniofact in absolute terms, which, read literally, suggests that there are more criminals and "ne'er do wells" in the NFL than in all the rest of society.
6. Craig uses the phrase "ne'er do wells" and it is not Victorian England.
Not only has Hernandez been charged with murder in the death of semi pro football player Odin Lloyd, but word is that he is also being investigated in a drive-by murder last year, a bar fight in 2007 when still in college, and in numerous other crimes. This is obviously not a sweet guy.
"I dare say, gentle reader, this I might even consider him to be something of a sourpuss."
It is truly amazing to me that all these pampered athletes, playing a game for a living and living out their dream on multi-million dollar contracts can be so foolish.
Craig, a lot of things are amazing to you. Every day, you stand by your car repeatedly hitting the 'lock' button on the key remote, giggling uncontrollably for 20 minutes.
The question is "Why?". Why are so many of these athletes so immature, unthinking and stupid? The way I see it, the answer is—it's the culture. The culture of gangbanging, in-your-face, inner city, gangland, "don't you dis respect me", punkery.
Finally, we're getting to some hard science, here.
I'm certainly not the only one who thinks this.
Certainly, you're not, Craig. I'm sure any number of prominent thinkkkers sure your opinions.
Surely, you'll bring out some learned and well-respected public figure, someone who commands universal acclaim and respect, someone whose credentials are untarnished, to support you in this.
Journalist Geraldo Rivera
...recently weighed in on the Hernandez arrest, and the rest of the punks in the NFL. Rivera, speaking on Fox News, says the NFL has a gang culture:
Well, maybe if he's speaking on Fox News, the two things will cancel each other out and we'll get a reasoned opinion. That's how that works, right?
"[Hernandez's] got the gang tattoos all over him," Rivera said. "[The killing of Odin Lloyd] wasn't even in the heat of passion. It wasn't a beef over a girlfriend. What it was is, 'You have offended my macho pride. Now I'm going to, y'know, do this kind of, jungle ethos. I'm gonna hunt you down; I'm gonna kill you. How dare you disrespect me.'"
"It wasn't even a reasonable murder, such as would have been the case had it been in a dispute over ownership of a woman!"
Rivera continued: "I don't know why the league ... doesn't have minders, how the agents who are collecting 10 percent of $40 million ... Where are they in all of this? Why aren't they mentoring these young men ... Ray Lewis and all of the rest. Michael Vick. You can count them. There's a ton of them. They sign them because they're superb athletes and doing nothing to preserve their character and put them on the right road."
Why don't these young black men have someone to keep them in line? An "overseer", if you will? That sounds like it should work.
I couldn't agree with Geraldo more. The sad thing is, there is little to nothing the NFL can do about it, "minders" or not.
"I agree with you, Geraldo. The NFL should appoint "minders" to oversee its players. Because that would never work."
Now, to this point, the article has been mind-explodingly stupid, I think you'll all agree. But, to this point, it's only verged onto dog-whistle racism. Craig was just breathing in, though...
Football is a violent sport, and most of the participants are violent individuals. Most are not suburban, white bread, nice, pleasant, "boys next door" type guys. For the most part, they are blue collar kids from farms or ghettos. They have been brought up in a culture of violence. It is a culture of tattoos, treating women as property, and dealing with conflicts with your fists, instead of your mind. This is not just an NFL issue though. It's an issue for the entire culture.
Why do I get the feeling that the first draft of this paragraph didn't have the word "farms" in it? Also, why do I get the feeling that the second draft is stained with drool and wing sauce?
Many players have had mental problems (Lawrence Phillps, Barrett Robbins, Jovan Belcher). Many have had issues with steroids (John Matuszak, Lyle Alzado, Bill Romanowski). Some have committed suicide (Junior Seau, Belcher, Dave Duerson). Finally, many others have had much publicized issues of driving drunk, drugs or domestic violence (Chad Johnson, Leonard Little, Travis Henry, Pacman Jones, Titus Young).
Many of the words in this paragraph have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of your column.
This is not just a trend. This is becoming a way of life.
Especially the suicide part!
When will it end? Sadly, I don't think it will. As long as a player has size, speed or talent, there is going to be a team willing to sign him. The NFL has tried, and no doubt will continue to try to reduce the "gang element" in the game. Remember a few years back when the NFL outlawed that "throat slash" gesture after touchdowns or big plays? There is only so much the league can do though.
[Roger Goodell throws up his hands in despair] "What more can they expect from us? Gang violence by players during games decreased 7.9% since we got rid of the throat slashing. I'M ONLY ONE MAN!!!" [sobs into arms]
This is a problem that starts in early childhood. In today's day and age of high divorce rates, single family households, and children at home with little to no supervision and no male role models, it will continue to perpetuate itself. So many of these kids, who will grow up to be professional athletes, will continue to grow up on their own, doing whatever they want to do, without anyone to tell them it's wrong.
I mean, you can't expect a child's mother to instill a moral code in them? She's just a woman, after all. And, as college football programs all over the country have shown, there is nothing more beneficial to a young athlete than having a strong male presence, preferably one who is considered infallible by all those around him, to steer young men in the right direction.
Aaron Hernandez will not just be a cautionary tale. I think it may eventually be just the tip of the iceberg.
[breaks icicle off iceberg]
[stabs self in heart]