An explanation on what happened and why is not needed. That will be discussed and debated over the upcoming days by those closer to the situation. The biggest tragedy is a little girl has been left without either parent, because of the actions of one. That needs to be kept in the forefront of an incident that cannot be explained to anyone’s satisfaction.
The game was played on Sunday, even though there was superficial discussion to cancel or postpone it. But in reality, where would they move it to? There are no “rain dates” in the NFL. There are bye weeks, but the Chiefs had there’s weeks ago.
The NFL is big business. Without being callous, the odds were better Commissioner Roger Goodell would step down than the game canceled or moved. Tickets were sold, Carolina was on their way. Too much money was to be made and the league was not going to turn their heads to that. After all, the NFL is the biggest money making machine we have in their country. The league will stop at nothing for any team. Even when the league stops, every team stops, not just one. As witnessed the weekend after September 11, 2001.
Goodell wants to make fans believe this game is a family affair. Off the field he tries to stop drinking at games, foul language and tailgating. On the field rules are instituted to alleviate concussions, protect the quarterbacks at all costs and “defenseless” receivers. There is even talk blocking below the waist will be eliminated after the season.
To that point, Goodell made sure there was a moment of silence before the game, supposedly for those who have suffered from domestic violence. A noble idea, but one that was commonly misunderstood as a tribute to someone who ended two lives and possibly scarred a child for life. An egotistical move by a league that doesn’t care about fans or players, only making money. Never was it more prevalent than this past Sunday.
Jason Whitlock and Bob Costas have taken substantial grief over the past 36 hours for their comments on this situation and what many feel was a social indictment on gun control. If you want controversy and upheaval in America, simply raise the possibility of handguns being further regulated or even abolished. Whitlock brought that to the attention of many in his article on Sunday. Costas quoted a portion of the article during halftime of the Sunday night game, which led gun advocates to flood the airwaves with dissatisfaction over that kind of statement during a football game.
Paraphrasing Costas Sunday, incidents like this puts the game into perspective. Do we need perspective when watching sports? We can escape our lives for a few hours and envelope ourselves into the game, yell at the television and enthusiastically support our teams. It’s a way for some to relive their childhood or dream of something they could never accomplish. Why should life interfere?
But we also watch football for the violence. We love the aspect of a defenseless receiver being hit and crumble to the ground. We watch auto racing not because we like seeing cars drive in circles. It’s because of the wrecks and these drivers putting their lives on the line in every race. But even NASCAR and Indy Car racing have the good sense to cancel races when tragedy strikes. Not the NFL.
Gun control is something smarter minds will eventually debate, possibly smarter minds than Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock. Is a football game the spot for that debate? Probably not, however the game is not the place for what happened Saturday in Kansas City. The gun was the instrument of the violence and opinions will vary from person to person. I agree you cannot say if a gun wasn’t involved the deaths wouldn’t have happened. However you can say if a gun wasn’t immediately available the culprit may have had time to think about the situation and it would have been handled differently.
Perhaps the best statement made over the weekend was by Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News Sunday when he asked a pointed, yet revealing question. When speaking of the availability of guns and if the gun is responsible for murders or the person pulling the trigger, Lupica asks “how many home runs did Babe Ruth hit without a bat?”