"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On Tebow Time and Having/Eating Cake

Hey, so Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos, Tebow traded to [Jets? as of this writing, it's not 100% certain].

Some people are upset that Tebow Time is over. Some people say it's unfair, because he's such a great guy, such a hard worker, such a [insert positive attribute that has little or nothing to do with football here].

Bill Plaschke writes:
I want to believe that, in a sport littered with all the second chances given former convicts and miscreants and Hall of Fame quarterbacks with troublesome necks, Tim Tebow will get more than just one.
Welcome to the rape culture, friend. The rape culture does not allow you to have your cake and eat it too.

The NFL is a meritocracy--as close to a true meritocracy as we're likely to find in our society, in fact. Whether you're a rapist or a choirboy, the NFL does not give one shit about you unless you're good at your job--which is playing football.

Now, I don't know what Bill Plaschke said when everyone was talking about Ben Roethlisberger and/or Michael Vick. I don't wish to imply that Mr. Plaschke is the sole target of this post; however, I do think he's articulated a thought that a lot of the public has right now: that Tim Tebow should be given a chance because he's such a "good guy".

I don't know if he's really a good guy or just appears to be one; that's not my point. My point is that when Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape, the public was perfectly happy to let him play football with very little repercussions because he is good at football. People were happy to let Michael Vick back in the NFL because he is good at football.

In these situations, public opinion matched that of the NFL personnel people; the NFL wanted their good players, and didn't give a fig what they'd done as long as they, the personnel people, didn't break any laws. Since Ben Roethlisberger was never charged or convicted of rape, the NFL suspended him for a few games to make certain of moral public appearance. Michael Vick went to jail, and the Eagles were happy to bring him on board, since he'd paid his debt to society and nobody could accuse the NFL of shielding him from consequences. The public went along with these decisions, generally; the public swallowed these rationalizations and agreed with the NFL, all the while unaware of or ignoring the fact that the NFL was making decisions based on football, not morality.

And really, it's the NFL's job to make decisions based on football. It's not really the NFL's fault if the public considers them the arbiters of morality, when they're clearly not. The rape culture forgives anything so long as there is something to gain for the privileged. If Ben Roethlisberger sucked at QB, we would have heard far fewer rationalizations.

Anyway, now along comes Tim Tebow. Golden boy, Jesus freak, happy-go-lucky Christian boy. And now, after decades of the NFL ignoring morality/personality/individual characteristics in favor of football skills, some people suddenly expect the personnel managers to do a 180 and start ignoring skills in favor of morality.


Where were you people when Ben Roethlisberger was running out on the field after a four-game suspension (reduced from six)? [I personally think that Michael Vick has served his time and should be allowed to play football, but Ben Roethlisberger is a different story.]

I want to know where all you people were back then, now that you're screaming about fairness and second chances and how a player's options in the National fucking Football League should reflect hir personal level of morality.

[Really, all this is just one more manifestation of Christian privilege. Christians are so used to reigning supreme, they don't know how to handle it when a person's Christianity doesn't give them a free pass. "But...but...he's a CHRISTIAN! This usually trumps everything! I don't understaaaaand!"]

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