Football Exhibitionism

Self-love on the Gridiron

CAVEAT ALERT: The following will be labeled racist so that is acknowledged at the outset with the insistence that it's simply opinion based on what are easily seen as facts, whether in person or via TV. It has to do with a contribution by black players to the sports-world, namely, trivializing/stigmatizing the game through unmannerly and insensitive behavior designed to draw attention not to the game or the players but to oneself, especially during football season.

There was a time when an accomplishment by an athlete, either as an individual or part of a team, was downplayed by the athlete, the better to destroy an accusation of boasting...being a braggart. This was in the day when a player who scored a touchdown simply flipped the ball to the referee and quickly left the end zone for the bench or to line-up for the extra-point attempt.

When the games were integrated racially some four decades or so ago, that all changed with the advent of black players who had a proclivity for turning an athletic feat into a personal defeat of the world itself. The “celebration” came online, as well as constant taunting often occasioned by one player wagging his finger or shaking his head (or both besides revolving his derriere) at a player he has just incapacitated.

The “crotch-hop” became popular after a quarterback-sack, with the tackler hopping in a crouched position ten yards or so toward the opposing goal-line, always far enough for the most effective notice. Banging-the-chest-with-fist has become very popular, sort of like in the ape section of the zoo. The most prolific (and obnoxious) end-zone performer this season has been one of football's best players (currently the best quarterback), the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton. His gyrations are enough to give the coach palpitations since he could easily throw out his back.

A typical end-zone celebration comprises three or four players simultaneously jumping up and into each other's anatomy and slapping helmets as well as colliding with gusto chest-to-chest or hip-to-hip. The stiff-legged goose-step (Nazi-style) into the end-zone at the end of a run and the skip afterward on the way to the bench are common procedure. There are many other football gyrations but they are limited in basketball and baseball, not enough time to kill for the former and still a sort of gentlemanly approach for the latter.

This braggadocio was at first considered totally unacceptable but after a while some white players caught on to the fun and...anyway...sports events are a form of entertainment, so, like the coarseness/nudity now current in much if not most TV productions (even news programs), everyone had to get in on the act. The TV guys hee-haw about it but it's obvious that they're not comfortable with it, especially if they are of the old school. They understand that modesty is considered as weakness now.

Only the actors know but these narcissistic performances seem to be either inordinate ego-trips (self-love enhanced) or just in-your-face stuff designed for the whites who make up most of the spectator populations. It's hard to believe that an entire community of players is mesmerized by itself into virtual supernatural-mode but there has to be a reason. Perhaps the psychiatrists and social engineers will apply themselves. Self-worship just doesn't play well and perhaps this crude fad will dissipate. Without TV, it probably would never have happened but TV corrupts about everything it touches. The Super-Bowl is a good example of coarseness to the nth degree.

Anyone who has read this far is welcome to scream racism, not that what I think matters worth a fig. Just food for thought.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark