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How can you still be smiling after THAT?

Years ago I was sitting in a church in central Indiana. My roles in the church was many. I was part of the men’s fellowship, young adult choir, nursery ministry, and more. Being a member of a church who’s pastor was a former boxer it is easy to see how his vision of the world would always be colored ever so slightly by that world. It’s not unusual to hear a man who is a former athlete allow certain things to slip into his speech pattern. Saying things like, “be a team player” “hit a home run with that speech” “get up and dust yourself off”. “Keep swinging” and on and on.

So it was so unexpected what he said on one particular Sunday so many years ago.

It was deep in the midst of football season and the early part of the basketball season. My Indianapolis Colts were playing. I believe that they were playing badly because it was pre-Payton Manning. So they were still in the AFC East. These were the days that my Pacers still had Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, the Davis’s, and so on. The greatest enemy of every Indiana sports team was the Knicks, Bulls, Dolphins, and really any team that would dare draw breath in our new RCA “Hoosier” Dome or Market Square Arena.

I honestly do not recall the message. I couldn’t even guess what line of scripture he lifted up that day. I’m not even sure what color suit or robe he had on that day. But I do remember him saying this:

It’s a shame that we can shout and scream and foam at the mouth at a Reggie three [point shot]. But we can’t open our mouth and make any noise at all for the word of God.

Wow.

He really put things into perspective for me on that Sunday.

No, I didn’t stop being very depressed when my team was once again sent to its bench with too few points to win. No, I didn’t stop wearing with great pride the gold and blue of my Pacers or the white and blue of my Colts. Not even the vibrant reds of my beloved Indianapolis Indians. But I DID take due notice of how I responded to the word of God in worship service.

Today, we heard the Word from Isaiah 3:1-10. In this passage we were reminded that Isaiah was a young child who, though he was a servant of God, he knew almost nothing of God. So when he heard Gods voice, he confused it with his own earthly fathers voice. So mistaking it, he disturbed his fathers slumber three times. Only on the last hearing of his name being called out did his fathers words to respond to the voice of God occur. He said “here am I.”

My point is that I could be walking down Meridian Street or down the hallways of Victory Field. And if I should chance upon one of those teams ball players and they literally tripped over me, they wouldn’t know me. Probably wouldn’t even try and get to know me. Though I’d’ve been a full fare, ticket paying fan, I’m not going to be his priority beyond the brief moment of his footing being lost on account of us having crossed paths just a bit too closely. My mama used to say, “… Could trip over you, and wouldn’t know you.”

So why in the world would I shout so hard for him, a person who really wont do anything specifically for me? Why would I scream until I’m horse for him? Clap my hands until they hurt? Stomp my feet until my bones shake? Spend money like a drunken sailor on team gear to PROVE I’m the best sixth man or twelfth man or whatever man? Why would I do all these things that cry vainglorious fandom…. But I cannot be bothered to even so much as crack a smile when the word of God is delivered and He loves me in all I do? Will be my father no matter what? Has my back like no one else? Literally sacrificed his only son for me before I even knew who He is?

It was then that I made sure I re-prioritized my praise. Re-assessed where my faith was placed. In whom I placed my trust. I learned that day that man will at some point always let you down. Man is at some point going to give you reason to question why you trusted him at all. Analyze your very rubric for judging another’s character. But in God the trust and love will never EVER fail. It’s why when someone at work recently asked me why I’m always so upbeat and happy, I responded that I have a close relationship with God. She was stunned by my answer…. And frankly so was I. I too was surprised I said that so readily. It wasn’t an answer I’d planned on. But it was the answer I had on the tip of my tongue. And it was the truth.

So yes, I’m very hurt my favorite football team lost. I’m very upset that I live in a state where their team was the instrument by which my team was embarrassed to have even dressed to play. I’m hurt inside because I know the fans of that team here are rude, often crude, and love to brag and be crass in their wins and fein concern for my feelings when they ask dumb questions like, “So…. What happened to your team?” In other words, in the fellow men and women of my current community, I will find no comfort. I will find no peace or honest sympathy. They are men, after all.

But with God I can be sure that when I go to him, I don’t need to wear a particular teams colors or shout a particular chant to get comfort, peace, love, guidance and joy.

So yes, I’ll still be a bit touchy over this latest loss. And yes, I’ll one day soon again, be a super fan again. But as for now, I can still be myself and happy because I don’t put my faith in men. Because men let me down. I put my faith in something much more permanent. Someone more in tune with my spirit and my heart. Someone who does know me, even if I trip over Him.

Racism, History, Bigots, and YOU!

Provided by Artist Murphy Milburn

Provided by Artist Murphy Milburn

Let’s get really heavy today

The truth of many things we deal with in society is that their history is something to be decried and learned from instead of celebrated. But in some weird self-sabotaging bout of ignorance we as humans and even more so as Americans tend to pass over that until forced to confront the matter. That comes from all sides. Because often historical issues are not just about Racism, they are about Bigotry. And while often used interchangeably, they are not in fact the same.

Racism is a systemic issue based on a combination of power, prejudice, and discrimination. Bigotry is just that cocktail of humanity greed and ignorance mixing with prejudice and stereotypes.  While one leads to the other often, they aren’t always the same. For instance, I’m often confronted by the notion that a person is not racist because they have dated an American Minority, or have a friend who belongs to an American Minority group(You’ll understand why I am singling out the US minority groups in a minute). While this often does make them less like to be a pure bigot, they are not mutually exclusive in a world where we must interact with each other for simple and basic reasons.

In fact, the very nature of the person’s interactions with the potential bigot are what can usually help you tell whether they were just caught with an inartful phrase; use their association as a shield; or happen to fetishize a particular culture or interacting with that cutlure. And in the end, that’s what you want to know. Over the weekend I was talking about the situation intra-racially with R&B singer Tank and his inartful phrasing, and I called everyone bigots who were in a particularly line of thought. That’s because the word transcends race and class. Which is what we’re dealing with. It’s the Difference between Dan Snyder owner of the Washing D.C. American Football team in the NFL, and the curious case of black women with gay friends who hate depictions of gay men on TV. But put a pin in that I’ll get back to it.

When you talk about racism people tend to get sleepy or upset. The sleepy ones have heard it all before and are mentally impervious to the idea because they have this deluded opinion on race in modern society. The upset ones are usually mad about being called out for their racism, bigotry, or the privilege that arrises for them from those. It is an interesting thing to study as a lay person. Much less in my blogging capacity. However from time to time my study calls for me to correct things and give a bit of history. Usually a glossed over or relatively unknown piece like the one behind the photo below.

Don't worry it is much worse than you think.

Don’t worry it is much worse than you think.

So this particular piece of lighter fluid has come out recently after the Ferguson Protests. And of course it is fake right? Well sorta. This is not photoshopped. And yet it is not in fact a legal government document. These have never existed as legal government documents. However, it is in face real. And has far worse an origin than you think.

In the early to mid 1980’s an event called the good Ol Boy’s roundup was held in Tennessee on a yearly basis(That part I’m sure is not surprising). The organizer of this event was then ATF Agent Raymond Eugene Rightmyer, who at all times claimed it was not a racist event. Then when caught with materials like this, claimed he was trying to get rid of it and keep things like this from the event.

During the event this license as well as T-shirts of MLK in sniper crosshairs, OJ’s head in a noose, and dead black men sprawled out before law enforcement vehicles with the title Boyz In Tha Hood. In fact, multiple agents of the ATF were in attendance at these events. So were known KKK members, and folks that belong to both categories. This was also a place filled with what actual male to female sexism is. And while some reports are officially unsubstantiated, things got very “loosely consensual” with the amount of alcohol(rumored to include untaxed Moonshine) flowing through the place. So you might wonder how I know about this. Well it is simple. They got caught. They got found out, rounded up, hauled off to jail, fired obviously, and were convicted.

It was the kind of embarrassing thing that should have been blasted everywhere. And it was for a bit when the initial information came out due to citizen militia-men infiltrating. But you don’t hear it brought up. In fact, despite all of the people involved getting handled by the alarmingly swift hand of the Government, John William Magaw then director, as well as most other parties who know or knew about it spoke very little. Not even to cash in for lucrative expose based deals. Why is Magaw important here? Well he was there.

So out of this 80’s event, we had the first instance of these existing. And we all know how well bigots hold on to “good ideas” so updated versions have been seen new as recently as this year. And it doesn’t help that things like race in America never get talked about honestly enough to be dealt with. So every day you create more bigots. Why did I use bigots on something like this? Because even though they are government employees, they were not in that capacity for this. The ATF could be called racist for employing them. And certainly they may be racists if they use system discrimination to be proponents of their prejudices, but since we don’t have that info we just have bigots.

And it doesn’t just cover black and white issues in America. Because remember what a bigot is. And let’s pick up that pin from earlier. Daniel Snyder the bigot who owns the Washington D.C. team does in fact do a lot of charity work. And even gave money for assistance during Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean Tsunami victims. But remember as I said, you have to look past the interactions to the person. For instance, a big deal was made about the current, but outgoing Navajo Nation President sitting with Snyder in his booth during the game between DC and Arizona. But it shouldn’t surprise you at all. Afterall, what better way to take some heat off that get accidentally caught with someone who is constructively out of power already, and who you just closed a business deal with.

But I know I know, he’s Jewish how could he be a bigot? Well as I said before anyone can be a bigot. Their nationality or ethnic classification does not matter. In the same way, you are still a bigot if you care about animals, but think the Romani are all tricksters. The same way you can want to protect black people from systemic racism, but think women shouldn’t have the same ease of access to birth control as men have to condoms. The same way you can claim you want gender equality but bash any depiction of women or men as conservatively sexist when they are restricted in abundance of clothing, or liberally sexist, when they are without a majority of clothing. The same way you can have gay friends, but not support gay marriage. The same way you can fight sexism, but call Obama a “Halfie” or a Nazi. Or the black guy who does IT work at your job, “not really BLACK.” or say “That girl is pretty for an Indian.” Or go to church every Sunday to praise Jesus that you’ve had painted to look like an Italian man instead of the dark skinned arabic Jew he was. Or of course some of my favorites, the things in your online dating profiles, your method of writing characters that don’t share your ethnicity, and how badly you want to hold on to bigoted phrases like Paddy wagon, Peanut Gallery, Redskin, and be a member of the Tea Party.

But before this gets into a Note from Your Favorite Super villain I have one last image for you. And it does a great job at illustrating the way bigoted thoughts turn into racist action.

Get the point?

Get the point?

The words used in each photo come from media depictions. And while this was particularly telling, just look at the difference in the coverage of Ferguson now, and the riots at Penn State after Paterno quit and Sandusky was found to be a pedo. Look at how championship celebrations are talked about and then think about this. Is your city’s sports team winning an excuse for rioting? Okay if you said yes is that more riot worthy than actual brutality by the government on unarmed members of the community? If you said either was not okay fine, but if one is okay and the other is not, guess what group you just joined? The reality is Civil Libertarians, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Democrats, and yes even Moderates excuse all kinds of civil displays of lawless behavior. Until of course that is done by a group other than those who look like them. Remember the backlash at Occupy? Even so called liberals were on television saying those people need to get broken up, and those people need to get back to work and stop leaching. Think about Immigration, those people coming over our borders and stealing jobs. Think about Ebola, we need to stop those people from Africa from coming and bringing it here.

Something to think about as you relax tonight and go to work tomorrow. Notice I didn’t call you a bigot. But I bet you almost felt like I did and dismissed me for saying it. The funny part is a purposefully put you in that position. Either you will examine your biases and bigotry and do something about it. Or you’ll reject the notion and go deeper in. But I’ll be content either way. Reform or Regression, I’ll have been proven right. Now I have more to talk about the difference between racism and classism, but I’ve talked a lot and…WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE!

– THE Ruthless Wonder

In defense of Bill Simmons

I’m going to talk about sports, but only sort of. This really isn’t about sports as much as it is about the role of journalists in the age of digital media and social media. Bill Simmons got suspended this week for nothing more than doing what we will be getting back to doing here in October (WDDIJcast and The Wrath of Ruthless have been on vacation due to …well due to needing a production break honestly). He spoke his mind on his own podcast about the situation, and used the circumstantial evidence including the very public stature of the NFL to come to the reasonable conclusion Roger Goodell is lying his ass off about the Ray Rice video.

Here’s what he said: [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/169016474″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]

Now, does that sound like this was his opinion? Or does that sound like he was making a legal conclusion? Sounds like opinion right? Exactly. This is Simmons non-ESPN podcast. But the power fo the NFL caused ESPN to change tactics on 2 separate things. What’s that? What else did they do? Well they went from supporting their guy, to offering him up to the altar of NFL. Take a look below.

 


What you see there in the highlighted section is a direct reference to Simmons comments, not long before they decide to suspend him from all ESPN work for 3 weeks. Now I’m not going to throw Stephen A. Smith under a bus but he got 1 week for just positing that women should be careful of provocation in general. Hell Michelle Beadle even publicly derided him for the comments the same day on air on ESPN. But somehow calling Goodell a liar, based on what information Simmons has, on his podcast, is worth a 3 week suspension. Bullshit.

And I’ll tell you why its bullshit. Because Roger Goodell isn’t an NFL player. He isn’t an NFL owner. He’s supposed to be the voice of reason and authority in the NFL and supposed to be a neutral arbiter of the rules and punishments based on those rules. The very idea he might have swept this under the rug is worth investigating further. The idea he might actually be more corrupt than Paul Tagliabue And in the face of what all we know, despite the spin ESPN is doing literally right now on First Take and The Herd, Bill Simmons cannot be the only one who thinks he is lying.

SO why suspend him? ESPN brought back constantly controversial Keith Olberman who just recently took aim at all the hyperbolic exuberance and celebration of Derek Jeter. They’ve let columnists come back after all kinds of incidents in recent time (Dan Lebatard I’m looking at you). But above all what message does this send? It says that if you say bad words about the NFL, ESPN will defend the league over your ability to give your opinion on an opinion based medium. No wonder Jason Whitlock’s “black Grantland” isn’t up and running. No wonder a certain former ESPN face is still inexplicably on NBC Sports Network.

Because if you say anything that might make them mad you’re out for almost a month. Put this in perspective. You can talk about the NBA, MLB, or make crazy disrespectful statements about futbol aka Soccer live on THE SPORTS REPORTERS but nope, say a bad thing about how shittly Gooddell has handled this matter, and imply based on everything the entire public knows, that Gooddell is *SHOCKER* lying to coverup how little the league gave a shit one of their stars gave his fiance a Mayweather piece in full view of a camera, and you have to sit in time out and not get paid. We come to reporters like Simmons to give opinion. If I’m listening to a podcast, I don’t expect to hear the same things I hear on ESPN shows. If I wanted that, I’D WATCH THE ESPN SHOW!

But this is scary for the average person. Not because Simmons is some everyman held down by corporate power. But because this is similar to how the 24 hour news networks roll. Fox News has an agenda. And anytime their hosts and contributors get out of that agenda they are mysteriously off air with replacements until they are back on message. MSNBC has an agenda and quite famously when Olberman, and of course Cenk Uyger deviated into something not the same as their agenda they were gone.

Sports should be the one area where there isn’t an agenda other than sports. And perhaps the constant conflict of interest that ESPN has by being so intertwined with the NFL is turning the objective nature of Sports into the agenda that Gooddell and the league has of “Protect the Shield.” I just expected better of the so-called World Wide Leader in Sports. #FreeBillSimmons I’d say more but I don’t want to be banned from the internet by the NFL and well…WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE!

 

– THE Ruthless Wonder

I’m baaaccckkk, and so is the NFL!

Well, like most sports officials sometimes I am no where to be found when you are looking for someone to make the call.  But unlike other so-called Refs; I penalize myself appropriately.  So, having served my Delay of Life penalty I can proudly say I’m back.  Great timing to be back too, because of course there is one question on everyone’s mind:

(Please ignore the fact that Hank Jr. is a complete ass hat, but his voice is really the only one I hear when I ask that question in my mind).

So… Are you ready for some football?  Well to fucking bad cause it is only pre-season and we all no these games don’t really mean anything.  That having been said the NFL can still grab plenty of headlines; even in its off-season.  So here now is a quick rundown of what the Ref noticed this off-season:

1.  Ray Rice, Josh Gordon, and Jim Irsay

Yes I am going to lump all of these idiots together, because that is what they all are… complete idiots!  I will leave it for either other awesome writers to touch on the social issues surrounding how the NFL has handled these individuals (or maybe just another article of mine down the road).  Quickly, in case you have somehow been trapped in another dimension, I’ll cover the details.  Ray Rice, the all-pro running back for the Baltimore Ravens, had a video leaked by good ol’ TMZ of him (Ray Rice) dragging his completely unconscious fiancee from a hotel elevator.  Apparently there is footage, that no one else but prosecutors or the NFL have seen, of an altercation between Rice and his lady while they were in the elevator.  Rice has since publicly apologized; he and his fiancee actually GOT married; and the NFL suspended Rice for TWO games (largely, according to the NFL statements, because this was Rice’s first incident dealing with the NFL’s personal conduct policy).  So… Personal Foul – Roughing Your Future Wife Unconscious, 2 game suspension.

Meanwhile, Josh Gordon (all-pro wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns), had his third run in with the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  He got caught with marijuana, AGAIN (keep in mind this has been a recurring theme for this young man).  Gordon is currently suspended the entire season, pending an appeal.  So… Personal Foul – Illegal Motion Of Toking In The Off-Season, Year long suspension.  ANYONE ELSE NOTICING A PROBLEM!?!?!

Oh, and then there is Jim Irsay, who is the current ACTIVE owner of the Indianapolis Colts.  He was arrested this off-season with $29,000 in cash on his person, and a fuck ton of prescription medications (that were NOT prescribed to him).  As of the writing of this article Irsay has not been suspended in any way (this in the same calendar year that the NBA banned Donald Sterling for life for making racist comments in a private conversation).  So… Personal Foul – Shady Dealings In The Backfield, NO SUSPENSION!  Once again I ask if anyone sees a problem here.

I do not care whether you believe it is because the first two are black and Irsay is white, the first two were players and Irsay is an owner, OR you somehow honestly to God believe these punishments are all the proper actions taken by the NFL at this time.  There needs to be some discussion surrounding these situations, and I will save that for either our other awesome writers, or an article for another day.

2.  Andy Dalton Got PAID!!!!!

In what universe do people get paid hundreds of millions of dollars to be average?  The answer is OURS apparently (and I am clearly in the wrong line of work).  Every single statistic you can possibly bust out in support of Andy Dalton can be crushed with three other stats that all lead to the same inevitable conclusion… Andy Dalton is currently, at best, a very average starting quarterback in the NFL!  So, if he is so average how come he just signed a contract extension for $115 MILLION… I honestly to God have no answer for you (if you have an answer feel free to share it in the comments and enlighten us all).  The only possible defense I have of this contract are two things:  First, the actual structure of the deal seems to keep the guaranteed money Dalton gets at a fairly low number.  Second, NO contract in the NFL is fully guaranteed (i.e. if the Cincinnati Bengals get sick of Dalton under-performing they can simply cut him from the roster).  But seriously, $11 mil a year to a guy that can’t win a playoff game is silly no matter how you slice it.

3.  Apparently The Name “Redskins” Is Offensive, And Only The Team Owner Does Not Realize It

Dan Snyder owns the Washington Redskins, a team with that team name that has been around for a very long time.  The team is based in the very capitol of our great land, good ol’ Washington D.C.  People nowadays like to be politically correct, and thus there are many people that find the team name “Redskins” rather offensive (even though using Native American names and likenesses is rampant throughout all of sports, including my beloved hometown Kansas City Chiefs).  For whatever reason, the Washington Redskins have been singled out, and pressure is higher than ever on Mr. Snyder to change the name of the team.  Meanwhile, Mr. Snyder is doing no such thing!  In fact, short of straight up government interference in this matter, I do not believe Snyder will EVER willingly change the team’s name.  I have no clue which way this will go, and hell, I’m not even sure where I stand on the issue (on the one hand it’s a sports team so why should anyone really care, on the other if someone had a team with the “N” word as a nickname I would more clearly understand the problem).  The bottom line is that this is an issue to watch in the future.  Just as the NBA had to battle with Donald Sterling, so to may the NFL have to battle with Dan Snyder… our lesson in all of this is that apparently if your initials are DS you might be a racist.

4.  The Bold Prediction

Prior to seeing a single snap of pre-season (the Hall of Fame Game DEFINITELY does NOT count) I give you my super bowl prediction… Seahawks repeat!!!  It hasn’t happened in years (the term dynasty has clearly been replaced by the word parody in the NFL).  However, I know two things for certain about the game of football:  One, is that a running game can travel.  Two, is that defense wins championships.  So there you have it folks, a prediction on the Super Bowl as the only actual analysis of football in the entire article!!!!  HAS ANYONE SPOTTED THE PROBLEM YET!?!?!?!?!?!?!  We could literally go on for thousands of posts about the mess that is pro sports in the United States, but quite simply… Words Don’t Do It Justice!