Thursday, September 18, 2014

The brutes among them

Drew Brees is as right as ham on rye. No, not everyone in the NFL is wife-beater, a child-abuser or some other form of violent felon simply waiting to burst forth.

"What I hope doesn't happen as a result of this is that the perception of NFL players is that we're a bunch of brutes and that we're beating our wives and abusing our children. And that's not [the case]," Brees said Wednesday. "You're talking about maybe, what, four or five cases across the league right now that are known, amongst over 2,000 players."

And that is true. As far as it goes.

Except, of course, that the key phrase in all of that is "four or five cases right now that are known."

And so while Brees was speaking an undeniable truth Wednesday, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested for assault for an incident in July involving a young woman and an 18-month-old child.  And Dwyer was summarily deactivated. And the beat, unfortunate as that phrase might be, went on.

Yes, Brees is right. Not everyone in the NFL is Oog the Caveman. Not even a significant minority likely is. But perception is always driven by extremes, and right now the extremes are hitting the airwaves and intertoobz virtually every day -- because, frankly, the extremes play better than the norm, especially in the age of 24/7/365 media.

The norm is just the norm, and therefore by definition not news. The extremes are, well, extreme, and therefore the very essence of news.

 And so the NFL's perception, fair or not, is that of an entity overrun with felons and Neanderthals, headed up by a leadership that clearly has no clue how to change that perception. Hey, let's reinstate Adrian Peterson after one game! No, let's ban him from the facilities! And,  while we're it, let's appoint an all-woman panel to do our internal investigation of this stuff!

Because, you know, they're wimmin. That won't look like pandering at all, right?

Um ... right?


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