The NFL the past two weeks has seen the best and the worst of people both in action and words. The Jovan Belcher tragedy in Kansas City was followed one week by the death of Dallas Cowboy Jerry Brown with his teammate charged with his death in an automobile accident. Around the community of men who were directly impacted, both Head Coaches, Romeo Crennel and Jason Garrett were very eloquent, but very strong in their leadership of the men underneath them in helping them first cope with the death of a teammate, and then to get them to focus to go out and play a football game less then 24 hours after. This is what it is like to be part of a team that plays as one.
I had the unfortunate experience of being on the Dallas Cowboy side of things when I was in the Army. While stationed in Germany, we had just returned from a desert rotation in late 1993 when on the first night back from live training, five boys of our unit were killed when they lost control of their car on their way to the clubs and hit a tree at 100 mph. Four of them died at impact and the fifth, a very good friend of mine, died on the way to the hospital. We went to the sight and then went to see the car. The engine had been pushed into the back seat.
They were all 20 years old and Dave was 19.
Jerry Brown was 25 and Jovan Belcher was 25 also.
I remember getting the phone call from one of the Sergeants in the unit and him telling me the news. Numb is the word that has been used these past two weeks but the feeling is much deeper. Numb is the feeling of morphine after surgery. This feels like someone has vacuumed out a part of your soul.
Our pastor said the other day that time waits for no one. It is one of the things in life we have no control over and when tragedy or pain and strife enter our world we have to fight through because time keeps moving on. The leadership of the coaches and teams demonstrates this and the men accepted it as they chose to move on and honor their friends by playing the games. Time doesn’t slow down.
In times like these, people with agendas always find a way to push their opinions forward and think they are advancing some great cause. We saw this upfront when Bob Costas took to the air two Sunday evenings ago to discuss gun control. Since, I read were we he felt he didn’t have enough time to explain the situation or to give it due time because to some, it is a complex situation. I am not impugning Costas at all and I don’t have issue with his follow up. I do, however, take issue with the man he paraphrased that night, Fox Sports Columnist Jason Whitlock. I’ve read his real take on gun control article and it is a joke. He tries to equate the NRA to the KKK which is asinine and as silly as what he said about the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide. Someone intent on killing someone else will find a way to do it and to try and single out the method doesn’t understand the thought behind the action.
The problem is not the NRA, KKK, or some other acronymn we want to blame for the gun culture. The problem is not the Second Amendment or that it is outdated as Whitlock states, the problem is today’s society. We are deep in the process of a 40 year disintegration of the family structure in this country that sees young men hitting the streets with no education and no leadership in their lives; many of which have had no leadership since the day they were born. Guns do not aim themselves just like knives don’t throw or stab themselves into or at another person’s body, but these are the reasons people state for the violence? Weapons don’t have brains and obviously a lot of young men in this country have not been raised to use theirs. Much of the gun violence in this world is tied to drugs, gangs, and pursuits that satisfy the now in these people’s lives. These are not crimes of passion but crimes of reaction being acted out by individuals who have had no structure in their lives and have never had anyone teach them how to control their anger or discipline their actions.
Over the past four decades we have seen a systematic dismantling of our moral base. If a person is raised around violence then he or she knows nothing else and is then nurtured in an environment without limits and many times end up walking the tightrope of sociopathic practices in their daily lives. The young mother gunned down in Western Pennsylvania because she told some young punk to get a job instead of trying to bum a smoke from her yesterday is one example. To then shoot her in the chest is no less than a sociopathic reaction. There is no hope for them so there is no concern for another’s life just the pursuit of the now or in that case a cigarette.
The Jovan Belcher situation has left yet another innocent to be raised by grandparents and the Jerry Brown tragedy has ended another young life to soon. Both situations should never have happened but they did. It is no surprise that the two men who have had to lead their teams through these tragic times were both raised and mentored in structured environments where both excelled in sports and followed that up by working under leaders themselves. Crennel has worked for Bill Parcells, Bill Belichik and alongside Tom Coughlin. Garret was raised by his Dad, a football coach, then played for Jimmy Johnson and Tom Coughlin. The kids on the streets need this type of leadership in their lives from an early age but it isn’t there.
Whitlock talks about how our guns don’t protect us from a government that possesses “predator drones” and “tanks”. There is no comparison there and that statement is pure nonsense. How come he doesn’t talk about how that same government isn’t doing anything for these kids who end up making these decisions? Whitlock ought to go and work in Chicago and see for himself how that is working out. Instead of decrying the NRA and other associations, Whitlock and others should be asking these questions:
Where are the Dads?
Where are the jobs?
Where is the family structure?
Where is our moral center in this country? Why has it been removed?
That is the real problem-not the guns.