Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote of (Last) Week

It's time to do a little catch-up around here, as it seems to be a lot recently. We'll start with last week's Quote of the Week, which never got posted because I'm a delinquent. It comes from NBC Sports' Mike Florio, whose "Pro Football Talk" is a staple of NFL news reporting. It's also batshit nuts. I'll give you the full context, so that you can appreciate the (lack of) development of Florio's argument.


"More than a few NFL players have made known this year their intention to miss a game in lieu of missing the birth of a child.

If push comes to shove, however, should they choose to be present for the pushing and not the shoving?

It’s a thorny issue.  My position was and is that the players have made a lifestyle choice that entails being available 16 days per year, no matter what.  If they choose not to plan their nine-month family expansion activities to coincide with the eight months per year when their work activities don’t entail playing games that count, why should their teams suffer the consequences?"
                                                        - Mike Florio, NBC Sports

Wow. "Family expansion activities," first of all, is an epic turn of phrase that deserves to be commemorated for all time in the Mike Florio Hall of Fame. The rest of the Florio piece basically speaks for itself, in a tone-deaf "football isn't everything, it's the only thing" sort of way.

Insinuating that a football player can and should have full control over when his wife gets pregnant is only a couple of small steps removed from declaring that pregnancy cannot result from a "legitimate rape". Remember that what Florio is really trying to suggest here is to say that players should only have sex with their wives during the season, so that they can reasonably be expected to go into labor in the offseason (when we include the playoffs and training camp, the offseason is a whole lot closer to 4 or 5 months than the 8 months that he suggests).

That's right, during the season, when the players are constantly on the road, or recuperating from injuries, or spending late nights at the stadium watching film because WINNING IS EVERYTHING. And if you can't get the job done this season, too bad, my friend, you better wait till next season to try again. Hopefully your wife's biological clock is kind enough to stop ticking for our benefit.

Now... to Florio's credit, he backed off of his initial statements and actually subsequently penned a much more reasonable and well-articulated piece on the topic. This incident, therefore, seems to have been a case of publishing-before-editing, which is increasingly common in the internet/blogging era of journalism.

Nevertheless, the mentality that Florio initially articulated persists among fans and journalists throughout the country, and it's an ugly and dangerous mentality. Whatever your job may be, nobody should ever suggest that performing it at the highest level should take precedence over family and good parenting. That's particularly true in an entertainment industry like professional sports, which many people take way too seriously at the end of the day.

Missing one or two games over the course of a career in order to attend to major family events should never be something that fans take issue with, especially when fans (and TV networks) already expect teams full of players to miss holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years simply to add incrementally to our enjoyment of those same holidays. These players sacrifice large portions of their lives (and their personal health) for our entertainment, and some people would request that they sacrifice even more. That's a terrible attitude to have, no matter how much these guys get paid (some of them, a ton, others, not so much). I'd rather we just said "thank you," and went on our way.

[Pro Football Talk]

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