gimagesAre you not entertained? All signs point to “No, I’m not entertained”, per David Puddy and the cheesy 8-ball jacket (thank you, Seinfeld fans). Rather, we’re disgusted.  I’ve read it in comments here. I’ve seen it on Facebook and Twitter – we’re fed up. I get it, really, I do. It’s an awful thing. However, I have to admit my two (polarized) reactions to all of this.

On one hand, I really don’t want to write about this crap two weeks in a row. This week though, we have four more (count them, four – Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer, Jameis Winston) high profile football players in the news because of alleged domestic violence/sexual indiscretion. It’s not a sports story at this point, it’s a cultural crisis – not that it hasn’t been for quite some time, but we tend to hold our superstars to a much higher standard. We also react with passion when they go down in flames and in droves…..and boy are they going down, in flames and in droves. It’s a problem. Our modern day gladiators seem to be falling…hard. NFL mega-stars are beating (not spanking, or accidentally hitting) women and children. Our most recent Heisman trophy winner is yelling disgusting sexual references across a crowded quad for all to hear at his university (his third such much publicized and egregious act since dawning a college uniform). I share in your disgust.

On the other hand, I (yes, I) am capable of committing all of these horrific acts of violence and vitriol. I don’t though, and I never have. Does that make me more noble, more righteous, or more admirable than these guys? I really don’t mind if you say “yes” – my lame ego likes the strokes. In fact, I’d much rather that someone say yes to my question than berate these football players on their social media outlets of choice. Is what they have done deplorable? Yes. Do we have the same heart and same capacity for evil that they have? Yes. Do we perform violent acts in sold out stadiums for the entertainment of others like they do? Mostly, no. Does that give them an excuse? Absolutely not. Should their being modern day gladiators give us pause or warrant our sympathy? That is for each of us to decide.

jimagesSooooo…let’s redirect the focus. How about a song for the victims? Adrian Peterson (the top NFL running back for the last 5+ seasons) has been brought up on charges for beating his four-year old son. The pictures bring back the disdain that many of us already felt over the Ray Rice video. Greg Hardy, NFL All-Pro defensive lineman (allegedly) beat a pregnant woman. Jonathan Dwyer (Arizona Cardinal running back, again, allegedly) headbutted his wife and broke her nose. Countless young women were within earshot of our Heisman Trophy winner’s “shout out” this week. It seems that the least we can do is take all of this new found energy we feel toward domestic violence and sexual deviance and lovingly nudge it in the direction of the objects/victims of these despicable acts.

Does a song do anything for the victims? Nah, but the sentiment expressed in some music can work as a healthy counter to the horror expressed by our culture when our heroes sin in epic proportions. The obvious song choices are Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” or Suzanne Vega’s “Luka” – both wonderful songs about domestic abuse. We could even ask Sara McLaughlin to write something as heart-wrenching. I’m going to go off the board, though, and bring in some Don Henley. This is just a song about a girl who has been mistreated (not abused) by a guy, and another guy who vows to “imperfectly” love her, but to treat her much better than that last guy (cover by Acoustic Groove):

“This is the last worthless evening that you’ll have to spend”. It’s such hopeful sentiment. Of course, it’s a promise that Don Henley can’t keep perfectly.  There’s one who can though, and the darkest evening (filled with the most loathsome mistreatment by someone close) will give way to a dawn where there will be no more sorrow, tears, headbutting, or drawing blood with switches. So let’s stop wasting time (As Henley says in the bridge – “time keeps ticking, ticking away”) judging the imperfections in others that loom somewhere in us all – even if by God’s grace they stay below the surface. There is perfect judgement coming – that is our hope. Aren’t we just better off lifting up a song for the downtrodden?