Sunday, June 24, 2007

Say No to Thugs! Part II: Some solutions for the NFL Players

When a mom and dad notice their kids are turning into porky little chowbuckets, they often try to substitute healthier foods for all the Twinkies, cookies and potato chips the kids are tossing down their throats. Similarly, let’s see where football players get in trouble and recommend alternative, wholesome activities and entertainment for them.

1) Strip clubs. Athletes seem inexorably drawn to these establishments. The attraction is, of course, the varied and exotic creatures you see on display there. And in some strip clubs, they let you observe these creatures up close and personal. In others, you are asked to keep your distance, for safety reasons—yours and hers.

Substitute activity: visiting your local Zoo. Same attraction, actually: interesting animals, exotic habitat. But infinitely more educational, and the municipal Zoo has a much higher class of clientele for you to socialize with. I can’t recall a single incident of a celebrity athlete being arrested at the Zoo. Once or twice, a Zoo visitor might get bitten, but that can obviously happen at strip clubs, too.

Substitute activity 2: take up ballroom dancing. Why just watch others dance around the stage, or the pole, when you can sashay across the floor yourself? And an NFL player’s athletic ability gives him a leg up, so to speak, on the other people taking dancing lessons with him. Just look at how proficient Emmitt Smith became on Dancing with the Stars. Though he’s still no John O’Hurley.

2) Fights and other altercations in bars. Recently, even a Green Bay Packer, if you can believe it, got into trouble for allegedly pushing or shoving a female late one night in a drinking establishment. The alleged shover was starting linebacker Nick Barnett. (To be honest, I was not aware that shoving was considered a crime, especially after the times I have ridden the subway in New York.)

An unfortunate offshoot of this incident is now Packer fans have to listen to the taunts of the Viking fans: “Dude, that was the best tackle Barnett made all year!”

The reason so many athletes have unpleasant experiences in bars is simple: excessive alcohol consumption reduces normally intelligent individuals to a level of thinking just below moronic, and aggressive tendencies that would normally be repressed, from fans and players alike, suddenly emerge. Small-minded people who are envious of the money and fame that accrues to pro athletes sometimes deliberately try to provoke the athlete into an argument. Provoking a football player, who is paid to be aggressive, is never a wise choice. But as with NFL games when the Ref only notices the second person who threw the punch, the athlete often pays the price for a drunken fan’s outburst.

Substitute activity: Learn how to cook. Becoming a skilled chef is a lot of fun, and allows you to entertain your friends at your home, and avoid the bar scene and its associated unpleasant situations altogether. You will have to go out to shop for groceries, but fans you may encounter are unlikely to become belligerent in the produce aisle. For the football player who is single, the grocery store can be an excellent venue to meet eligible females, who will be impressed that you know how to use ingredients like radicchio and broccoli rabe.

Substitute activity 2: watch Political Debates. Take out these aggressive tendencies by yelling at the TV when a politician says something particularly idiotic. Since both major political parties are chock full of nuts these days, the opportunity to vent your frustrations is nearly limitless. You may never feel the need to visit a drinking establishment again.

Or, if you listen to enough political drivel, maybe you will.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Say No to Thugs! Part III: More solutions

In the last part of our series on how NFL players can avoid getting into trouble with various law enforcement agencies, we take a look at causes and solutions for:

3) Weapons violations. Athletes seem to frequently have guns in their vehicles, sometimes several guns, when they are stopped by police. Some even have a cache of unusual and potentially illegal weapons in their home. Is there some reason NFL players feel less safe than the rest of us? I don’t own a gun, for example, and I sleep soundly at night. I have all the home security I need, courtesy of my trusty dogs.

By the way, my dogs love watching NFL football on TV; they run around merrily barking every time Brett Favre throws a touchdown. Oddly, though, when they see a game with Michael Vick playing, they growl at the screen.

Substitute activity: Collecting football memorabilia. If you think about it, hoarding guns may stem simply from an urge to collect interesting things. Nothing sinister at all about that. Ever see anyone get busted by the Feds at an Antiques Roadshow? So, how about filling your house with reminders of the thrilling football days of yore…when they played for the glory of the game, not just for money, and the nosy news media wasn’t watching NFL players’ every move, 12 months a year, hoping to spot them doing something wrong.

4) DUI. A crime that shouldn’t happen, because there’s this useful thing called A Car Service. When you’re out partying, you simply page your car service when you are ready to leave, and they send over a nice sleek Lincoln sedan to take you home, the driver wearing a neatly pressed black suit. It makes no sense that anyone with money, celebrity or not, would be so stupid as to drink and drive. You don’t have to be the brightest cop on the force to be able to spot someone weaving along the empty freeway at 3 AM in a $100,000 sports car.

One theory about why celebrities have such a high incidence of DUI is that they desperately want to be seen driving their $100,000 sports car, so they don’t want anything to do with taking a generic looking limo or hiring a car service. The fact that celebrities crave the fawning attention from their “fans” may be why they spend so much time on the town socializing in the first place. With football players, perhaps they get lonely in the offseason, when they aren’t hearing the thundering cheers from the stadium crowd, or have reporters hanging on their every word in the locker room.

Substitute activity: Grow up.