“No Call” Football Crisis

New Orleans    Ok, I’m entitled.  It was front page news for days after the game, and now it’s even front-page news in the New York Times.  The sports channels are boiling with the reports.   Has Trump tweeted about it yet?  I hope not!  Of course, I’m talking about the no-call on both pass interference and helmet-to-helmet contact in the last 1 minute and 40 seconds of the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams.  I saw it all on television, so I know as much as anyone, and way more than the referees.

I got in a little trouble with my companera, because I repeated the old saw hardwired into me from years of playing football as a kid up through the high school team that our Saints had lots of chances to win, and it shouldn’t have come down to whether or not a bumbling ref made the right call.  As my coaches used to tell me, all of that is true until it isn’t.  I saw Saints Coach Sean Peyton going ballistic on the sidelines right after the play and over and over again.

There were fifty cameras or more on the field, so sure, all of us from the fans in the Superdome watching the jumbo-tron to all of us at home watching on TV knew this was a penalty.  The Rams defensive back knew it was a penalty and has said so publicly.  The Saints receiver knew it was a foul.  Both of them were looking at the ref, and nothing happened.  Within two minutes there’s an automatic review by the refs of touchdowns and other plays, but blatant situations like this, nada.

Gayle Benson, the owner of the team since her husband, Tom Benson, passed away earlier this year, wrote the NFL saying that this kind of incident attacked the “integrity of the game.”  Given the mealy-mouthed, lame way that Roger Goodell has handled his duties as NFL commissioner from players’ protest to player injuries, it was impossible to expect that he would act within his powers to get fairness for the players and fans.  One sportscaster made an excellent point arguing that if the owner screaming had been Dallas’ Jerry Jones or the Patriots’ Robert Kraft much less the much-hated former Oakland Raiders owner, Goodell and other owners would not be able to ignore this thievery.  He didn’t say what seems obvious to me, that a new, female owner would likely be tut-tutted and patted on the hand rather than given justice.

We’ll still root for the Saints.  It’s hard not to root for the Rams over the Patriots, geez enough already!  But it is also hard to still believe that the NFL and the football played on its fields is about sport, fairness, and even integrity, if they won’t admit mistakes and police their refs as much as their players, rather than simply lining the pocket of their billionaire and millionaire owners.  This has to stop, or we can just watch them kill the game.

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Tony Perkins, Mike Pence, and the MAGA Right For Life Marchers

Indigenous Peoples March in DC

New Orleans        I heard King, though not clearly, as one of more than 100,000 once at the Spring Mobilization Against the Vietnam War in 1967 in front of the United Nations.  On the holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, we think back on his speeches on the Washington Mall and the dream he shared of another world much different still than the one in which we live.

Incredibly on that same mall, we now are forced to read about youngsters from a catholic high school in Kentucky near Louisville, wearing Make America Great Again Trump hats, in a verbal confrontation with an elder Native American.  After a protest at the Lincoln Memorial with other native groups, with his drum beating he had stepped into the middle of a racial confrontation between these hopped up white boys and a black group.  No one would expect this to turn out well in these days and times.

All of which brings me back to Tony Perkins and the hate and division he broadcasts on a daily basis in his “Washington Watch” radio show which stirs the pot for this kind of mayhem, just as he was doing last week in beating his drum to hype up the crowd going to what has become an annual Right to Life March on the mall.

Tony Perkins is not just another rightwing motor mouth.  He’s a serious hater.  If you’ve missed the positions he and the Family Research Council espouse, here’s a short list.  He’s livid about LGBT rights.  He’s touted a constitutional amendment defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.  He’s against the minimum wage, but he’s OK with white supremacists.  He has spoken to such groups, and he bought the mailing list from David Duke and the KKK when he ran for Senate in Louisiana.  He’s all about religion, but has slammed Islam.  The Family Research Council has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  You get the picture, right?

What is frightening to me is looking at the guest list for his radio show, especially now that I have listened to it recently on the road through southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana.  There’s nothing secret about this, it’s hidden in plain view on his website.  Recently, he has had as guests Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA), Representative Chris Smith (NJ), Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Representative Brian Babin (R-TX), Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Representative Don Bacon (R-NE), Ambassador Sam Brownback, the former Republican Governor of Kansas, and, here’s a gut check, Vice-President Mike Pence.  And, hey, this is just the politicians and elected officials who have been with him on his show in January!

No question many of these folks are his fellow-travelers, but it’s one thing for birds of a hateful feather to be flying together, but is this really the kind of company that the elected Vice President of the United States should be keeping?  This is a blatant endorsement of Perkins, the Family Research Council and its positions.   This Right to Life march seems to bring out the worst in folks.  Vice President Pence in this context makes King’s dream, another of our contemporary nightmares.

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Please enjoy Winning Circle by Rick Ross, Misty Blanco, IB Mattic.

Thanks to KABF.

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