Monday, April 12, 2010

How soon is too soon to grow up?

I really don't want to pass judgment on Ben Roethlisberger and whatever may or may not have happened with this girl that led to the prosecutor not pressing charges. The story has this summation early on:
Bright also laid out a series of tawdry and troubling details gleaned from the investigation that cast Roethlisberger’s behavior in an unflattering light and which could factor into NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision whether to discipline him. Goodell is expected to meet with Roethlisberger this week and he has the latitude to suspend Roethlisberger for violating the N.F.L.’s personal-conduct policy.
My problem here is that while the NFL may have a policy that prohibits acting like a drunken frat boy, it fosters a mentality akin to that of Neverland -- as in, boys will be boys, and you never need to grow up. (This is not to be confused with Neverland Ranch, although I suspect people could draw some parallels.)
Granted, this is not just professional football. It's true in professional basketball and baseball, Hollywood, the music scene and the U.S. Congress. The problem is, these organizations create an environment where you are "good" enough -- at throwing a football, pitching, hitting, acting, making legislation -- nothing else really matters. You can do whatever you want. You can get whatever you want. The world isn't your oyster, it's your personal playroom, and every man, woman and child in it is your toy to be used and tossed aside when you're done. It's OK, because you are THE MAN.
(Not that this is a solely masculine issue, but you hear a lot more about men who behave in an unseemly fashion in the keeping-your-pants-on department. Plus, there are more men in all of those organizations, particularly the NFL.)
So with all due respect, Commissioner Goodell, perhaps a slap on the wrist and a reminder to not embarrass you is't the most effective tool here. Might I suggest taking away his paycheck for the next year and donate it to shelters to help battered women or homeless children? Perhaps require some real community service so he knows how people who don't have a golden arm live? Or maybe, just maybe, teams should stop inflating players' bank accounts so they don't have such an inflated self-worth. 'Cause they ain't worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Love. Rape is about power and it seems people who pursue power do it because they love power and then are willing to over-power anyone to feel good about themselves. Donate his paycheck to sexual assault charity! Donate Vick's to animal shelters. I really like this plan.