Monday, October 18, 2010

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is an amazing and wonderful thing. It's also very dangerous, and if you ever have to prove it, something horrible must have happened.

I have experience with unconditional love. I have unconditional love for my family, and for my dogs. It doesn't matter what they do, I will love them. No matter how horrible.

What I don't have is unconditional love for a sports team and the players on that team. It scares me that other people do. There was a startling display of unconditional love this weekend among sports fans. Pittsburgh Steelers fans seem to have unconditional love of the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger.

benBig Ben had one hell of an off-season. He was accused of "sexual assualt" for the second time in eight months. He wasn't charged with a crime, mostly because he's Ben Roethlisberger, but even so he admitted to some pretty scary things.

Yet he was welcomed with open arms back to the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend, because the team was badly in need of a player to fill the quarterback position. The substitute players were horrendous, and the fans were eager to have a better player in that spot.

I understand that. If you are a fan of a team, you want that team to be successful. I expected most fans to look past the horrible reprehensible things that Big Ben has done. It's just the way people and their attitudes to sports are. Many people can overlook a lot of misdeeds if a person can help their team on the field.

What shocked me was the totality. I know quite a few Steelers fans. Unsurprising since they are the most successful NFL franchise ever. They have fans everywhere, not just in Pennsylvania.

I could not find one single Steelers fan that said "I don't care how good he is or how much the team needs him. What the guy did was horrible and I don't want him on my favorite team."

Among every Steelers fan I know, and even ones I searched out on the internet it's consistent. How can this be? I could easily believe that most fans would give him the "benefit of doubt." But 100%? How is it possible that not one person is so offended that they want to be rid of the guy? Every single person is okay with the "he wasn't found guilty of a crime so I'm going to ignore the incidents completely" rationalization?

Mike Vick killed and mistreated dogs. He was vilified, run out of town and sent to prison. Mistreating animals is horrible and a particular behavior that I personally find reprehensible. Roethlisberger was accused of SEXUAL ASSAULT....TWICE! And somehow 100% of the people, even women, look the other way.

Lets face it. Sexual assault is the worst thing you can do in this country. I know most people think it's murder, but they're wrong. If you look at parole statistics you'll find that murderers will generally get paroled from prison after serving significant time. If you are found guilty of sexual assault, you are doing the whole time. Nobody gets parole for sexual assault. NOBODY.

The only explanation I can come up with other than unconditional love is mass hysteria. Maybe because so many people are okay with it, those who really have a problem with it are keeping it to themselves? Or does the subject matter make them so uncomfortable it is just easier to pretend it didn't happen?

It can't possibly be that he's "paid his debt" and "learned his lesson." This guy got a four-game suspension for getting away with the most reprehensible crime our society has. TWICE. His penalty is not even close to "payment" for anything.

Again, I do not expect the sports world to shun Ben Roethlisberger and toss him out of football forever. I'm not talking about any one particular fan I know or any person who should feel a certain way about what happened. How you feel is how you feel. I'm not judging anyone.

I am just astounded that NOBODY seems to feel the way I thought some should. Are they out there and I just can't see them? Maybe the outrage happened months ago and it all just faded away, wounds healed by time and five weeks of an NFL season?

And what if it was me? What if it were the quarterback of my favorite team? Or the center fielder? How would I feel? I think I know, but do you really know until you are tested? Would I be the one making excuses and lame rationalizations? Would I be looking the other way?


pokerguy2200 said...

You left out the fans and sports announcers that have forgotten that Kobe Bryant is a rapist.

DuggleBogey said...

I don't really know that many NBA fans, so I'm not sure that everyone embraced Kobe right away. You're probably right among Lakers fans, I just don't know any personally.