Maybe this is the moment, the news, the event, the “mistake” that finally, thankfully, gets sports fans to stop correlating what they see between the lines as having anything to do with what goes on outside them, and vice versa. One is not the measuring stick for the other. Or the alibi.
Peyton Manning, you’ve done it again.
With sexual assault allegations two decades old against one of the NFL’s favorite sons rearing their head again in a current lawsuit against the University of Tennessee, where Manning proved his legendary wares before turning pro, we now get the onslaught of he-said/she-said morality foreplay and self-righteous speak that, frankly, has nothing to do with what the man did on the field.
It really doesn’t, and the thing is, it never does, or ever has. With any athlete. Good. Bad. Douchebag. You name it. Whatever perception a person has of a player of any sport … none of it has any business being used to judge what that player does between the lines.
Nor does how that player performs between the lines have anything to do with he/she deserving a free pass or prison sentence for their imprint outside those lines.
Honestly, got no idea what happened in Knoxville back in 1996, and can’t really say have much interest in what is uncovered about that now.
Manning’s personal life never factored in my view of him as a player. Didn’t elevate him. Didn’t drop him. His performance is all that has mattered.
Just like Terrell Owens. Just like Cam Newton. Just like LeSean McCoy. Just like Luke Kuechly. Just like Tom Brady.
Two of my favorite athletes of all time, David Thompson and Paul Molitor, were coked-up, drug fiends, and, gotta say, the illegal-substance deal is not really my thing. Didn’t matter in grasping their greatness in the sporting realm.
Why sporting nation has this unyielding desire to equate, or rather CONFUSE, “individual” with “individual performance” remains one of the most inane acts of my lifetime. It’s one thing to have your favorites and cheer for them no matter what the reason. It’s another to actually deem them better or worse as an individual because of their individual performance, or their individual performance as better or worse because of how they are as an individual.
Reality is that we don’t know these guys (or gals) any more than they know us, and the media trying to “bridge” that gap all too often become as biased as anyone else, if not more so.
So, bury Manning if you like. Toss Shady in the slammer. Keep T.O. out of the Hall of Fame. Bitch about every on-field celebration Newton enjoys.
They may be creeps in life, merely misunderstood, or something in between. But all were, or are, great players.
Which has abso-freakin-lutely nothing to do with whether they were, or are, great people.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe this is the moment, the news, the event, the 'mistake' that finally, thankfully, gets sports fans to stop correlating what they see between the lines as having anything to do with what goes on outside them, and vice versa. One is not the measuring stick for the other. Or the alibi.