You know what is not a game? A minimum ten-year sentence. What makes knockout, where people on the street hit someone so hard that the victim gets knocked out, so menacing is that it glorifies the dehumanization that has grown acceptable among younger people in our cities.
There are many ways to analyze something like this. We can go on about parenting, economics, and life’s opportunities, but at the end of the day, the words “assault and battery” are front and center.
Calling it a game makes it even more offensive, because it shows that the people doing this see no human connection to the people they are harming. Someone else’s pain is okay as long as it contributes to someone else’s fun. That type of fun needs to be met with a mandatory minimum.
Knockout has become national news, but not with the kind of outrage that it deserves. Anti-bullying celebrities are more than happy to get involved when someone writes a hurtful status update online, but do they want any part in stopping actual bullying?
Where was Hollywood when that family got surrounded by bikers in their SUV? Where are they in regard to knockout? It seems as though there was far more outrage when quarterback Michael Vick abused animals than there is when marauding kids attack pedestrians.
It’s just easier to get involved when the bad guy is a suburban “mean girl” or an NFL millionaire. Taking on actual bullies, well, that is a different story. That would require actually taking a stand on something.
The only outrage New York City needs is to establish harsh mandatory minimums for people who attack others as part of what can easily be classified as gang-like behavior.
Those of us in the press calling this game “knockout” are probably not doing any good either. We refer to the name as a means of categorizing the problem, but it could be giving this “game” a sense of realness. W
e call it “knockout,” and all of a sudden it’s not street slang any longer, it’s a real thing. For that, we are guilty. We can, however, address this violence right away…by addressing this right away.
Francesa’s Interview As Honest As It Could Be
In what amounted to an approximately 18-minute interview last week, WFAN host Mike Francesa spoke to Alex Rodriguez about Major League Baseball’s investigation regarding performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
It is no secret that Francesa, a devout fan of the Yankees and Rodriguez, always gives the star more than a fair shake on his show. That, however, does not negate the fact that Rodriguez was right to be miffed last week after Commissioner Bud Selig refused to testify.
Francesa’s love for a particular player does not make what was discussed on the air untrue. The commissioner, who levied the ban on Rodriguez of 211 games, should have showed up to explain why there was a penalty. If the league has a mountain of evidence, they need to show it.
This is a person’s career, and even if you despise Rodriguez, most of us would have our unions and representatives screaming bloody murder if we were banned from our jobs with only the talk of evidence.
In a moral sense, Rodriguez got lucky in this investigation. He came up against the only baseball figure with less credibility than he. Bud Selig has been a terrible commissioner. He created a lax environment for steroid use - where testing is practically non-existent - only to then make an issue of a handful of players when it became obvious how silly baseball’s drug enforcement policy really was.
He destroyed the dignity of the playoffs by adding a one-game circus playoff, which means the word “series” is lost on the former car salesman turned commissioner. He mismanaged the All-Star game, ending it in a tie one year, and then giving that popularity event added credibility by giving the winning league a World Series advantage.
Francesa, who is guilty of being egocentric at times, did not show favoritism by giving Rodriguez 18 minutes to answer questions. You think if Selig had showed up at the studio, Francesa would not have allowed him on the air?
Listen to the interview online. Francesa questions Rodriguez over and over again as to whether he used PEDs. Maybe Rodriguez was lying, but all the interviewer can do is ask and he asked three or four times. There was nothing outside the bounds of honesty on Francesa’s end.
If Rodriguez used PEDs, he should be banned from the game permanently. But baseball (and Selig) has made it so this is not the case. This fiasco is the fault of 30 billionaire owners and their hand-picked commissioner, who should go down in history as doing more damage to America’s pastime than any one player.
Owners did not want enforcement when home runs were leaving the yard and people were buying tickets. Now, those same owners are after Alex Rodriguez. If Rodriguez is guilty, he should be thrown out. If he is found not guilty, he should own the league.
It can’t get any worse.