It’s unbelievable, unimaginable, that a football player, or anyone associated with that noble sport, would be sullied with the savagery and cruelty of dog fighting. In dog fighting, players are raised and trained to attack other players on the principle that winning is the only thing. Successful fighters are given a luxurious life, with the best of food and comfortable living conditions – until someone better comes along, at which point they are killed, a splendid economy of pension costs. This is inevitable because they are given no life skills outside the game itself, such as chasing frisbees or being tickled behind the ears or playing in the lawn sprinkler with kids, and a ruthless selection and winnowing process reduces their numbers by factors of ten along the way. The whole enterprise is carried on for the amusement of a fan base that gibbers after physical attack and injury, the while reciting pieties about sportsmanship and skill. In dogfighting, the paying audience has no interest whatever in the moral standing or personal qualities of the contestants, as long as they fight and win. Finally, dogfighting supports an industry of illegal gambling embroiled with organized crime and therefore with drugs, prostitution, and the like.
Nothing in this vicious and revolting enterprise has the slightest relationship to professional football; it’s simply night and day. The Falcons’ quarterback is a scholar-athlete who needed only half the normal time for a college education at a school “with a strong academic program” some of which he may have personally experienced. He has an impeccable personal history, including a gift of fully 0.00006 of his Falcon’s contract (a full eighth of the value of his two years of full-ride athletic scholarship) to his alma mater on the occasion of the massacre there last year. A true gentleman of sport, and obviously an innocent victim of a frameup. Or misled by longtime friends…yeah, that’s it: it’s his wonderful personal loyalty to his homeboys he’s being punished for. If by some chance there’s the least truth to the terrible things federal prosecutors are saying about him, I take comfort in his imminent prison conversion to one or another of the tub-thumping religions so useful to people in this situation and, bathed in the healing waters of pious cant, a speedy return to holding up his team’s bottom line. A profit center is a terrible thing to waste.