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Using Tragedy To Virtue Signal

It isn’t often that I make exclamations out loud while I’m alone at home. My dog, who doesn’t particularly care for me, looked at me as I said “Are you kidding me,” while I was listening to my phone read me an article tweeted out by WBUR’s Twitter account.


I saw the article’s title and thought I had to read this. The title that author Steve Almond chose to go with is nuts if you asked me. It reads: “Life and Death on the Gridiron.” It doesn’t take a gym teacher to know he is going to be writing about the Damar Hamlin situation.


Before we even get into the article itself, it needs to be pointed out that Damar Hamlin is indeed alive. In fact, it was reported this morning that he is off a ventilator and actually video chatted with his teammates during a team meeting. All great news. So the use of “death” is a little heavy handed. But Almond has written something called Against Football so I think we can all figure out where this one is going.


Anyway, let’s dig into this thing.

Steve “The Nutman” Almond starts the piece with a breakdown of what happened on Monday Night Football. I don’t think we need to catalog it again. After a brief summary, Almond goes on to say “None of this comes as a surprise anymore. Even the most diehard football fans understand that there’s a reason every NFL stadium has an emergency protocol in place, with paramedics and an ambulance on standby.” What “The Nutman” doesn’t add, is that EVERY major sport has a medical staff on hand for every game. Even further, EVERY professional, college and even high school has at least an athletic trainer to protect against any kind of injury. Also, I can tell Steve that all of them have an AED to prevent issues like this from happening. At the high school I coached at, the trainer and AED came to any athletic event. Including but not limited to, cheerleading competitions, color guard performances and even musical theater productions. It goes without saying that Almond’s point is nonsensical here.


As a matter of fact, wasn’t it just in 2021 that Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest on the field? I’m sure Steve just conveniently forgot about that.


Let’s move on.


Shit. This is going to take a while. The next paragraph starts with this, “Heck, I’ve known the game was lethal ever since I watched my childhood hero, Jack Tatum, deliver a vicious hit that left Patriots' wide receiver Daryl Stingley paralyzed for life. “ It seems “The Nutman” doesn’t have access to a dictionary. He uses the word “lethal” which means “sufficient to cause death.” I’m not the best wordsmith myself, but if you’re trying to prove football is deadly, maybe put an example of someone dying in this spot? I get being paralyzed isn’t good, but “The Nutman” has to be better here.


In that same paragraph, Almond says, “I was 11 years old. I expected the adult world would shut football down.” Does anyone believe this? If so, I have some things to sell to those people. No 11 year old thinks this. Trust me, I work with 11 year olds. Some of whom are much smarter than I was at 11. None of them would come out with this. Let’s say I believe “The Nutman.” (I do not by the way) Does he think anything that has any potential for serious injury should be shut down? By his logic that means no more, baths, showers, driving, airplanes, walking down stairs, walking in general, stepping outside or remaining inside for that matter. Yes some things are more risky than others, but come on. Steve would rather we all live protected lives and vote Democrat on everything.

This is tiring. I’ll move on to the main point of this thing.


“The Nutman” did something I thought was almost impossible. He made one of the biggest reaches I’ve ever stumbled across. I can’t even put it into words so I’ll let it come from Steve “Chocolate With” Almond himself, “It is not some crazy coincidence that our country is the only industrialized nation that refuses to enact sensible gun control, and thus suffers scores of horrific mass shootings every year.”


That’s right folks. He is blaming football for mass shootings. Now normal people know this assertion is absolute insanity. But I’ll humor “The Nutman.” Draw me a straight line from a mass shooting and connect it directly to football please. Or better yet, show me the play where an outside linebacker whipped out an AR-15 and pumped a running back full of lead. I’ll wait.


Well since I’ll be waiting a while, I’ll go out on a limb and say that it has never happened. This is just more evidence of a pandemic worse than Covid ever could be. I’m talking about the pandemic of people using tragedy to further a cause. Normally, people are smarter than old Steve here and actually connect things that are somewhat relevant to each other, but it’s no less despicable. People have an agenda and do logical acrobatics to push their ideas on a situation. Both sides do it, but the militant left seems to be more desperate to shove virtue signaling into everything possible.


It’s honestly making those of us who don’t really care to inject political ideologies into people getting injured sick. It is actually having the opposite impact that Steve and folks like him are trying to have. It’s driving us against the point due to the callousness of pieces like this.


I can rant and rave about this all I want. It’s not going to stop. “The Nutman” is going to continue writing crap like this and it’ll soon fade into the background. But what normal people like us have to do is keep calling this shit out. It’s the only way to make it stop. And for those who think this is just politically motivated, forward something similar from a right wing article and I’ll do the same to them. I think calling out the Turtleboy tweets about this same incident is good enough, but I’ll do more if I have to.


To “The Nutman” himself, I have only this to say. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and don’t bother responding to my email. I know the answers to all of the questions I asked. Oh and thank you. I enjoyed writing a few legume themed puns. I made myself laugh several times.



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