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Editor's column: Sidelines full of fools

November 2, 2013
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

Did you happen to catch Dallas receiver Dez Bryant's tirade during last weekend's loss to the Lions?

It was classic - amusing and sad at the same time. You almost wished someone would have handed him his blankee and sippy cup. Or punched him in the back of the head.

Thank you, Dez Bryant, for providing us with more sideline shenanigans and giving me one less reason to watch the NFL. In simplest terms: Passion is good, tantrums are bad.

Bryant is just one of many pro football players who are ruining the most popular sport in the country.

I can't speak for what players were like back in the 1960s, '70s, or even '80s - I'm sure there were plenty of outlandish personalities roaming the sidelines and tearing up the gridiron - but there's no way they can compare with the babies and thugs that strap on a helmet these days.

Pro football has changed in numerous ways in just the last few years. I appreciate the effort the league has made to make the game safer (although they really don't have a choice if they ever want to stop getting sued by former players or their families), but can't the league do something about getting rid of the common jerks they employ?

Bryant is a receiver, meaning besides having great hands and world-class speed, he also has a world-class mouth and ego to match. NFL analysts often refer to receivers in the league as divas. I call them babies. But it's not just the receivers who ruin the game by running their mouths.

Defensive players are guilty, too, only for different reasons. Take Washington safety Brandon Meriweather, who said this week he plans to "take people's knees out" so as to avoid another suspension for blows to the head. What Meriweather said isn't just outrageous, it's dumb. It's outrageously dumb. Good move. Now every official, every league cop will be watching you, Mr. Meriweather.

These players are idiots. Complete idiots. Don't these players have "people" they pay to remind them not to open their mouths? If you don't have anything intelligent to say, shut the hell up. And the NFL is idiotic for continuing to believe that simple fines will change things.

I can put up with show-boating and chest-pumping - even when it comes after a player does something as routinely fundamental and nondescript as making a tackle - it's what they do and say during the week and on the sidelines that has almost forced me to stop watching these clowns.

The NFL makes its money off its big-time playmakers, but sadly, there are fewer and fewer to admire these days. Players like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are great ambassadors for the league, but they are far too outnumbered by thugs and fools to make a difference. The most outrageous thing Manning has ever said on camera came during a Pro Bowl a few years ago when he referred to a former teammate as "some idiot kicker."

That's just funny.

By no means is football the only sport that has to put up moronic athletes. The NBA has its share, too, as does Major League Baseball. Every sport has its own delegation of wife-beaters, drunk drivers or cheaters, so here's my proposal: The commissioners of every pro league hold a summit and agree to disinfect their respective leagues of the real bad bugs. It might cost them some revenue on the back end, but what the leagues might lose in money, they might just gain in credibility.

I know what you're thinking: If you don't like it, then don't watch it. I know you're thinking that, because I'm thinking the same thing.



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