The Super Eh Bowl

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Ray Lewis, Sports Illustrated

Jeffri Chadiha, formerly of Sports Illustrated as his ESPN bio lists, has an easy article windbagging about how Ray Lewis is too popular to be tarnished. It's shades of Steve Young from his post-MNF “the demand for the NFL is inelastic” without the menace, the balls. It's a good observation, but Chadiha distances himself from any responsibility, simply saying, “Oh well.” He spends the whole article telling you whether or not Ray Lewis has involved himself with something he shouldn't, it's Ray and we all love Ray, so who's going to hold his feet to the fire? Surely not Chadiha, a journalist. A journalist for ESPN, competitor of Sports Illustrated. The same Sports Illustrated that has just released a lengthy article on S.W.A.T., Ray Lewis, and PEDs.

Sure, it's labeled commentary. It's the John Stewart-let-me-point-at-the-problem- but-when-pushed-to-show-a-solution-hide-under-my-label-as-entertainer.

Pardon, I'm on my Andy Rooney tip these days.

And PEDs aren't even the concern. Who cares? The sport's success, as we know, is dependent upon the wrecking of bodies and those bodies ability to return to the field the next week. Football is not normal. As with most behavior, it's not about avoiding illegal substances, it's about not getting caught. We inject juveniles with painkillers during halftime, but Ray Lewis squirts himself with some deer antler spray and there is the red flag? I don't know science. Sure.

Mostly, I'm done with football. It's not Chris Culliver being baited into gay-bashing and his hollow retreat. The 49ers' PR rep saying, “All of this was just a big mistake. It was interpreted wrong.” It is that, but then Big Ben raping and raping and not actually raping because we have to save his narrative. It's not really the two University of Texas players that were questioned then not wholly pursued for sexual assault allegations, but more the final sentence of the article on USA Today:

The woman said one of the men assaulted her while the other “just stood there and watched,” the report says. Police said they observed bruises on the woman's right knee and left bicep.

After talking to police, the woman was taken to a San Antonio hospital, where she was seen by a sexual assault nurse examiner, according to the report. The two suspects also were taken to the hospital and examined by the nurse, the report says.

Texas rallied to beat Oregon State 31-27 in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday night.

It is the nightmare that is the cult of a successful football program as detailed in the Steubenville rape case.

Sexual assault, illicit behavior aren't restricted to football. And it's not even the overwhelming story behind the sport. Mostly it's just a group of dudes pushing their bodies as hard as they can until they hit another body. We champion the idea that a free man is autonomous and if he wants to punish himself that is his authority. If you want to build yourself up into a hulking mass of inflation and rebar and you make a contract with another man to do the same and meet on a piece of grass to level each other, then I suppose you are within your right to do so. Really, though, I'm coming up short on how football is a positive force.

I'm thinking of my childhood wearing my 2x Emmitt Smith jersey, my star- embroidered slippers, my Dallas blue robe. Staying up past my bedtime to see Alvin Harper dunk the ball over the crossbar. But these are highly selective memories where I ignore the gluttonous excess that was the Cowboys of the 90s.

This time last year, Sam Harris posted a metaphor titled “The Fireplace Delusion.” In it, he explains how people can believe in a god, religion, despite all contrary evidence. He uses the fireplace in exchange for religion. It's cleverly crafted, and while he tells you of the dangers, of how horrible a fire is for humans you can't but help react negatively. Your interior monologue saying, “No, we've always had a fire during Thanksgiving. A fire is warm and a fire is good and that's that.” As much as I love football, handpicking the narratives I want to exist, it has become apparent The Fireplace Delusion extends past its original intent.

San Francisco by 13