And now for something completely different…


Mornin’ all.

It’s a cold start today. I’m already fully dressed. No chattin’ in my jammies this morning. I even put on socks and an alarmingly uncool mom-style fleece sweatshirt.

“Bethie, just kick on the heater.”

Are you nuts? It’s only September! I’d be a laughingstock if I turned the heat on this early in the year. This is New England. It’s a matter of pride, people.

*shake my head* Turn on the heat. *derisive snort*

I had a dream about real estate last night, specifically a house we went to look at. The outside was, in fact, a house we saw newly listed. The inside, however, was a bizarre mix of every real estate nightmare. Rotten floors, bad plumbing, a random two story slide that started to collapse when some random kid tried to slide down it… You know, standard stuff in a house.

All my life I’ve had a recurring dream about my grandparents’ house. In the dream, I’d go up the stairs to go to sleep in the guest room, but I’d find a door that I had never seen before. I’d open that door and then I’d find myself in an entire secret house. The dream has always fluctuated on what kind of secret house I’d discover. Sometimes it was scary, a terrifying place that I couldn’t find my way out of. Sometimes it was pleasant and homey, like a cottage or something. Sometimes it was like an Indiana Jones adventure, and I’d find lost treasures.

The dream last night was similar in that every time I opened a door in the house, I got something different from room to room. And that’s not a good thing. The random kid who wasn’t mine but was, for some reason, taking the tour with is kept falling through, tripping over, or getting eaten by various things in the house. We helped him, but showed an alarming lack of concern. Maybe he was our mining canary.

You know what? I wish the real estate process was faster than molasses. You see the real estate shows on TV and they make it seem like it’s a fast paced world of racing the clock and closing the deal right before the other guy. In truth, it’s a whole lot of paperwork that takes weeks. It’s ridiculous, especially considering it’s all handled digitally now.

We saw the house we want. No, it’s not the one from the dream. The one from the dream is supposed to be our back-up house in case we can’t get the one we really like, though if strange kids are going to follow me and fall through the floors, I don’t know that we want it on the list at all anymore. We saw the house, actually got pre-qualified for more than we plan on offering (I know, right?! I was just as surprised as you!), and now are waiting to hear back about what kind of inspection we need. All of this has taken two weeks.

Fun fact: Waiting is NOT what Bethies do best.

Maybe the dream last night was the cosmos telling me we do not need a Plan B house. Maybe it was smacking me around saying, “Forget the back up! Eyes on the prize.”

I hope so, anyway. I don’t really want to have to rescue strange kids I don’t really like on a daily basis.

Okay, enough babbling about houses and dreams and canary kids. Let’s talk about sports!

“Um, Bethie? We don’t ‘do’ sports here.”

It’s okay. We can talk about sports once in awhile.

“If you expect me to know any stats or positions or try to make sense of fantasy leagues…”

Dear lord no! I promise sports will simply serve as the backdrop. The real discussion will be about the people involved, not the touchdowns or goals or RBIs (which SHOULD be RsBI, by the way). So, are we good?


Great! Let’s begin.

I like football. American football, for any international readers out there. It’s the only sport I enjoy watching. I’m not a rabid fan or anything like that, and I only actually watch a few whole games through the season. I do, however, follow the news and scores as well as listen to sports talk radio every morning during the NFL season.

And boy howdy, have they had a rough start this season in the PR department, eh? Ray Rice started a firestorm by smacking the shit out of his fiance in front of an elevator camera.

Actually, no. I take that back. He didn’t start the real tornado of holy hell. The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell was the one who really brought the heat. Why? Because he tried to keep the actions of Ray Rice hush hush. He handed down a punishment of only a two game suspension and hoped people would be cool letting Rice off so easy.

“But Bethie, what a player does off the field shouldn’t…”

Stop. You stop it right now.

Don’t be one of those people saying Rice’s rights were violated, or that the commissioner acted reasonably by only suspending him for two games. When an NFL player signs a contract, there is a clear cut section that governs their behavior called a morals clause. Why? Because they are public representatives of a team, a franchise, a league. When they sign with the NFL, when any sports player in the US signs with any league or team, they agree to live by certain basic guidelines designed to keep them acting like decent human beings.

LIVE by them. Not just pretend for the couple hours they’re on the field in front of the camera.

Ray Rice was a good player. He was young and promising and had big numbers. He did charity work in front of a camera and was always ready to give an interview on the evening news. He talked about God a lot, which the NFL really likes, and he’d even remember to look up at the sky when he had a big play and the cameras were rolling. He brought attention which brought sponsors. He was, in essence, one of the NFL’s cash cows.

So when Roger Goodell found out that he beat his woman and then dragged her lifeless body out of the elevator like a caveman, he decided to keep it on the down low. In fact, he waited until Rice had been criminally charged and made a plea deal before he mentioned any kind of NFL sanction. Why is this odd? Because Roger Goodell has screamed loudly for years about the need to enforce the morality clauses in player contracts. He said it, but he clearly didn’t live by his own words.

He tried to keep this one quiet. Boy, did that blow up in his face or what? Guess he underestimated just how pissed off the sponsors would get when they saw the guy they’re backing beat his girlfriend unconscious. In fact, Goodell kept living in his little dream world after the sponsors pulled out, after the team fired Rice, after the public stormed the NFL headquarters with pitchforks and torches.

…okay, that last one only happened metaphorically. I don’t really support storming the NFL headquarters with actual pitchforks and torches. Lances and vats of boiling oil would be much more effective.

Another player just got arrested for child abuse. Adrian Peterson ripped a branch off a tree and used it to flay his four year old son so badly that it gashed open his thighs and butt. The player did turn himself in, because he sees no problem in disciplining his child in such a manner. That’s the scariest abuser of all, the one that honestly does not understand what they are doing is wrong. That’s a terrifying person right there.

Perhaps learning from his previous mistake, Goodell did, in fact, indefinitely suspend Peterson. However, I can’t help but feel it’s a little hollow, that his actions are just for show.

In the years that Goodell has been the NFL commissioner, he’s investigated many incidents that would violate the morals clauses…AFTER they’ve been made public. When Michael Vick was turning puppies into murders for profit, Goodell stepped in and made an example of him…AFTER the press did. When there were accusations of bullying and harassing of a player in the Dolphins locker room, Goodell thoroughly investigated and released a scathing report…AFTER the player had gone to his superiors, filed official complaints, been ignored, went to the press, and blew the cover off the bullying culture himself. He’s got a history of taking charge and bringing down the hammer, but only AFTER there’s some type of public outcry for him to do so.

Since Roger Goodell has taken the helm as NFL commissioner, and promised to make the players better people, role models, guys the kids of America could look up to, there have been 56 players convicted of domestic violence in the NFL. So what did Good Guy Roger do? Suspended them for 13 games TOTAL. Most, in fact, received no sanctions whatsoever. You think Ray Rice knocking his woman unconscious is bad? Carolina Panthers player Greg Hardy was convicted in July (as in THIS July) for chocking his girlfriend until she passed out. In case you are unfamiliar with the basics of biology, people need air to live. He was seconds away from killing her. Just seconds. He was convicted of something easily as heinous, if not worse than Ray Rice, and yet he got to play. He had a great game the first week, in fact. Put up huge numbers. Gave those nice, shiny stats.

And THAT’S why Goodell keeps his yap shut. The bottom line. The almighty dollar.

A major sponsor, the Radisson hotel chain, suspended their sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings, the team that swiftly suspended Adrian Peterson when they found out about his child abuse allegations. The Radisson pulled all their money because they do not in any way want to be affiliated with child abusers.

THAT’S why the NFL has morals clauses people. It’s not about making players be good role models. It’s about keeping sponsors happy.

There are almost 1,700 players in the NFL. The vast majority of them are decent guys. But 56 cases of domestic violence are 56 cases too many. I can’t help but wonder if Goodell had actually cracked down on the small percentage of bad players for no other reason than it being the right thing to do, would that number be lower? How many women could have been saved the horror of their 200+ lb ripped professional sports playing man turning on them and using their faces as a punching bag?

This is not just a problem with the NFL. It’s happened in every professional sport through history (with maybe the exception of curling). The guys at the helm are so worried about offending sponsors that they have built a culture than can do nothing but offend. They tell the bad guys they are good, and tell the good guys to shut up and keep their heads down, and they do it all while shaking hands and kissing babies in front of the camera and…

…holy shit. Professional Sports = Government.

Mind. Blown.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Tuesday, September 16, 2014. I’m going to go obsessively stare at the phone in the hopes that the realtor will remember that she works in the brutal, cutthroat, fast lane of real estate and calls me before it’s too late. Why, right this very minute another potential buyer could be shuffling in on maybe thinking about taking a look at the property. CAN’T SHE SEE IT’S URGENT??


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