Monday, January 29, 2007

Reggie Bush: A Commentary on The Social Climate

The sports media has been full recently of the punishment received by Reggie Bush from the NFL for taunting during his 88-yard touchdown reception in New Orleans' NFC championship game loss at Chicago.

Bush has contributed a breath of fresh air for New Orleans. He arrived amid unprecedented fanfare brought on by his fortuitous drop to the Saints in last years NFL draft which helped create a distraction from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Fans, and even those not a regular part of the “Who Dat’ Nation”, embraced the new look Saints and Reggie Bush enthusiastically.

Regrettably, Bush; in allowing his emotions to get out of hand; demonstrated a very; no pun intended, “bush league” act in front of millions watching over television. Apparently he has recognized his error, apologized, and now will pay the standard NFL fine for taunting.

While his act does not make Bush a bad person, it does demonstrate a social climate seriously lacking in good taste. This one-up-man-ship seems to permeate every aspect of society. Gone, seemingly, are the gracious winners due in no small part, I believe, to a vociferous element of fandom whose calls for increasingly outrageous demonstrations goads the athlete to the extremes we so often witness.

The old adage learned in Pop Warner football that when one scores a touchdown, he should act as if he’s been there before should perhaps be drilled into the psyche of today’s athlete. Coaches cringe when players show up the opponent because they know it often comes back to bite the entire team in dramatic fashion, as was demonstrated in that game as Chicago seemed to catch fire after the taunting and went on to soundly defeat New Orleans.

I believe Reggie Bush will be a much better athlete and person when this is through, because from all reports he is a responsible citizen, who suffered a momentary bout of weakness. But the larger issue is the “throw them to the lions” mentality of today’s fans, and the population in general. “Cutting Edge” has become a pseudonym for extravagant, belligerent, and boorish behavior. Television commercials demonstrate the cultural quagmire into which society is sinking, as those seeking to influence America’s buying public feel it necessary to push the envelope beyond formerly acceptable bounds of decency.

Television commercials do not change societal mores, as much as they reflect them. The millions of dollars advertising agencies spend to develop and produce commercials do not allow for crusading. They must bring results. Neither do the actions of Reggie Bush or Terrell Owens cause young boys and girls to embrace anti-social behavior. The only reason such behavior is acted out, is because it is applauded by fandom. Should there be immediate and significant consequences for such action, it would cease immediately, in the same manner that television commercials are dropped which do not gain the desired effect.

I blame the churches of America for failing to effectively preach and teach the principle of “The Golden Rule”: “Treat others in the same manner in which you would like to be treated.” The churches have the responsibility to be molders of society, not reactionaries to society. The morass of societal degradation demonstrated continually on the athletic fields of America proves once again that America is NOT a Christian Nation, abiding by the teaching of Holy Scripture.

© Mike Rasberry 2007

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