i remember back in 2011 i was dominating my fantasy football league because of this surprise tight end on the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS was dominating the NFL. that tight end was AARON HERNANDEZ. my thought process was basically that quarterback TOM BRADY was so efficient that all of his possible receivers would have inflated stats and as it turned out i was correct. the other tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI was a high pick in every draft but HERNANDEZ was a sleeper. the next year i chose him again when oddly partway through the season he stopped because he was being investigated in a homicide. jokingly i remember complaining that of course this happens to my team, but quickly i realized that most in my position in all likelihood did not share my healthy distance from my own competitive self-interests.
i think one of the key components that make KILLER INSIDE: THE MIND OF AARON HERNANDEZ (NETFLIX, 2020) such a deeply distubing documentary is the culpability of all of us in this game that literally grinds up men and chews them out as broken shadows of their former selves. to me that was the bottom line as told through the story of a deeply troubled player with questionable morals that succeeded and was given no guardrails or boundaries due to his athletic prowess and our collective cult-like adoration to modern athletes.
this devotion is hollow in that none of us truly care about these players once they leave the field of play. think about that for a minute. we use these men.
HERNANDEZ throughout the 3-hour, 3-part documentary is shown to be a freak athlete who suffered through family chaos, repressed sexuality and a diminished control over his emotions that was almost certainly a result of CTE due to concussions going back to high school. this is not to say that the film offers him excuses for his actions, it doesnt. its conceit is that he had agency and made terrible choices based on a myriad of underlying issues that complicated his sense of identity and position in society. the murders he was accused of conducting were heinous and senseless and beyond tragic, as those he lashed out against were normal working-class people unassociated with any underworld connections.
you just get the feeling that this guy needed help at every stage in his development and all anyone saw in him was dollar signs. as consumers we are all implicated in the bloodsport that is AMERICAN football and the NCAA and the NFL are both hollow organizations that cater to this impulse for violence. at some point we have to come to terms with the sport and the wake of human wreckage it leaves behind. notwithstanding is the equally brutal, almost spartan, connotations it provides in celebrating a particular strain of toxic masculinity to the youth that isn't representative, fair or healthy.
real bravery is living your truth and taking responsibility for your actions. not violence. the NFL is a scourge on our society. they know they profit from and celebrate human carnage. can't help but muse over the spiraling lasting societal effects of a generation of athletes dealing with undiagnosable traumatic brain injuries. the effects on their wives, husbands, children, siblings, parents and loved ones.
powerful film well worth investigating. highly recommended.
at some point this disastrous administration will become a footnote to history and the name TRUMP will forever be analogous with other epithets like COWARD, FRAUD, MYSOGYNIST, CHEAT, LIAR, RACIST and TRAITOR. it will be during this future era that the NFL will have a problem.
that problem will forever be named COLIN KAEPERNICK, the lone athlete that put fealty to our nation's higher ideals of JUSTICE, EQUALITY and DUTY TO OTHERS above personal gain.
literally the KAEPERNICK does not have to play another down. as mentioned before in my recent JERRY RICE entry, his cultural legacy is pretty much set just like that of JIM BROWN, MUHAMED ALI, BILL RUSSELL and KAREEM ABDUL-JABAR standing up to racism back during the heart of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT in spite of potential backlash and professional consequences. they did it because it was right.
it seems fitting that a league filled with billionaire "owners" (and the GREEN BAY PACKERS FOUNDATION) would have chosen to side with a tyrant like TRUMP over their better angels. you have to look not further than their fans. it's not like AMERICAN FOOTBALL fans are the most alert, thoughtful bunch who are beyond blind loyalty to a brand (i mean just look at NY JETS fans). the fact that this angry mob doesn't recognize a true patriot isn't surprising either, its almost like they need a fly-over ceremony and fireworks to get ginned up on jingoistic fervor.
you might be thinking this is all old news, and you'd be right. but currently the NFL is attempting to appear as though they are giving him a fair shot at not being blackballed any further from the league, giving him an impromptu workout for several teams without notice to prepare properly. seems to me to be a setup that once this event happens they can collectively look to the camera and say that he wasn't up for it physically. that in essence his dismissal from the league was justified.
except thats bullshit.
and this stain will never go away. it is part of the legacy of the NFL now and forever.
like a lot of people these days, i'm pretty ambivalent about american football. with all the long-term health issues associated with CTE impacting veteran players, it seems as if we are witnessing a blood sport that is literally dismantling players before our very eyes. don't believe me? watch this interview with BEARS quarterback JIM MCMAHON. its absolutely heartbreaking.
aside from health concerns there is also the matter of the draconian business practices and labor rules that govern the league which are anti-free market and anti-american. you are essentially watching economic fiefdoms battling each other where "owners" have near total control over salary negotiations and incentives that serve their interests and not the players.
lastly there is the matter of politics and race relations, which the NFL is sorely behind the times, no matter how much money they throw JAY-Z's way. i won't even get into COLIN KAEPERNICK, only to say that the dude is the most significant player of his generation and will one day be revered among MUHAMMED ALI, JIM BROWN, JACKIE ROBINSON, BILL RUSSELL, KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR and other prominent athletes that took a righteous socio-political stand despite the personal and professional ramifications. these choices showcase greatness that transcends sports.
this is all to say that what i do not feel ambivalent about when it comes to football is JERRY RICE, often considered the greatest player of any position the NFL has ever witnessed. what i love about him specifically is his humility and work ethic.
when DEER GOD started i was transitioning from working in education to something well outside my comfort zone, the world of recording studios and recording artists. in the past 2+ years since returning stateside from MYANMAR i've been around people that talked a lot bit did very little. my whole ethic was to underpromise and outperform, to do whatever i could to at the very least not be the weak link in the chain.
if you ever get the opportunity you should definitely watch RICE's legendary HALL OF FAME speech in CANTON. it was right after fellow inductee EMITT SMITH gave a sermon passionately espousing how he self-made himself into a generational running back based on sheer perseverance and his own self-identified greatness. listening to SMITH was such a bore and an exercise in being crass and self-aggrandizing for the sake of self-mythology.
RICE on the other hand spoke about growing up in the south the son of bricklayer who got paid per brick. RICE would assist his family on construciton sites by passing bricks along in a chain. he literally did not want to drop a brick as it would result in his family getting fewer financial resources. he carried this mentality to the field where his only motivation was not to show off, but rather to not fail. his whole singular HALL OF FAME career was an attempt in trying his hardest to not let others down. think about that. it is beyond humbling to consider the sacrifice he made as a matter of pushing forward the idea of teamwork and collaboration. it is quite remarkable.
literally one of the great speeches i have ever heard by an athlete and further evidence that in a league that cannabilizes on its own and disregards common sense, personal freedom and human decency without a second notice, here is a gentleman who has elevated this shit league from the morass of its own cowardice and self-interest to higher noble ideals more in keeping with the better nature of this american experiment.
fancy way of saying you should check out his speech. worth your time.