photo manipulation by nacrowe
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.