Bountygate & Big Brother: Thuggery and Overstepping at Their Finest

Have you ever had a random stranger tell you how to do your job? Do you remember that sting of disapproval that made you want to take a rusty knife to their face and carve off that shit-eating grin when they said, “May I?” That has got to be what professional sports leagues feel when the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform walks up twirling their “Look at me, I’m important!” fringed batons. How else are you supposed to feel when some entitled prick screams something to the effect of “You’re doing it wrong!” on a national stage? The Committee’s recent announcement that they will investigate the NFL’s ‘bountygate’ is just another example of their overstepping (The poorly photoshopped chap in the picture above is Rep. Darrell E. Issa, committee chairman – RP). In this instance, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should do what MLB Commissioner Bud Selig didn’t do when the committee launched their investigation into MLB players’ steroid use: tell the committee to fuck off and go get an ice cream cone.

First, let me address the controversy itself. While I’m surprised this actually happens in the NFL, I realize that I probably shouldn’t be. One of the game’s greatest players, Ray Lewis, even recognized how lacking of morals and class today’s players are when he urged a quick end to last year’s lockout because he feared a rise in crimes committed by bored players. Even when they aren’t bored, they’re committing crimes: Pac Man Jones, Cedric Benson, Sam Hurd, the entire Bengals roster… What else would they do when they’re not busy blowing money they don’t deserve? God forbid they enroll in a Finance class at a local University and actually learn how their agents and entourage are robbing them blind before it happens.

I played several sports in Junior High and High School and whole-heartedly agree that paying players to hurt opposing teams’ playmakers is deserving of the harshest of punishments that Commissioner Goodell decides to hand out. I hope any sorry SOB involved, in any way, with such a scheme, regardless of stature within the organization or level of participation, is banned from the sport for life. The very concept of ‘bountygate’ offends me, as a sports fan, on several levels, the least of which is that it is a direct attack on the integrity of the game(s). Where the hell is the sportsmanship? I thought the concept of organized sports was for teams to play each other to their best of their abilities, bust their asses every play, and shake hands at the end of the day knowing that the best team won that day. Winning used to signify that your team had beaten the best from the opposing team by being able to outwit and outplay them at every turn. A win meant that you knew your best beat their best, no questions asked. Any player who has to resort to injuring an opposing team’s star to win is admitting their best can’t beat the other team’s best. I guess a win now means that you were able to hurt more of their players than your own.

‘Boutygate’ also proves what drives the league: money. I’m not naive enough to think that 99.9% of the players do so because they love the game (there’s gotta be one player out there who does actually play because he loves it, keeping me from matter-of-factly stating that all 100% of the player are in it for the money, probably a kicker). Everyone needs to put food on the table, but do you think any of the players who took payouts from the pool would have tried that hard if the prize was a Denny’s voucher for 4 free Grand Slams? Probably only the 300+ lb. offensive linemen who are “quick for their size.” And even then, they’d no doubt negotiate to have bacon or a shortstack included with the voucher. I guess even in the NFL the old adage is true: money talks and bullshit walks. Which tells me that every coach who is on a team that has a bounty pool is overpaid.

If you have to resort to cash prizes to motivate your players to create a fumble, get a sack, or score a touchdown, I’ve got news for you: you’re not a coach, you’re a pimp. You dangle a prize in front of your players, sometimes giving them a little of what they want (a fat contract extension, for example) and punish them when they don’t “bring back the money” with a benching, a demotion, or being cut from the team. And what does that make the players? Very good, class: the ho’s! Juiced-up, brain-washed, spandex-lovin ho’s that wouldn’t dare question a coach who can’t convince his players to follow the rules of the game because he himself doesn’t know how to do it either (Sal Alosi, anyone?) It’s a classic example of the blind leading the blind.

Am I jumping too far in grandiosely describing all players as money-hungry, immoral jackasses and all coaches as talentless pimps? Probably, but in my own warped world, the entire crew is responsible for the ship sinking. Even if they did not participate in the pool, other players and coaches knew about it and should have spoken up. I’m guessing Gregg Williams would have cut the shit if he were confronted in the parking garage by the other coaches who actually possess the mental faculties to understand that paying one human to harm another is not only wrong, but actually fucking illegal and punishable with prison time. Good old peer pressure still works, ya know. If nothing else, threaten to blackmail the known offenders with a call to the IRS (I seriously doubt Johnathan Wilma claimed his winnings on his 1040EZ).

Perhaps even more than the act of ‘Bountygate’ itself pissing me off is the act of Congress announcing they will be holding meetings to discuss what should be done to avoid this type of unsportsmanlike conduct in the future. How about we give the NFL’s Commissioner’s office a crack at getting their shit in order before Big Brother steps in? I mean, aren’t there more pressing issues that our elected representatives should be focusing on? (Hint: Obamacare, crushingly high unemployment rates, reducing an ever-growing deficit, China trying to kill us with lead-based paint, defective drywall, and poisoned toothpaste, etc…) The Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform’s homepage indicates that its duty is to protect citizens’ right have an efficient, effective government “that works for them” and to know that the aforementioned role-model government is spending their tax dollars wisely. I’ll admit right now that I am far from a qualified political analyst or above average politico, but is that not what the check-and-balance system between our three branches of government are supposed to do? How is this not admitting that our congressmen and women have no morals and, left to their own devices, will screw the tax payer at every turn?

Setting aside the discussion of what they were designed to do for another time, let’s look at whether or not they actually have the jurisdiction to actually intercede in matters such as baseball’s steroid controversy or the NFL’s ‘bountygate’. According to their homepage, the Committee states they have “legislative jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, the government procurement process, federal personnel systems, the Postal Service and other matters.” Fairly straightforward verbiage, but – wait, what does the last part say? Other matters? What the hell does that mean? Does that mean they can stick their foot into any door they please if they deem it relating to the workings of the government? The short answer to the last question is yes, they can. Since the Committee serves as the “principal investigative committee of the House” it has the authority to play the part of the sleuth with anything that interests Congress, such as professional sports. Whoever suggested including the “other matters” in their jurisdiction statement deserves the Congress’ Most Thorough Bastard of the Year award because that basically gives them carte blanch to flip through the channels and say, “Hmmm, I don’t know what that is, but it looks interesting! I think I’ll suggest the Committee investigate these plankers and see what kind of dangers they pose to our government!” Well played, Committee.

So, in this case, I believe that the Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform is achieving their goal of informing citizens on what their government is spending their tax dollars on: a scandal that is being handled by its own governing body, the NFL Commissioner’s office. Good job Committee, you’ve shown me that you can fully justify not doing the job you were elected to do and, instead, spend millions of dollars sticking your entitled nose where it doesn’t belong. Get back to investigating shit that does concern you and can actually be identified as something other than “other matters,” like how in the hell Starbucks is allowed to charge for a cup of black coffee that tastes little better than steaming piss. Seriously, shouldn’t a coffee house be able to brew a simple cup of coffee that doesn’t taste like like they forgot to separate the two and actually roasted the bean inside the cat shit?

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