It could never be me, so it must be you

A couple of issues back, I wrote an article expressing my anger at the Browns’ signing of running back Kareem Hunt, currently under suspension by the NFL for knocking around a 19-year-old woman. I went on to suggest that the Browns could potentially damage their image and their lofty status among Cleveland sports fans if they kept Hunt instead of releasing him.

Apparently, the Browns didn’t get the memo, because somehow interest is even greater now that they went out and acquired Odell Beckham Jr., a moody but talented wide receiver who, by all accounts, should mesh well with Baker Mayfield and make the Browns offense one of the better squads in the league.

So, I started thinking about the so-called “sports mentality” that allows us to conveniently set aside our morals, or at least our good judgment when it comes to sports. I mean, seriously, what gives with that?

Suppose you’re walking down the street and see some guy smacking around a teenaged woman. If you’re brave enough, you might try to intervene physically. If you’re a chicken like me, you’ll at least get on your cell and dial 9-1-1, right? Then, later, when the dust settles, you’ll pat yourself on the back and feel good about stopping what could have been a terrible crime, not to mention getting a nut-job off the streets.

But, in the NFL, since the nut-job happens to be a talented football player, we apparently play by a different set of rules. And, after I thought about it more, I realized that the rules not only involve those very players we worship but feature us as well.

Think about the people you know who go to sporting events – football games in particular – who do a complete 180-degree transformation, from mild-mannered office nerd, to drunken, face-painted (probably in hopes no one will recognize him), obnoxious, foul-mouthed idiot. But, enough about our elected officials.

There’s only one reason thousands of fans do this every Sunday on a regular basis: it’s socially acceptable. It’s mob mentality at its finest, I tell you, because how wrong can it be if everyone else is doing it? There’s strength in numbers, baby, and you could even say that with all the alcohol consumed, the numbers are, um, “staggering.” (See what I did there?)

Anyway, I guess the point is, it’s easy to be a little wacky-wack when you have a support group of 60,000 others on the “fringe.” I mean, if you can stay home and watch the game for free with much less chance of someone spilling a beer or throwing up on you, but you opt to shell out $75 for a ticket, $30 for parking, and also spend enough on food and drink that you qualify for a bridge loan, let’s face it: You’re there to mingle with your support group, my friend. It’s not even about football, it’s t-h-e-r-a-p-y, pal. You don’t need Dr. Phil to crack that code.

You’re welcome. 

   

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:06 AM, 03.19.2019