Tag Archives: Drinking

Greed, Violence And Sports

There is a 56-year-old man in Baltimore clinging to life today because he was beaten inside the stadium of a Baltimore Ravens football game.

In Alabama, the first three months of football season are the deadliest months of the year because of DUI fatalities.

Not long ago, before a college football game in Nebraska, police had to breakup a tailgate and force 3000 people to leave, after arresting fifteen individuals.

In separate incidents at different stadiums across the country, a group attacked a single man and stabbed him to death, two other people were shot at different times and two men suffered irreparable brain damage after being attacked outside different stadiums.

A two-year old girl who was out on a pumpkin picking trip with her parents will live her life as a paraplegic because of a head-on collision caused by a man who was driving drunk after leaving a professional football game.

Philadelphia Eagles fans are notoriously brutal; so much so that in the late 90’s the club installed a jail and courtroom in the bowels of their stadium where unruly fans were arrested, put on trial and sentenced by a judge who was forced to be in attendance for every home game.

These examples are a microscopic sampling of what goes on before, during and after sporting events in this country. Football games, both college and professional are especially  guilty of this type of behavior. I’m not even addressing the rioting that goes on after teams win or lose championships, as if celebrations need to be intoxicated examples of boorish and irresponsible behavior.

Why? In part, the short answer is alcohol, though the parties involved will quietly move away from that topic because of the financial implications.

Now, I have been a season ticket holder for New York Giants football games for 40 years. For the first 30 years I rarely missed a game, attending well over 300 during that 40 year period. I’ve seen some pretty ugly stuff during that time. I’ve also attended countless baseball games in several ballparks. Also not a pretty picture.

When you take upwards of 80,000 people, many with testosterone issues, and you place them in a parking lot where they’ve been drinking for 3-4 hours before a game starts, then cramp them into a stadium where large amounts of beer is sold, considering there are fans from both teams at these games, you have the strong potential of several thousand angry and drunk individuals. That’s a potent combination and a recipe for dangerous confrontations in and outside of the stadiums.

Statistics tell us that those who tailgate are fourteen times more likely to be legally drunk during or after a game and that one in ten people leaving these games are legally drunk. So in a stadium that holds 80,000 people, 8,000 people are walking out impaired and many of those are getting into car and hitting the roads. Multiply that by hundreds of stadiums across the country on any given weekend.

And yet, very few restrictions are put on these individuals before or after a game.

Look, I love a good tailgate as much as the next person and even though I don’t drink, I don’t have a problem with people who do, as long as they do it responsibly. But if I want to take a child to a game and it’s going to cost me upwards of 250.00 for two tickets, another 30.00 to park and who knows what else inside the stadium, I want to be able to enjoy the entertainment in front of me without  someone throwing around four letter words. I want  to know I can cheer for a team without being attacked because of it, regardless of what stadium I’m in. I want a safe environment and considering the billions of dollars these teams and leagues are generating in revenue, they should be able to provide that for me. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

But they won’t do that because the product would suffer. They don’t want to alienate the crazy fans who buy $120.00 team jerseys and they certainly don’t want their beer concession sales to suffer. Both would be a financial hit to the bottom line, and regardless of the smoke and mirrors they place in front of us, it’s always about the bottom line. Restrictions, random testing, increased security, removing people from games before incidents occur, implementing proactive measures to avoid injury or death; these are all things that should be considered but probably never will.

So lives will continue to be altered, families will continue to mourn the loss of loved ones or face a future of long-term care and the games will continue to be played.

Because greed and violence is as much a part of sports as the play on the field.

Anyone who tells you differently works for a team or a league office.

 

Raped Twice

Statistics tell us that one in five women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.

One in five women.

The next time you’re in a room filled with people, take a look around at the women in that room and think about those numbers. Disturbingly, since rape is underreported in this country, that number is higher than statistics indicate.

When I started this blog I wanted it to be a place I could go to and just write what was on my mind. Whether it was funny or serious, it was going to be my place to vent. The Stanford swimmer’s rape trial and verdict that has been in the news recently is so disgustingly obscene that even though I wanted to write something, I couldn’t find my way here to rationally articulate any reasonable thoughts. But I have to say something.

A young unconscious girl was assaulted and raped in January 2015 by a drunk student named Brock Turner who happened to be a swimmer. He comes from a privileged family and lives in Oakwood, Ohio, a neighborhood known for a higher standard of living with good schools and a low crime rate. The median household income in $100,724, more than double the average in Ohio.

Brock’s father lamented that his son’s life is pretty much ruined and that it was a steep price to pay for “20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”  Anyone who wonders if Brock has any respect at all for women should look no further than the insensitive ignorance coming from his father’s mouth. It’s possible the father is a bigger waste of human DNA than his son.

Brock’s mother pleaded with the judge for no jail time, saying that any time behind bars would be a “death sentence.” She felt he wouldn’t survive jail, that he’s be “damaged goods” and a major target being a “Stanford boy.” She claims that Brock is a “shattered and broken shell of the person he used to be. My once happy and vibrant boy is distraught, deeply depressed, terribly wounded and filled with despair.”

She also claims that he has never been in any trouble and his dreams have been shattered. “No NCAA championships, no Stanford degree, no swimming in the Olympics, no medical school, no becoming an Orthopedic surgeon.”

Neither Brock’s mother or father ever mention the trauma endured by the young lady he raped. Not once.

It should also be mentioned that the clean-cut image of Brock that his mother describes doesn’t include his drug use in high school. Why is that important? Because Brock’s explanation for why he made a bad decision is the drug and drinking culture he was exposed to in college and feels that culture is responsible for his uncharacteristic actions. Only he was using before college.

Why are we not surprised that a young college aged man refuses to accept responsibility for his actions and chooses to shift the blame to someone or something else. As if he didn’t know better. As if he didn’t have the ability to make the right choices.  However, after listening to his parents speak, it really isn’t surprising at all. This is a family of self absorbed, clueless individuals with no regard for anyone but themselves and their place in society.

Then there’s the judge in this case. After being found guilty in March, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, could have sentenced Brock  to fourteen years in jail. Prosecutors asked for six years. Persky sentenced him to six months. He’ll be out in three. Why? Persky doesn’t think Brock is a threat and won’t repeat his actions again.

Really? So that’s the new basis for sentencing? If we don’t think someone who has killed or maimed someone because he/she was driving while intoxicated, will be a menace to society again, we can simply set them free? If someone who doesn’t have a record kills their spouse by mistake in a fit of anger but the judge is confident he/she won’t do it again, they can walk with a slap on the wrist? That’s how we’re going to serve out justice going forward? Or is that just how they do it in Santa Clara.

Rape is something you carry with you for the rest of your life. It alters and affects almost every aspect of how you live, who you trust, where you go, what you think and who you are. Society, in their distorted sense of rationale, sometimes places more blame, scrutiny and stigma on the victim rather than the individual who committed the crime.

A person who has already been a victim of this heinous crime shouldn’t have to feel like they were raped again by a judge who shows more compassion, concern and justice for the criminal than the victim.

One in five women.

 

 

Three Drinking Questions

Should someone who takes a life because they were driving intoxicated or under the influence be charged with murder?

If not, what type of sentence do you believe would be in line with the life sentence given to the victim?

If someone is seriously disabled and their life permanently altered by an intoxicated driver what should the appropriate punishment be?