Mr. Cope’s Cave: Guess What Mr. Cope Won’t Be Doing This Weekend

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Don’t you have anything to say about what’s going on with the NFL?

Umm, nothing that I can think of, no.

But surely, you don’t approve of what Ray Rice did, do you?

Let’s see. Ray Rice. Now, was he the one who beat his kid with a switch? Or was he the one who beat his wife with a left hook?

He’s the one in the elevator. Knocked his wife… actually, his fiancé at the time… out cold. It’s Adrian Peterson who beat his kid with a switch.

And who’s the guy everyone wants to quit or get fired or whatever?

That’s Roger Goodell. He’s the commissioner of the NFL. Don’t you think he should be fired?

So if they fired him, I don’t suppose they would replace him with the Dalai Lama would they?

What? The Dalai Lama? Noooo! Why would they replace him with the Dalai Lama? That’s stupid! The Dalai Lama doesn’t know anything about football. They’d never replace Roger Goodell with the Dalai Lama.

I just thought that since the trouble they’re having in the NFL is because the sport seems to be filled with aggressive, violent men who consider brute force as a viable lifestyle, the entire football industry might benefit from having a person leading them who has spent entire his life pursuing non-violence and a peaceful nature.

Well, they’re not all aggressive and violent. That’s not fair to say every football player lives a life of brute force.

So what do football players do for a living?

Uh, what do you mean? They play football, that’s what they do for a living.

Which is, is it not, at its most fundamental, either trying to smash through a mob of like-minded fellows with no regard whatsoever as to whether someone gets hurt in the encounter, or to be on the other side, making every effort to knock their opponents off their feet with such force that, hopefully, the primary victim can’t even hold onto a ball? And if a concussion or a debilitating knee injury or a fractured throwing arm is the result, oh well… it’s what they get for coming onto our side of the scrimmage line, eh?

Oh, and when they aren’t actively engaged in such aggressive, violent behavior, they spend their days lifting weights and slamming headfirst into barriers so they can do even more damage, and pumping up their bloodlust by yelling and screaming like Orc savages at Helm’s Deep at the behest of a coach who can get them fired if they aren’t aggressive and violent enough. What’s more, they’ve been doing it since they were little boys, and they’ve been rewarded handsomely for being the most aggressive and the most violent in their peer group, all the way from Pop Warner to the pros. Why, a good many of them have never known anything but aggression and violence. And then we are surprised when some of that spills over into their personal lives?

Wull… uh… that’s not football’s fault. Football builds character. Team spirit. Strong willpower and the drive to succeed. Stuff like that.

Know what?… if a semi-organized bunch of young men on the street were doing things football players do all the time, we’d be freaking out over this “gang culture.” Yet we allow this football culture to permeate our society like a virus that spreads through 52-inch television screens and nacho cheese dip. On game days, sports bars fill up with hooting fans who can’t seem to get infected enough. They’re actually asking to be turned into zombies, it seems to me… begging for more brain deadness. Christ, when they’re not watching the games, they sit around dreaming up fantasy teams or reading meaningless drivel on sports pages. Everywhere you look, seemingly normal people are walking around wearing ugly clothing that shows their support of their favorite gang of violent thugs. So no, it’s no wonder to me that these pampered goons don’t think society’s rules apply to them, because in so many ways, society’s rules don’t apply to them.

You’re not being fair at all. Domestic violence and child abuse, that’s what this is about. That’s what’s wrong here. And there’s plenty of domestic violence and child abuse among people who aren’t pro football players.

Yes, yes. That’s true, I know. And wouldn’t it be interesting to know what those child-beating, wife-beating non-football players do for entertainment? Wouldn’t it? I mean… do you suppose there is a lot of wife beating or child beating going on among people who spend Saturday or Sunday afternoons at a zoo? A museum? Maybe an art exhibit or reading a book? What do you suppose the biggest share of wife beaters and child beaters watch on Sunday night?… Masterpiece Theater? Or Sunday Night Football?

Now you’re just being an elitist snob.

Yes. Yes I am. I thought that’s what you liked about me.

But yes or no… do you think Roger Goodell should be fired?

Yes, I think Roger Goodell should be fired. And no, I don’t think it would change a damn thing. An epidemic isn’t going to be cured by firing the guy who didn’t tell us about it, is it?

Mr. Cope, sometimes you make me so mad I just want to… to…

Spike me to the ground like a rag doll and strut away from my prostrate form, giving chest bumps to all of your friends, perhaps?

Yeah. Something like that.

Say, what are you doing tomorrow?

Going to the Bronco game. What else would I be doing?

Ah, just wondering.