Wednesday, October 20, 2010


                        By Angelo Spagnolo
                               Publisher "Pittsburgh's Black and Gold" 

LEFT: James Harrison is the embodiment of every Steeler fans' idea as to what the perfect Pittsburgh Steeler should be. Now he's being legislated out of the league in much the same way that Hines Ward and Mel Blount before him had their playing styles also "altered".

I'm sure that there are greater hypocrites in this world than the "good" folks who run the National Football League. My problem is that I've yet to come across them.

The National Football League is without a doubt, the biggest collection of money-grubbing, thousand dollar suited, carpet-bagging, users of humanity ever assembled on this planet. They have become so big, so greedy and so powerful that they think they can even "lawyer" themselves out of a mess that's been of their own creation over the past hundred or so years.

Take for example the recent James Harrison $75,000 fine. It is a high point even by the lofty standards previously set by the National Hypocrisy League! Harrison, who is the poster boy for what the National Football League has always represented, is now becoming the focal point instead of a concussion witch hunt. The funny part about the hit on Mohamed Massaquoi is that Harrison actually held back! He could have planted the Browns receiver into the tenth row if that's what he wanted to do. But a concussion resulted anyway, so the result is a player who's now talking about retiring, if you can believe that. He's that sick of the hypocrisy, imagine that.

                              Associated Press photo
ABOVE: James Harrison, one nanosecond after putting Mohamed Massaquoi "To sleep".

The National Hypocrisy League has a licensed site that sells game photos and guess what? Two of the major "hits" from last weekend were featured on this site! You can't have it both ways National Hypocrisy League! If you want to promote your sport and make money selling photos based on bone-jarring hits and the injuries they generate, then you can't fine guys like Harrison for playing the way that they do.

In another example of uneven handling of player conduct issues, The National Hypocrisy League threw the book at Big Ben, yet Bret Favre, Vince Young and many others have gone unpunished. Why? Another hypocrisy, that's why.

But make no mistake about it: The National Hypocrisy League is not fining these players because they are so concerned about their fellow man. Are you kidding me??? The suits on Madison Avenue and their lawyers are merely looking to insulate themselves from what they feel will surely be a massive lawsuit someday filed by either the player's union (for unsafe working conditions) or on behalf of some either injured, quadraplegic or even killed player. The high-priced National Hypocrisy League attorneys reason that by establishing an evidential trail that they have "tried to discourage" this type of activity, this will remove the "treble damages" from the hands of some future jury. The National Hypocrisy League will then be safe to continue peddling their violent yet non-violent game (or so they'd like us to think) long into the future.

The only other plausible reason for legislating some of these hits out of the game is because the owners have invested millions into their "livestock". If these pieces of meat can't play, then what good are they on the sidelines or in a whirlpool? When they're through in their average of 3.7 years, you simply throw them into the meat grinder to finish turning them into hamburger: Scrambled brains, wrecked backs, torn up knees, you name it. But hey, they're making millions, right? True, but if they're dead, paralyzed or in a wheel chair what good is it? Ask Mike Webster! Oh wait, you can't, he's dead.

If the National Hypocrisy League wanted to stop people getting concussions, they could easily do so by changing the helmets these players are now wearing. The problem is that the helmets are so impervious to breaking that the players subconsciously have no fear of injury. As a result, they're not afraid to lead with their head. If the players wore a helmet made of the new space aged foam that's used now on mattresses, you'd better believe that they'd stop using their head as a weapon and start protecting it instead. This will never be done though, because then there would be no sound of helmets cracking together for National Hypocrisy League Films to capture for their highlight reels. Let's face it, the sound of foam hitting foam isn't very exciting or compelling. It also wouldn't look good on the videos at the stadium either during the playing of "Renegade".

ABOVE: If there's a scarier sight than this in the National Hypocrisy League, I'd like to know what it is.

But would even this extreme measure signal the end of concussions? Sadly, no. Today's players are too big, too strong, too fast and too dumb for that to happen. Think about it: The human body was not made to absorb this type of massive punishment. But the National Hypocrisy League will still fortunately be able to move forward as it always has because it's now been insulated from lawsuits and has that ever-eager farm system of college draft choices lined up and ready to step forward to collect their fat new paychecks, along with cracked vertebrae, shredded cartilage, mutilated tendons and addled brains.

As much as I love the Steelers and truly admire their toughness, I have grown to literally despise the hypocrites who own and run this league. The salaries they pay the players are grandiose, true enough, but the human suffering that goes on for these players for the rest of their lives is incalculable not to mention the number of years of their lives that are lost.

But please,  just don't lie to us about it. Don't challenge our intellects by acting as though you are now shocked at the violence in the game and the obstinate players who refuse to tone it down. What game have you been watching for the past hundred years anyway? Do you think that hard hitting is a new phenomenon in the National Hypocrisy League? Or have you been making billions in profits during the last century because of it? You can't have it both ways.

Maybe all of the injuries are telling us that the accelerated athletic development of the players in this league has created such a toxic environment that it is now literally impossible to legislate injuries out of the game?

 Is football's time as a sport coming to some cataclysmic end? Don't laugh, they don't have gladiators fighting lions and tigers in Rome anymore either!

ABOVE: The movie "Gladiator" showed the earlier days of the NFL, long before hypocrisy became so much "en vogue". Under most circumstances, my money would be on the tiger, but this is, after all, Russell Crowe and we know he can't die!