NFL: The N Doesn’t Stand For National

By: Bob Parks

A little background here…

I was born in Boston. I am a lifelong, never wavering, New England Patriots football fan. I met owner Bob Kraft at a Patriots-Los Angeles Rams game in Anaheim, 1994. He was a classy guy, coming up and talking to a fan. I also lived, and loved living, in San Diego. If there’s any place I’d love to retire to, it’s San Diego all the way.

So you can imagine my dismay when after the Pats beat the Chargers last week in an NFL Divisional Playoff game, League MVP and Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson had a little hissy fit on the field.

During the post game news conference, Mr. Tomlinson took the time to remind us he’s a classy guy, but then explained the reason he was so upset, aside for the upset loss.

“I would never react in that way. I was very upset. When you go to the middle of our field and start doing the dance Shawne Merriman is known for, that is disrespectful. They showed no class and maybe that comes from the head coach.”

Okay, blame the head coach.

No disrespect to the San Diego coach, but if LaDainian had a coaching choice next season between Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer or Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who would he choose? If Belichick were coaching the Chargers, San Diego would be getting ready to play in the AFC Championship, instead of watching it on television.

As a loyal fan being in awe of Coach Belichick and his ability to craft game plans that make a mockery of the word “underdog” when referring to his team, anyone who follows football knows he’d never condone taunting. However the issue here seems to be what Tomlinson considers disrespect of his team.

It was the apparent mocking of Merriman’s dance by Patriots players at mid-field was what ticked off Tomlinson. Shawne Merriman, Chargers outside linebacker had an NFL-high 17 sacks of the quarterback this season, and each of these sacks was concluded with his “Lights out” dance in the opponent’s backfield. Sounds like some no-class activity to me, and I’ve yet to see any report of Tomlinson expressing disappointment with Merriman’s conduct.

So what is the real issue here? Just ask my favorite comic, Chris Rock….

“There’s black people and there’s niggas, and niggas have got to go.

Every time black people wanna have a good time, ignorant ass niggas fuck it up. Can’t do shit without some ignorant ass nigga fuckin’ it up. Can’t do nothin’. Can’t keep a disco open more than three weeks. Grand opening, grand closing. Can’t go to a movie the first week it comes out. Why? ‘Cause niggas are shooting at the screen. What kind of ignorant shit is that? Hey, this is a good movie! This is so good, I gotta bust a cap in here.

Hey, I love black people, but I hate niggas.”

I know black people around the world are going to call me an Uncle Tom for dumping on my people. I’m not dumping on my people. I’m dumping on a bunch of immature millionaires who live a dream none of us spectators can imagine.

How many real men out there would trade in their wife, girlfriend, child, or job just to be able to go to work on Sunday, on national television, and play professional football?

Note: Keep that question to yourself as answering it in front of your wife, girlfriend, or child, may create an unnecessary, awkward moment. Suffice to say it’s a guy thing.

The “N” in front of the NFL or NBA doesn’t stand for “National.” It stands for “Niggas.”

How many white football players keep a Sharpie in their sock, so when he scores a touchdown, can pull it out, autograph the ball and hand it to a fan? How many white football players hide cellphones in the upright padding so upon scoring a touchdown, he can call somebody? How many white football players kick others down on the ground in the head? How many white football players are shot to death in gang-style, drive-by shootings after leaving a club? How many white football players slit their
wife’s throat?

Don’t get me wrong; few white ballplayers are without sin.

Some have spit in the umpire’s face. Some slap their wives around on public streets. Some ride motorcycles without helmets. Some throw cameramen to the deck.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not lobbying to go in the other direction. That would be as bad as former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora going an expletive-laced tirade on the poor performance of his team, and concluded, “We couldn’t do diddly poo”

I would never advocate going back to those dark, “diddly poo” days.

We need fewer players running down the court, screaming like a wild animal after a fluid slam-dunk. We need fewer players getting stopped trying to sneak marijuana onto a commercial flight. We need fewer players trying to run down female police officers with their cars. We need fewer players who have their own mini news conferences, as acting the fool always makes for good television.

Players like Tomlinson demand the respect of fellow players when his team is beat, but when will they respect the fans who ultimately pay these athletes enough so they can do nothing but play football? When is LaDainian going to bemoan the fact that teammate Shawne Merriman shows no class?

It probably won’t happen, as some NFL stars believe they’re above etiquette, and it’s our privilege to pay to watch them play, and whatever comes with it.

LaDainian Tomlinson thinks he’s personally been disrespected. This fall when his Chargers come to New England, and my guess it may be either on a Sunday or Monday night, let’s see how much our head coach has to do with the 70,000 fans who will boo L.T. from the time his name is first introduced until he leaves the field after the game.

And should Shawne Merriman sack Tom Brady, Tomlinson will obviously remind his players not to taunt, or is it not disrespect when they do it?

When gentlemen begin to re-emerge in the National Basketball Association, I may start to watch again. As for football, I’m personally glad Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Joe Horn don’t play for New England. The Patriots have really good black players. We have no niggas. Maybe that’s why we win.

LaDainian Tomlinson had a Hall of Fame season and the Chargers are hardly the first number-one seed to be knocked out of the playoffs early. The problem is the San Diego Chargers failed to show humility during their two weeks off and believed their own local press. This loss took San Diego by surprise so let’s blame an opponent for disrespect, right.

I wish there were a way to remove niggas for professional sports. In most cases, the sport is so beautiful that when players just play the game, it’s my honor and privilege to watch. But some of today’s players are an embarrassment to any race, and we find ourselves wanting them to suffer the appropriate humiliation.

Just play the damn game. When you score, act like you’ve done so before. That’s all we ask, and all we pay for.

It had to be said. I said it.

Bob Parks is a member/writer for the National Advisory Council of Project 21, and VP of Marketing and Media Relations/Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc.

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