Society Magazine

Johnny Manziel, Michael Sam, And The Washington Redskins

Posted on the 15 May 2014 by Lugalcain @ur_sheep

To me freedom and liberty are inalienable rights, and I take these words literally. This means they are for me synonymous and cannot be limited without good reason, they are a consequence of, and perhaps the only natural law. The only restrictions on my liberty I can accept with good conscience are those which restrict it in such a way that it does no harm to others. Your right to swing your arms is boundless accept at the point of someone else’s nose, or even, the nose of the statue that belongs to someone else. This time I am living in now, in 21st century America, seems almost a call for Cold War nostalgia, where you cannot say certain things.

Freedom of speech, in my estimation and to my chagrin, for one, is fast becoming so twisted in meaning that several strange things are taking place. Websites restrict the use of certain words, like “retard” for instance, apparently never realizing there is a bread industry, and “bitch,” as if we have a new word for a female dog. While “that faggot Michael Sam” is unacceptable because it uses the flagged word “faggot” – again perhaps never knowing about a bundle of sticks or making fires, “I don’t want to take a shower with a man who routinely takes another man’s penis into his orifices” is an acceptable comment for Yahoo. But this is not a critique of spellcheck either, that has been done before. What I wish to do in this short piece is call your attention to three current situations to illustrate the double standards and inconsistencies used when understanding freedom and, especially, freedom of speech. All of them come from the National Football League, and all of them are hot media topics right now. Let’s first recap the facts about these the best we can:

1. Johnny Manziel
A college phenomenon and Heisman winner with all the cockiness and flair of a Michael Irvin after an 8-ball of cocaine, “Johnny Football” is one of the most polarizing figures to come into the NFL in quite some time. By NFL football standards he is small (5′ 11 1/2″) and slight of build (maybe 200 dripping wet) and does not fit the “drawn up on computer” model of what the ideal quarterback should look like. Presumably this is one reason why, during the recent NFL draft, he fell to the bottom of the first round, to the Cleveland Browns. He is, however, a gamer and a winner, and whether he is seen as “cocky and arrogant” or “confident and decisive” seems to be in the eyes of the beholder, and his one of the main reasons for the polarizing effect he has. Those who root for underdogs, the little people, the overachievers, they are Manziel fans. Those who judge by appearance, and go by averages and measurables like height and weight, those who like greatness to at least appear humble, they do not care for Manziel. Coming from a wealthy family also works against Manziel’s popularity, as some have even called him spoiled. But money alone has never made one superior athlete, and when he steps onto the field he is just another body like everyone else, prone to the same injuries and so on. In fact, upon review of them one would have to conclude that ALL the criticisms against Johnny Football are not criticisms of his ability, but rather criticisms of his right to express himself, criticisms of how he expresses himself, and problems with his “antics.” Some would say “antics.” Others would say “mannerisms,” or even “trademarks.” Manziel’s critics are critics against freedom, and not accepting and tolerant as they should be. It’s as if they want him to change how he looks.

2. Michael Sam
In my opinion people only give lipspeak to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. If the aspects of Johnny Manziel being discussed by his critics, namely his personality and behavior, were the same focus of their discussion about Michael Sam, without doubt those criticisms would be labeled as misdirected and inconsequential. “All we know is the kid can play ball,” is what we hear about Sam, with only the occasional reference to his “coming out” as being “the league’s first openly gay player.” As for Manziel, when the focus is on him, it is his lifestyle that is the real subject. The difference is that NO ONE dare criticize Sam’s lifestyle, as this would be considered intolerant today. Well let me here and now criticize it on many levels. First, who cares, really, and why have you made it a rallying cry? Since when can being proud to do the things male homosexuals do be considered something admirable, or, as I have heard the term used, “pioneering”? What’s to be proud of? What barrier has been broken? What have you added to society? Allow me to use the cliché, but are cheerleaders now showering with the men, and are all football facilities going co-ed, gender unspecific? Are not gay men attracted to other men in the same way men are attracted to women – normally? Don’t worry, I will not look at your body while you shower…and in the light of our knowledge about blood-borne disease, well let’s just say for me it is the personal life of Sam that deserves a heck of a lot more criticism than does the few petty antics of Manziel. Who is the hero here? Can I kiss BOTH my girlfriends on TV when I get elected, be a pioneer and the league’s first admitted hypersexual?

3. Washington Redskins
Finally, we have the case of the Washington Redskins. Apparently a small segment of the American Indian population, and even smaller segment of American citizens, seems to find the term “Redskins” in need of being banned. Again stepping on every free speech mandate provided for in the American Constitution, certain miscreants have taken it upon themselves to label “Redskins” offensive, and they have made it their life’s mission to make the football team change its horrific name. Now I am no big Snyder fan, for sure, but here I stand with him in his refusal to change the name, and am dog-tired of these “do-good” movements that are quite selective in what good they are doing. In some eyes, Washington does honor to the Redskins, and one is depicted dignified, in traditional attire, on the helmet, an homage more than a ridicule. If I were Indian I would have no problem being called, even known by “Redskin,” just as some have no problem today calling themselves “redbone.”

Political correctness is a cancer, a disease in need of antiviral cleansing. While on the one hand we spout cries for freedom, on the other we look to restrict it in as many ways as we can. Understand one thing CLEARLY: Free speech was not accounted for in our founding documents to ensure you get to say “thank you,” “have a nice day, sir” and “Good Morning.” Free speech is meant to ensure even DIVISIVE speech is protected, that even UNPOPULAR voices get heard, that even offensive things might be said, with freedom. So long as you do not slander or threaten you can say whatever you want. This modern day disease that wants to say personal freedoms are trumped by corporate needs and policies is a living sham that is as ridiculous on its face as it is unconstitutional. What is any corporation but a conglomeration of individuals, each still protected by the Constitution, whether at work or not.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog