Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Shut the Fuck Up Gregg Easterbrook

I used to love Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback columns, even during his hiatus from ESPN.com, but lately I've become more and more annoyed with his hypocrisy, inflated sense of self-righteousness, and overall lack of common sense.  I like that he picks interesting things to talk about that a lot of analysts ignore like special teams, and offensive line play, and that his columns are littered with sci-fi references (though less Battlestar Galactica, more Firefly would be nice), and that he is a champion for player safety, but lately those positive attributes have become buried beneath increasing mounds of garbage.

His latest column has two stupid comments, one of which I think is obnoxious at best and dangerous at worst.

"football is the most team-oriented of sports"

Even someone who knows virtually nothing about sports can point out that this is a crock of shit.  In fact, of the four major sports, football might be the least team oriented because its two phases, offense and defense, are kept almost entirely separate where in baseball, basketball, and hockey, most of the players are involved in both aspects of the game.  In football, the two units don't have to give two shits about each other.  They could be the Crips and Bloods and still have a successful football team.  Meanwhile in the NBA and the NHL, guards, forwards, and centers, and defensemen and forwards need to be able to work with each other or the team is awful.  It's kind of funny that Easterbrook constantly warns about the "hubris of the NFL" and then throws out such an arrogant and transparently homer statement such as the one above.

But that's not what really annoyed me about this column.  Later on in a preachy puff segment about how the Hall of Fame needs to care about character, Easterbrook says the following about former linebacker Lawrence Taylor:

"Recently, Taylor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of paying an underage girl for sex. To avoid a felony charge, he agreed to become a registered sex offender. "Look kids, here's the child abuser the Pro Football Hall of Fame wants you to admire!"

This needs to be explained a little bit.  The case to which Easterbrook refers occurred in 2009 when Taylor was arrested for having sex with a 16-year old girl.  Look, personally I find paying a prostitute to be at least morally questionable, especially one that is 16 years old when the client is a 50 year old, but calling Taylor a child abuser based solely on the age of the girl is way over the line.

Consider that the age of consent is 16 in thirty states and the District of Columbia and several states lower the age to 14 or 15 if the major is also under 18 years of age.  By Easterbrook's definitions, hundreds of thousands of people that have sex legally in those states are also child abusers.  If Easterbrook has a problem with anyone under the age of 17 or 18 having sex, then fine, but as a professional then he needs to word it that way and not resort to name-calling and slander.  I quit reading the column right then and there because that commentary was simply disgusting.

Some might point out that my stance on this topic may differ from my stance on Ben Roethlisberger, whom I think is a disgusting individual at best and a rapist at worst (guess we'll never know).  I'll simply explain that difference and then I'm done writing.  Lawrence Taylor did one thing (had sex with a 16 year old) that's legal in over half the country and another thing (had sex with a prostitute) that is legal in Nevada, Canada, and most of Europe.  Ben Roethlisberger is accused of doing something (twice) that is illegal everywhere in the developed world.  There is a difference.

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