Distance has a way of making us look foolish. That’s not a reference to draw plays on third and long, or even when a hefty lineman recovers a fumble for a long-winded (and almost always hilarious) touchdown. It’s an allusion to the embarrassment we feel when we’re reminded of our history.
It seems almost impossible to believe that the Washington Redskins had to be threatened with legal action by the President of the United States before the team would sign African American players to its roster in 1962. It’s equally difficult to remember that a steroid-fueled Lyle Alzado was allowed to run rampant on offenses through the seventies and eighties. While problems resulting from racism and performance enhancing drug use haven’t been completely resolved, the fact that such practices weren’t more eagerly condemned at the time is now a cause for mortification.
It’s with this in mind that I imagine future generations having difficulty accepting the current inherent tolerance of drinking and driving present at every level of the National Football League. This disturbing practice came to its zenith this past Sunday when Josh Brent, a week removed from being charged with driving under the influence and intoxication manslaughter, found himself on the sidelines watching his team, the Dallas Cowboys, take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.