I have a featured post over at Ordinary Times involving my disdain for Eli Manning and about the intersection of sports narrative and race. I thought I would comment just a bit on this:

My dislike of Eli Manning goes back to the 2004 NFL Draft. He was slated to be picked by the San Diego Chargers and threw a hissy fit. But he didn’t want to play for the Chargers! He wanted to play for the Giants! Waaaah! This was followed by getting his daddy to straighten everything out and eventually to New Jersey he went. The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way. We have a draft for a reason, to try to keep the teams as competitive as possible. He was going to be making millions of dollars and after four years he could sign with whatever team he wanted to. What an entitled little snot.

I went on a rant about this with my father-in-law who responded with two words: John Elway. John Elway? That guy is apple pie, the American flag, and everything good and right about this country! My father-in-law went on to explain that John Elway was drafted by the Baltimore Colts but refused to play for them, using a potential baseball contract as leverage.

Oh, but that’s totally different I reasoned. Elway wasn’t being an entitled little snot. He was simply using leverage at his disposal to go to the team of his preference. Totally different! Except that’s a very selective reading of the facts. Elway’s reasons for not wanting to play with the Colts actually mirrored Manning’s desire not to play for the Chargers. I still think the baseball thing is important, but if I am being honest with myself I probably think it’s important because it allows me to stick to my preferred narratives. It allows John Elway to still be apple pie without having to take back my criticisms of Manning.

I’ve mentioned before that my own Southern Tech Packers have a history of running up the score. Perhaps not coincidentally, I completely have little problem with teams (above a certain level, anyway) running up scores. As long as you take your starters out in due course, have at it!

It’s easy to forget this when I’ve watched the Pack get pummeled. I do find myself really, really hoping that the other team just gives it a rest. When they don’t – and sometimes they don’t, particularly when it’s a team that we have scored more than 80 points on in the past – I have to fight back feelings of abjectly hypocritical outrage.

In recent seasons, our team has also gotten a couple of showboats. I think this past season we had more excessive celebration penalties called on us than in the previous three seasons combined. I am typically not a big fan of excessive celebrating whether a penalty is called on it or not (as they say: when you get to the endzone, act like you’ve been there before). But I have to say, while I tut-tut disapprove, I do find myself looking at it a little bit differently than I used to. If not allowable, then at least understandable.

Category: Theater

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