Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn

Volume 13

(other than This Lawn Looks Like Crap)


Interesting, if not deep, thoughts often pop into my head while I’m doing battle with my lawn. And yes, I do battle with a non-gas, non-electric, old-fashioned push mower. An actual reel mower. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.


Mower and Statesman

Welcome to Volume 13 of Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn.



I’m a day late and still have way too little time today to comment on a few things I’ve been thinking about. Yes, once again the sports world—but not the games, themselves—has made its way into the general world, let alone the world of sports talk radio and TV.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as many of you know, decided to suspend Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice two games for a hideous domestic violence incident caught on surveillance video at an Atlantic City casino, when Rice struck his then-fiancée (now wife, Janay Palmer) unconscious. Given the longer suspensions Goodell levied for much lesser offenses involving PED and marijuana usage, the blowback, almost by consensus, is that the NFL considers domestic abuse (read: NFL players striking women) to be not nearly as serious a crime as a player getting high, or taking an illegal substance to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

This reasoning seems to be way too simplistic, and there must be some nuances to bail the NFL and its self-styled law-and-order commish some slack, right? Well…no!  It’s not only “the optics” of this (how it looks to those from the outside, like you and me) that is wrong; Goodell blew it. If you’re going to issue suspensions based on off-the-field, offseason injuries, and if you decide to suspend Ray Rice (who, in fairness to him, seemed to be a good citizen prior to this), you have to suspend Rice for a whole lot longer than two games. 6 games? 8 games? I don’t know, but something of that magnitude…even a full year…would have been much more palatable, and more just, to many of us.

Of course, the wrist-slap to Ray Rice was discussed all over the various air and print waves, including ESPN’s First Take, where, like them or not, co-hosts Steven A. Smith and Skip Bayless take on all issues, great, small and manufactured.

Steven A, who is normally quite outspoken (well, it is his job to be), loud, almost insufferable, yet somewhat articulate, decided to approach the Ray Rice incident with the following words. No, I won’t grab the low-hanging fruit and jump on his grammar and syntax; there’s enough here to criticize what he actually said.  Here is the transcript, courtesy of

“We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman. I don’t know how many times I got to reiterate that. But as a man who was raised by women, see I know what I’m going to do if somebody touches a female member of my family. I know what I’m going to do, I know what my boys are going to do. I know what, I’m going to have to remind myself that I work for the Worldwide Leader, I’m going to have to get law enforcement officials involved because of what I’m going to be tempted to do.

"But what I’ve tried to employ the female members of my family, some of who you all met and talked to and what have you, is that again, and this what, I’ve done this all my life, let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions, because if I come, or somebody else come, whether it’s law enforcement officials, your brother or the fellas that you know, if we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen.

“Now you got some dudes that are just horrible and they’re going to do it anyway, and there’s never an excuse to put your hands on a woman. But domestic violence or whatever the case may be, with men putting their hands on women, is obviously a very real, real issue in our society. And I think that just talking about what guys shouldn’t do, we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen.

"We know they’re wrong. We know they’re criminals. We know they probably deserve to be in jail. In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a 2-game suspension which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation, you got to make sure that you address them, because we’ve got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don’t think that’s broached enough, is all I’m saying. No point of blame.”


Steven A’s diatribe produced a firestorm of pushback (including colleague Michelle Beadle–good for her), for which Smith apologized. He and/or his employer crafted most of the right words to go just a step forward beyond the usual vague apologies to anyone they might have offended.

The issue I have is not with the sincerity of his apology; perhaps, he was sincere. He may also be sincere, or think he is, when he says, “We know you have no business putting your hands on a woman. I don’t know how many times I got to reiterate that.”

Here is the problem, Steven A.  First of all, lose the tough guy act of what you would do if anyone touched (inappropriately) a female member of your family. Secondly, I don’t think you get it.

How do you use this situation to tell millions of women that “we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen.” What? Who are you, whether raised by women, men or both, to deliver that message? And, who are you to lecture us about the “elements of provocation?”

The timing, and the venue, was wrong to deliver that message. If a women’s group wants to employ you to address them privately, and you wish to express that concern, then more power to you (and perhaps, God help them). Moreover, not only was the timing and the venue of the message wrong, but not so incidentally, to many of us, the message of the message was wrong.

Many of us got the impression that you were doing all you could to defend Ray Rice—whether that is your true belief, you were trying to curry favor with yet another player, or you also don’t take domestic abuse quite as seriously as you postured—at the expense of an issue of crucial importance to women and all those who want some of this pervasive violence to stop.

Roger and Steven A, You needed to step up, and you both stepped down. Perhaps, you should both step down from your highly paid, high-profile positions as well.


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