Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Senseless NFL Bloodshed

Well, actually, when the news came down this mornin' 'round daybreak that Sean Taylor had died from the gunshot wound to the groin from one day earlier, it was mighty easy to see how the name of Blenda Gay could pop into one's head.

We all remember what it was like when we were freshmen in high school and there was the one paragraph blurb in our California newspaper about the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive lineman -- Blenda Gay -- who was killed by his wife.
It was the first time we'd ever heard of one of those athletes we worshipped dying in a manner other than maybe a plane crash (Roberto Clemente) or from cancer (as Cal Bears QB Joe Roth did following his senior season).

Back in an era before we had FOX & Friends was invented and before Wolf Blitzer got all high n' mighty in his Situation Room, all we had was one paragraph from a wire service report in the L.A. Times.
And, because that's all we had (working in concert with an eventual ex-mom who couldn't explain why some GUY was named not only "Blenda" but "Blenda Gay"), the story became less about the death of an athlete with an odd name but more about the odd name itself.
It wasn't until many years later that we learned that Blenda Gay was murdered by his wife as he slept ... stabbed in the throat by her ... retribution(?) for years of physical abuse inflicted by him upon her ... a woman who was later deemed criminally insane at the time of the murder ...

Alas, a stabbing is not a shooting -- and we didn't get our first taste of that until a few years after the Blenda Gay death when California Angels outfielder Lyman Bostock was gunned down as he sat in a car in Gary, Ind., the victim of mistaken identity by (again) a nut job with an irrational and violent solution to dealing with a series of psychoses.

Those are the landmark slayings from our teenhood ... no less inexplicable today than they were then.
Now, with the death of Sean Taylor, the search for answers (and mayyyyybeeee, the truth) is underway.

The most-sensible approach to sifting through the facts and the fiction is to click the "OFF" button on the TV (or the radio) because, let's face it, advances in technology in the past 30 years haven't distilled news-gathering one iota.
It's just as garbled now as it was on the night when Blenda Gay met his fate.

Moreover, the prospect of finding ourselves beseiged by any number of talking heads giving us the (say it together, everybody) "terrible tragedy" platitudes is nauseating.
Not a comedic tragedy ...
Not a run-of-the-mill tragedy ...
This is the "terrible tragedy" -- one of those tragedies which ranks right up there with the tragic tragedy and other terrible acts of terribleness.

And, in the slaying of Broncos DB Darrent Williams on New Year's Day, no one has been arrested yet, correct?
Was that tragedy missing something in the terribleness context?

In a compare-and-contrast scenario, it'll be interesting to see how the Sean Taylor/Darrent Williams stories play out in the weeks/months ahead.
Jumping to conclusions remains America's best source of cardiovascular activity.

But, as long as Anna Nicole Smith's baby ends up with her proper baby daddy, then we can all sleep at night.
'Cuz the only thing Americans love more than their NFL is their big ta-ta's ...

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