Excessive Celebration vs. the Spirit-Killers

Julian JohnsonCorrespondent IMay 10, 2009

"When we say it's a game, you say its a business and when we say it's a business, you say it's a game."

- A character in the pro football film, "North Dallas Forty."

Football is a game, but it's a business. It should be fun, but, paradoxically, not too much fun, especially for the players. Some in the know even admit that football and other bigtime sports are mere entertainment, showbiz...

...so, why can't a brother dance?

Why do some people feel that they must "preserve the dignity, sanctity and honor" of a whorehouse sport, by banning cathartic, freewheeling celebrations by its participants?

Have you ever seen what an ex-football player looks like five or ten years after their career? Football is a brutal, monstrous game.  It's a game that grinds up and spits out debilitated, fractured men who can barely walk and rarely live beyond their late fifties.

The National Football League hasn't solved that riddle...but they have time to regulate fun?

The "Fun Bunch." What a benign, innocuous name. They were the receiving corps of the Washington Redskins back in 1982. I remember that first celebration in the end zone after Joe Theisman had thrown one of them a touchdown pass.

Four or five players gathered 'round and began swinging their arms in unison and then leaped into a group high five. It was a unity builder, a tension releaser.  It was fun...

...and it was banned by the NFL.


Why can't a brother dance?

The suppression of expression is a war of sorts—the stoic, dominant culture seeking to stifle, trim and contain the brown sub-cultural rabble. It's Puritanism versus Voodoo. It's the sanctified tongue-speakers versus the chastity belt-wearing tight collars.

The sporting press and the slurpees who lap it up seem to despise brown expression and demonstrativeness that does not mimic their stiff, dry, Eastwood-cool/cruel pose...except when they're borrowing the latest lyrical flourish from the underground.

ESPN is the world leader in "unearthing urban hieroglyphics," what with their undercover linguists who siphon the intellectual property via black hipster-isms almost as soon as they're uttered. 

Its the contradiction that the comedian Paul Mooney summed up thusly: "Everybody wants to be a N**** and nobody wants to be a N****!"

Why can't a brotha dance?

The National Basketball Association not long ago and in its infinite wisdom, instituted a dress code for players on the bench. The NBA crime wave, of course, had been linked to gold chains, t-shirts and baggy jeans.  Three out of four psychologists agree that suits and ties are the clear antidote to innate criminality and rampant lawlessness.

Factoid: You've got a bunch of kids playing a game to the tune of millions, many from the ghetto, a ghetto filled with ignorance and violence and love and support and confusion and neglect and pain and racism and murder.

These kids have hit the lottery, yet are expected to have the poise and refinement of blue bloods—blue bloods, by the way, who profit by mega-millions on the strong, black backs of these young bucks. Sound familiar?

So, why look at root causes (and the rich folks that exploit them), when you can blame the victim-symptom and never have to say you're sorry on the way to the Brinks truck.

Is it any wonder a brotha can't dance?

Though you can score a goal in soccer and roll around on the field like a fool, ripping your shirt off and waving it like nunchucks - without sanction or penalty - try that in the NFL, brotha.

And while you're at it, pull out your check book and prepare to write five figures.

We live in a dark, cruel world, one in which 'play' and 'games' have been perverted, converted into golden geese dropping loads of money. And because these games have become cash cow-conveyor belts of green, the grim ethic of the corporate automaton rules the roost.

Lawd, can a brotha dance?