Charles Pierce, writing for Grantland on violence in sports, and especially in the NFL.
It is devoutly to be hoped that, when the artist formally known as Artest comes back from his seven-game enforced vacation for going upside the noggin of James Harden, the return of Metta World Peace simply will be treated as that of a guy who did something stupid, got caught, and got punished. It is devoutly to be hoped that the whole episode will not be treated as A Teachable Moment for the rest of us, and won't somebody please think of the children, please? It is devoutly to be hoped that there will be little of the prattle about What This Means To Us Going Forward. And I'll pay anyone a shiny buffalo nickel if they don't mention kids in the way they dress and their rap music.Read the rest.
This is not to say that I think that nothing in sports ever has anything to tell us about the greater world in which we all live, work, and try to keep the gang on Wall Street from stealing all of what's left of our money. If you know where — and, more important, how — to look, then it was in the context of our games that you could get a clearer and more honest view of race, and class, and the effect of the rise of mass media, to name only a few of the important issues of the past 100 years. My problem is that I would almost guarantee you that the lessons we will be told we should draw from the MWP episode almost assuredly will be all the wrong ones. They will address the lessons society should draw from sports. The real lessons should be those that sports now have to learn from society.