Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/2/2020: The “Let’s Not Watch The CTE Bowl And Think About Ethics Instead” Edition

Good Afternoon!

I almost managed to ignore football completely this season, and I’m proud of it.  There were few rogue kneelers in the NFL this year, and the New England Patriots, my hometown role models for the Houston Astros, finally bit the dust. Meanwhile, there was little new on the CTE front, not any more is needed to prove that cheering young men in the process of destroying their brains for a handful of well-compensated seasons as football heroes is immoral and unethical.  I did recently watch the Netflix documentary, “The Killer Inside,” about Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots star who murdered a friend and perhaps two others. I didn’t know that after his suicide in prison, it was found that Hernandez suffered from CTE, and that  his brain was one of the most damaged scientists have ever seen.  The documentary also says that the New England Patriots coaching staff saw signs that he was deteriorating and becoming unstable, as well as using drugs, and they made no effort to intervene. After all, he was playing well, and the team was winning.

That’s pro football. To hell with it.

1. “The Chop.” I have written about this perpetually silly issue a lot, and recently, but the New York Times, being the Official Paper of the Woke, has felt it necessary to publish three pieces this week on the the so called “Kansas City Chop,” the tomahawk motion used by Kansas City Chiefs fans (The Chiefs are in the Super Bowl, you know) when cheering on their team. The chop is most identified with the Atlanta Braves (How satisfying it was to watch Jane Fonda dutifully chopping along with then husband Ted Turner when the  Braves finally made the world Series in 1991!), but Chiefs fans started copying Braves fans. It is, of course, intended to rally the team, has nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of commentary on Native Americans, those who pretend to be seriously unsettled by what fans of an NFL team do to show their affection for their team are either faking or need psychiatric care. But here’s CNN:

Yet despite the research and the dissents from many Native people, these customs — the racist names, the fan behaviors — persist. And on Sunday, when millions of people tune in to watch the Super Bowl and 65,000 people pack into Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, it will all be on display: the tomahawk chops, the regalia, the headdresses, the face paint. [Mohawk journalist] Vincent Schilling says he respects Chiefs fans and supports their right to support their team. As for the message it will send on football’s biggest stage, well, he’s not so confident. “I really, really have a big apprehension for how this is going to look,” he said.

How, exactly, is the name “Chiefs” racist? You know how it is going to look? It will look like a lot of fans support their team that is called “The Chiefs,” and maybe remind some people that we once had a vibrant Native American culture in this land that now barely survives except in references like team names and traditions.

2. And speaking of cultural appropriation: Jeanine Cummins  novel “American Dirt” examines illegal immigration from the perspective of a Mexican woman fleeing cartel violence. Yet even though it has a pro-illegal immigrant message and theme, Cummins and her novel are under attack, by the Woke and the Wonderful. Guess why. Come on, guess.

She’s not Mexican, so how dare she write about a Mexican woman?

The book’s publisher has canceled Cummins’ book tour now,  due to “safety concerns.”

Critic Myriam Gurba wrote in her review, “Toxic heteroromanticism gives the sludge an arc and because the white gaze taints her prose, Cummins positions the United States of America as a magnetic sanctuary, a beacon toward which the story’s chronology chugs.”  Cummins’s stated intention to move beyond the portrayal of Mexican migrants as a “faceless brown mass” and instead “give these people a face.” also triggered Gurba. These people?  Gotcha!

Toxic heteroromanticism. Right.

3. Now THIS is a hard-working lawyer!

Bill Lester, who worked as a court-appointed defense lawyer in Charleston, West Virginia, was indicted in 2016 on charges that he had charged the state  for work he didn’t do. Authorities began to investigate Lester because the amount he was billing  appeared mathematically and temporally impossible. Reports WCHSTV:

“He had billed, in a two-year period, over $600,000 to the state for indigent defense, which at $45 an hour is an awful lot of hours, and the resulting investigation found he had at least 17 days he billed an excess of 24 hours,” said Dana Eddy of Public Defender Services.

A t $45 a hour, Lester would have had to bill 13,333.3 hours to bill $600,000 in two years, an average of 6,666.6 hours per year. A 40-hour work week yields about 1800 billable hours a year and a year has only 8,760 hours total. He  billed over 6,666 a year twice.

Wow! What a worker!

Mr. Lester was apprehended by U.S. Marshals in Nicaragua.

20 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/2/2020: The “Let’s Not Watch The CTE Bowl And Think About Ethics Instead” Edition

  1. “…Cummins positions the United States of America as a magnetic sanctuary, a beacon toward which the story’s chronology chugs.”

    But…isn’t that the argument of the pro-illegal folks? The “undocumented migrants” are coming here for a Better Life, right?

    What is heteroromanticism anyway?

  2. I stopped watching football years ago. Bob Irsay burst the bubble in which I thought the team reflected the people of the city. When I learned that the team was merely a business venture and Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry or any of the other players were not really my neighbors doing battle against another US city on the gridiron but merely employees providing a service.

    Many a “Balmoran” were members of one of many Colt Corrals in and around Baltimore that huddled on game day to inspire its team of fellow Balmorans on to victory. The Colt band was a fixture at virtually every event or patriotic parade.

    Long before we understood the dangers of CTE we lived and breathed our team. When Irsay spirited the team out of Baltimore he also took our history to Indianappolis. He also destroyed my belief that the team was part of our ethos.

    Today most players are simply hired guns whose affinity for the city for which they play is predicated on the value of the contract. I don’t dispute that many players are respected citizens that give back to the communities in which they have an affinity.

    • Baltimore’s experience was like that of Brooklyn when the Dodgers left.

      Anyway here’s Red Sox free agent Mitch Moreland on why he re-signed with Boston: “The biggest thing for me was I’ve enjoyed my time in Boston. It feels like home for us and there’s a good group of guys. I’m comfortable there.It’s a good family atmosphere, too, and that means a lot to me.”

  3. Re: #3, I really don’t know, but I am asking. Isn’t there a standard of billing in 6 minute increments in the legal profession, so that, theoretically, one could respond to to ten emails in a six minute time span and then bill for a total of one hour for six minutes work? The apprehension in Nicaragua sends a pretty decent signal of intent, but figuratively, what do you think?

  4. “Toxic Heteroromantism” is a new one to me. I suppose that this would rule out *The Confessions of Nat Turner* which was written by a white author due to cultural appropriation. We could could go way back to *Huckleberry Finn* by Mark Twain and demand that it be removed from high school libraries on the same grounds.

  5. I watch the Super Bowl every year. It’s the only pro football game I watch.

    I watch it because it is part of Americana, a cultural signpost of our country. I watch it for the entire experience — the game, the pageantry, the commercials — everything but the halftime show, which I usually can’t stomach. We watch the halftime show, but I rarely pay much attention, although my wife always watches it.

    To me, it’s like the World Series on steroids. I watch at least some of the World Series every year for the same reason, even though I don’t follow professional baseball at all.

    Sports is a very large, important part of our cultural heritage, regardless of the ethical problems within their communities. I like to pay homage to that cultural heritage even when I don’t follow the sport in question, because it feels to me like part of who we are as a country. There is a certain nobility in sport that cannot be completely removed by the negatives, and its history extends back to the dawn of rationality.

    I even enjoyed the game last night, although the commercials were largely gag-me-with-a-spoon horrible. I did like the Groundhog Day one (that movie is one of my guilty pleasures) and laughing at the dishonesty of Michael Bloomberg’s ad — small man with a small mind. I also enjoy grazing on our traditional plowman’s plate all day versus normal meals leading up to the game.

  6. 1. As an Atlanta Braves fan for more than 35 years, I completely endorse the Tomahawk Chop. I believe we copied it from the Florida State Seminole fans, but I can’t prove it. As a person with as much Native American blood in me as Elizabeth Warren (though I can’t precisely prove that, either), I will say there’s nothing wrong with it.

    If a person doesn’t like it, a person doesn’t have to participate.

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