I love the NFL Draft.
I know … I know—you love it? Don’t you mock it incessantly? Well, yes, I do. But one can love and mock simultaneously, no? I love the circus atmosphere, I loved the pimped-out suits, I love guys who came from poor backgrounds finally making it big for their families, I love seeing dudes from schools like Buffalo and Central Florida stand alongside peers out of Auburn and Florida State. It’s all wonderful theater, and I watched 95 percent of it play out on ESPN and the NFL Network.
Despite all the goodies to choose from, my favorite single slice of the evening came after Johnny Manziel was drafted, when an ESPN reporter asked him how he felt. He said, to paraphrase, that God had a plan for Johnny, and that plan was to play football for the Cleveland Browns.
I suppose, technically and linguistically, I should let this stuff slide. It was a great moment for the kid, he’s just a college junior, blah … blah. Well, I can’t. I just can’t. It’s only been a couple of weeks since the 276 schoolgirls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, with the seeming intent of being sold by Boko Haram into slavery. In case you’ve somehow missed this, it’s a truly awful story, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it is to be a parent, knowing your daughter has been peddled into the sex trade industry. So when someone here in America (usually a celebrity, usually an actor, singer or athlete) stands on a stage, dressed in an expensive outfit, cameras flashing, and says, “God has a plan for me,” it oozes of an (oft-unintended) arrogance that I can’t stomach.
God chose you? Really? So why you and not, oh, the Nigerian girls? Did he not have a plan for them? Or was his plan for them to be fucked 30 times a day for the next 10 years, develop a disease and die on the side of a street? While you play for millions? While driving a BMW? And endorsing Papa John’s?
Oh, wait. That’s an uncomfortable and poorly timed way to think.
Let’s talk football.