Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Dumbassery

Hines Ward pre-dumbass
I suppose some people are waiting for my reaction to Hines Ward's arrest.  I appreciate those of you who are Facebook friends with me for not harassing me about it there.  It was not a happy moment, only minutes away from recovering from a fairly substantial panic attack, when Greg came outside to tell me, a happy, shit-eating grin on his face, that my favorite wide receiver had been arrested for DUI.  I told him to quit smiling, it wasn't funny.  He told me to [bleep!] myself and that was pretty much the majority of our discussions about anything that day.  I doubt Hines Ward really had much to do with that actually, he was just a straw on an over-burdened camel's back.  So it goes sometimes in marriage.

However, in the wake of the news, I resisted the temptation to run in and turn on the NFL Network or jump online.  I stayed where I was, a flutter dancing around in my stomach threatening to turn into panic attack number two for the day, and just pondered how rich, powerful people sometimes forget they are still human like the rest of us, and worried how Hine's attack of hubris would impact the team.  I reasoned if he came out and did the right thing, it would all be fine.  He would survive it, the team wouldn't really be impacted by it much, and the Steeler Nation would forgive him, allow him to learn from the mistake and move on.  I had faith that's what he would do.

The flutter began to lessen a bit and finally calm down to nothingness as I read the last 20 pages of my book to at last learn the fate of Dale Barbara.  I realized, however, that I cried a little harder at the end of the book (I always get upset when animals die in books and movies, I was a wreck for days after Old Yeller) because I was agitated about the arrest.  After all, I'm not a Cincinnati fan, I'm not used to all this drama.  And it's not just some guy from the roster.  It's Hines Ward, a long time favorite of mine on and off the field.

I realize he's not up for sainthood.  I know his divorce was ugly.  It got over-shadowed by Big Ben's arrest last year and wasn't wave-worthy enough to ripple its way all the way to Texas, but it's all still floating out there on the Internet and apparently was a larger scandal around here, so I've seen little things pop up about it here and there since moving here.  And I know he was probably doing things out in L.A. while he was competing in Dancing with the Stars that someone (almost) old enough to be his mother would probably not approve of, but for the most part, he's good to the fans, he does charitable work, he's a hell of an athlete and a loyal Steeler, and he just oozes charm.  What's not to love?  Yes, I tell myself, looking around at the neighbors houses trying to make sure no one caught me sitting out there crying over a work of fiction, Hines will step up and do the right thing.

But, that would be too simple wouldn't it?  Instead of stepping forward, admitting he had made a terrible error in judgment that put others in danger, he said he was not impaired, but had been texting.  Okay and maybe he was.  But he was drunk texting is my guess.  I've read the reports, and I grant you there are still some things that need to be sorted out:  did he hit the curb, did he not?  And I haven't seen the state administered breathalyzer test results yet, but c'mon, just because I'm blindly loyal to the Steelers doesn't mean I lost all independent thought capacity.

I was insulted by his response to try and redeem his reputation.  Someone should have shut him up until he had some sleep and a chance to reflect.  His "gosh, boys and girls, I was only texting while driving, which I shouldn't have done" aw-shucks routine came out in the hours after he got home.  I understand the compulsion to get something out to his fans, but his handlers (agent, publicist, whomever) should have tempered what he said because I think to excuse it with the facts overwhelmingly against what he was saying just made him look bad.  Either like a man in severe denial, or a man so cocky he assumes he'll skate by on a serious offense.  One that could have hurt other people.  That's what always freaks me out about situations like that.  And he's not 15 and stupid.  He's 35 and hardly stupid.  He should have known better.

These guys don't get it.  Whether they want to be or not, they are role models.  Lots of 15 year old stupid kids are watching to see what happens here.  If Hines can get away with it, it can't be that bad, right?

I expected more from him is the bottom line.  I expected him to step up and actually maybe use this as an opportunity to show those 15 year old idiots what a real man does when he makes a life changing mistake.  That's not what I got.  We all make them.  I mean, c'mon, look at me, I can barely make it through an hour without making at least one.  And it stands to reason that his life is larger, his mistakes will be that way too.  It's what we do with them that defines us (and if that sounds vaguely Batman-ish, it probably is).

I'll wait to cast a final judgment.  I'll assume that with some reflection he'll do a little better with the situation.  With the lockout continuing, the owners and players raising our hopes only to dash them back on the rocks on a daily basis, he may have a long time to ponder it.

But, Hines, Mr. Rooney may be barred from contacting you, but I'm not:  quit being a dumbass!

Hines Ward and Pacman Jones in their post-dumbass pose (from The Washington Post)

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I got two knew sayings to add to my vocabulary - dumbassery (brilliant!) and "35 and hardly stupid" I CANNOT wait to use them in a sentence!