Monday, November 29, 2010

A Footbal Fight: Andre Johnson's Beat-down of Cortland Finnegan

I apologize for stealing the title from Yahoo Sports, but it was too good.

I was watching this game when the fight occurred, and I appreciate the sentiments of Chris Chase who wrote the article in the link above.  There is part of me that readily agrees.  Part of me might have reacted in the exact same way Andre Johnson did.  When you keep getting pushed and picked on and pushed and picked on, there is a part of you that finally snaps, and you go berserk.  Eventually, a bully pushes you to the point where you snap, and then you let him have it.

I understand such things.  In fact, one of the stories my dad told me growing up continues to stay with me til this day.  He told of the time he was being bullied as a youngster.  One day, my dad had enough, turned around, and punched the bully right in the mouth.  End of bullying. 

I have been lucky enough in my life not to have had to put such a thing into practice--yet.  You never know how things will turn out.

And yet, I am confronted with the reality of my faith at this point and the person I am called to follow and imitate: Jesus Christ.

He says emphatically, "If someone strikes you, turn the other cheek."

Um...Jesus, what if they are bullying you?  What if they won't stop?  What if they refuse to leave you alone even if you don't strike back time after time after time?  Do we have to put up with bullying?  Do we have to put up with punks?

You know, Andre Johnson really didn't have to respond to Finnegan in the manner he did.  Johnson had been eating Finnegan's lunch all day long.  Finnegan couldn't stop all.  Except by making him lose his cool.  Ultimately Finnegan won this battle because he was able to get the Texan's best player ejected.  Luckily, the Texans had the game in hand, and when all was said and done, it didn't damage the team for this go round.  But what happens if Johnson is suspended?  That will certainly hurt his team.

Johnson was apologetic.  He manned up for his actions which I appreciate.  He knows there was a better way to handle the situation in this instance.  He knows the officials are there to deal with players like Finnegan.  He knows he should have let them handle it, but it's awfully hard to put it into practice when someone gets under your skin.

In the brawl between Johnson and Finnegan, turning the other cheek was definitely the preferred response, but I also believe there is a time and a place to stand up to bullies.  You cannot always rely upon authorities to be there to stop the bullying.  Sometimes, you've got to take matters into your own hands.  Sometimes, I believe you have to punch them in the mouth. 

I know I'm at odds with Jesus here, but you have to remember, He's a much better man than I am.  He's much stronger than I am.  And if I ever have to punch a bully in the mouth, I hope He's much more forgiving than I am.

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