First a follow-up to yesterday's post about the Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan brawl.
Here's the scoop on what the NFL's "punishment" for these players is:
Both of these guys are millionaires. Neither of them will feel that fine at all. Essentially, it's a slap on the wrist for both the bully and the one who retaliated. Finnegan, in typical bully fashion is blaming Johnson for the whole ordeal and refuses to even look in the mirror for the things he was doing to precipitate the brawl.
I think I understand the NFL's reasoning. Some of it is kosher with me, some of it is not. The Texans play the Philadelphia Eagles this Thursday, and I am sure, in a league driven by money and ratings, the NFL wanted both teams at their best to give viewers something worth watching. A hypocritical move, for sure, and something that sends the wrong message in my opinion.
However, I am reasonably sure the NFL also was trying to take into consideration the history of these two players. You have Andre Johnson who, aside from his run ins with Mr. Finnegan, is the model NFL player. He is the consummate professional at all other times. He plays hard, has an air of humility, and is charitable. He apologized for his actions and took full responsibility for them. He expected punishment, and is not appealing the NFL's decision. He knows he was wrong. The NFL believes Johnson.
The NFL also knows Finnegan. Finnegan prides himself in being a dirty player. Everyone in the league knows it. The NFL knows that Johnson doesn't have any outbursts with anyone except Mr. Finnegan. They know this guy got under Andre's skin and made him snap, and I am sure they sympathized in some small manner with Johnson. They probably wanted to see someone stand up to Finnegan's actions and put him in his place. But they probably also wanted it to be another "bad boy" of the NFL so that no one would think twice if they fined and suspended both players to the max.
But that's not what happened. It was one of the "good guys" who ended up in the mix. The "good guy" stood up to the bully, punched him in the mouth, and stood waiting to accept his punishment. Now, the NFL was in between a rock and a hard place. In a league governed by concrete rules, how does one punish a "good guy" for fighting a bully who was constantly and consistently picking on him? How does the league follow the rules when one party was constantly and purposely pushing the limits and just barely exceeding them so that he didn't draw outrage and the other party toes the line consistently? Do you risk doing nothing and letting things slide? Do you give the strictest sentence for both?
I'm of the opinion that because the league is governed by the rules, both players should have been fined and suspended. That's applying the rule consistently. However, I personally would have mailed a secret, confidential letter to Andre Johnson telling him, "While we in the NFL don't condone fighting during games, good job of putting the bully in his place."
From a faith perspective, I believe God operates in much the same way. He knows our frailties and failings. He knows we snap when people get under our skin. He knows we can only take so much and turn the other cheek for so long before we react. Then, His forgiveness is there. He doesn't condone our actions, but I know He understands them.
I only wonder one thing now. Finnegan probably doesn't realize Johnson came out the winner in that fight. He comes across as a little too arrogant for that. But, knowing that Johnson can and will fight back, will Finnegan try to bully him again?
My guess is, probably. As long as he can get away with it, he will. But I can hope each will learn a lesson from the ordeal.
Gotta love this one. Give thanks to God when things go good, and then blame Him when things go bad. It is so human nature. Things haven't changed much since the Garden of Eden.
When I am teaching both adults and kids the story of Adam and Eve and their eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, I purposely have them look closely at Adam's response to God when God asks, "What have you done?" Here's the text itself from Genesis chapter 3:
11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
Look very carefully at who the man blames for the eating of the fruit. Did you say the woman? Try again.
"The woman WHOM YOU GAVE TO BE WITH ME..."
Adam blames God. The implication is, "If you wouldn't have given her to be with me, nothing would have happened. Why did you do this to me God?"
Yeah. Right. Don't take responsibility for your actions. Blame everyone else. Blame the woman, and if that doesn't work, blame God. It's everyone else's fault, not your own.
Now, I understand grief and becoming upset when things don't go your way. I understand that life throws curve balls at you. I understand that there is a time and a place to become frustrated and angry. I understand that sometimes things happen that are way out of our control. Contracting cancer is out of our control (unless you are a smoker). Being diagnosed is one of those occasions I would actually recommend asking God why. I would recommend getting a little angry. God can handle it. Let it out.
But if you mess up, don't go blaming someone else. Take responsibility.
Steve, you will probably never read this blog, but repeat after me:
I dropped the pass. I'm not perfect, and I showed it beyond the shadow of a doubt today. I've nobody to blame but myself, and I promise I will work even harder now to ensure that I catch every ball thrown my way. I don't ever want to let down my teammates, our fans, or myself like that ever again.