Good at knowing when to tune in


November 24, 2019

Whatever bad timing I’ve had in other facets of life, I’ve always been good for catching historic sports moments.

My junior year of high school, I got home from a family trip that coincided with an NBA playoff game. The TV, tuned to NBC when I powered it on, showed the Indiana Pacers with a six-point deficit and around 20 seconds to go. This game’s over, I thought, but let’s see what happens.

Reggie Miller hits a three. Reggie Miller gets a steal and hits another three. The Pacers strangely foul John Starks, who even more strangely misses both free throws. Patrick Ewing misses a putback. Miller is fouled on the rebound, hits both free throws, and the Pacers win 107-105 in front of a silent Kevin Wilson.

Nearly a quarter-century later, I’ve still got that timing. With my viewing of “The Good Place” and a round of Nintendo finished, I checked in with the Thursday night Cleveland Browns-Pittsburgh Steelers game. Neither team was much of a contender, but let’s see what happens.

You’re probably aware as long as you didn’t live under a rock that Friday that a late-game brawl escalated with Cleveland’s Myles Garrett removing the helmet of Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph and striking Rudolph with that helmet.

I said immediately that the NFL should end Garrett’s season with a suspension. It did just that with an indefinite suspension, and upheld the decision one week later.

I still believe Garrett should be done for the season, and nothing excuses his actions. But plenty more thoughts came to me in the week since the scuffle.

n For all of the outrage that followed about the violence of the fight, we forget the violence that happens when the game is going on. I’m not even sure if the helmet hit was the hardest hit Rudolph took that game.

n Rudolph deserved some disciplinary action for escalating the incident. Before Garrett pulled Rudolph’s helmet off, there was a clear attempt by Rudolph to remove Garrett’s helmet. Steelers fans will argue Rudolph just wanted Garrett to get off of him since the play was over. I’d concede that, but note that whether or not Rudolph started things, he certainly escalated them.

n Garrett reportedly told the NFL during his appeal hearing that Rudolph used a racial slur. Rudolph has denied it. Garrett also said that while a racial slur didn’t excuse his actions, he believed it was a mitigating factor.

n Let’s presume Rudolph did use a racial slur. That means Garrett stayed quiet about it for a week, presumably to avoid drawing more negative attention to the league, and it only got leaked after he mentioned it to the league. This might be why the players union distrusts the league.

n The NFL has said it doesn’t have any audio of the incident, so a general fan like me or you doesn’t know. We don’t know if Rudolph uses racist slurs. We don’t know if Garrett is a false accuser. We shouldn’t assume either person is the liar until either somebody admits it or we have conclusive proof. Again, we don’t know.

The day before the NFL upheld its ruling, the most recent episode of “The Good Place” aired. Main character Chidi realized that not everything has an answer. It was good to hear that as the season, and life in general, unfolds.

Right now, I don’t have the answer. I’m just good at knowing when to tune in.

Kevin Wilson is editor of the Eastern New Mexico News. He can be contacted at 575-763-3431, ext. 320, or by email:

[email protected]


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