August 30, 2010
All of a sudden, former NFL coaches are Puritan ministers. First, former Colts head coach Tony Dungy lashed out at Rex Ryan for his constant, emphatic and skillful use of profanity, and now former Ravens head coach Brian Billick's jumping on the wash-Rex's-mouth-out-with-soap bandwagon.
From Michael Hiestand's USA Today sports television column:
Fox NFL analyst Brian Billick, on ESPN, talking about New York Jets coach Rex Ryan's hearty use of profanity on HBO's ongoing Hard Knocks series: "Whether the camera is on you or not, you ought not to be using certain language."
Well, that's easy to say when you've never been in the heat of the game, in front of your players, trying to -- wait, what's that? Billick has been in that situation? Oh. Well, I'll pause while you click right here and watch Billick show Rex Ryan how a true gentleman expresses an opinion.
It's a wonder that Billick didn't say, "Rex Ryan really needs to shut the [expletive] up with all that cursing."
At the risk of slandering my own favorite game, let me just say that I'd never turn to professional football to find the pinnacle of cultural sophistication. These men are not poets.
Obviously, it's not a reflection on the quality of their character at all. It's just how it works in the NFL, and sports in general. Rex Ryan was not raised to be a wordsmith. Rex Ryan was raised by Buddy Ryan, who punched out offensive coordinators and saw his life's purpose as making quarterbacks feel physical pain. I'm going to guess that Buddy never enrolled young Rex in an etiquette class.
I myself have a very strong love of profanity. I don't want to flatter myself, but if I ever had the opportunity, I think I could make Rex Ryan blush.
If Dungy never uttered a naughty word, and Billick wants to pretend like he didn't, that's up to them. But football people are never going to be the most delicately spoken people in the world. It's a rough game, played by rough men, and those men use rough language. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but it's probably something that's never going to change.
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