Fri Dec 03 10:08am EST
After the New York Giants were booed at home on Sunday, cornerback Antrel Rolle(notes) advised fans not to do so because it'd be like booing American soldiers returning from Iraq. From the NY Daily News:
"We risk ourselves out there on the field each and every day also. When soldiers come home from Iraq you don't boo them. I look at it the same way. I take my job seriously."
Oof. If Rolle wanted to give fans an alternative reason to boo, mission accomplished.
There are a few sensitive topics you should never use to analogize, and the "football as like war" simile is one of those. That doesn't stop everyone -- media, fans, coaches and players alike -- from using words like "battle" and "war" when talking about football, but this direct comparison is worse.
Yet I'm not going to kill Rolle for the comments. They were stupid and poorly worded, but it wasn't like he came out and said that his job was more important than a soldier's. If you'll allow me to parse his speech, I took it as: "You don't boo soldiers because they sacrifice themselves and take their jobs seriously, so don't boo me." I don't think he meant to imply that the wounded heroes at Walter Reed are equivalent to guys listed as questionable on the injury report. That doesn't excuse the comparison, but let's not turn him into -- eh, maybe I should heed my own calls about extreme analogies.
Of course, had I read the initial comments without reading Rolle's subsequent apology, maybe I'd have a different opinion. Hours after making those comments, he explained himself in a statement released by the team:
"I used a very poor, inappropriate example earlier today to demonstrate how seriously I take my job. Obviously there is no comparison between the men and women of our military putting their life on the line defending our country and what I do.
"They risk their lives and that gives me the opportunity to play a game for a living. After I made my earlier comments, somebody even said to me: how would your father, who is the chief of police in Homestead (Fla.) and puts himself at risk every day, feel about the comparison you made? Again, it was a very poor, very inappropriate choice of words."
The words "I'm sorry" don't appear anywhere in those two paragraphs, but Rolle's apology has other merits. He said something dumb and quickly backtracked without trying to offer a defense of himself. He didn't give the tired "sorry if I offended you" routine either. He manned up and offered true regret.
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