He remains the last surviving active Oakland Raider still with the team who played in the Snow Bowl in 2001 at Foxborough Stadium.¬† To look at Sebastian Janikowski, he doesn‚Äôt look like your prototypical kicker.¬† But his standing the test of time speaks well for the former Florida State Seminole.¬† He has a 63-yard field goal to his credit, no longer tied for the longest, but still a nice feather in his cap.¬† He is far and away the leading scorer in Raider history, and at age 36, has many more years left in him.¬† He booms one out of the end zone and makes it look completely effortless.¬† He could have done the same in a raging blizzard, a fact we all know in these parts.
Different focus this week.¬† We will devote the entire article to all that is currently going wrong with the NFL off the field.
Charles Barkley reiterated his ‚ÄúI am not a role model‚ÄĚ stance on the CBS pregame show this past Sunday morning.¬† He said parents are the role models, not the athletes.¬† Good place to begin.
So, what did Ray Rice‚Äôs parents do to turn him into a wifebeater?¬† Or what didn‚Äôt they do?
And what of Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy?¬† How in the world did they turn into alleged child abusers?
And you cannot forget a former Patriot who allegedly committed three murders last year.¬† How was his upbringing?
Now, what about the NFL?¬† Is this a case of the league trying to protect its star players?
It is beyond execrable as to how the NFL has handled the Rice case.¬† The damage control is out of bounds.¬† The interviews, the explanations, everything, just plain sickening.
Which leads us to the‚Ä¶
Geek of the week:¬† It‚Äôs bad enough that Roger Goodell has come out of this whole affair with egg on his face and his commissionership in jeopardy.¬† But if Rice gets reinstated because it is proved that he cannot be punished twice for the same crime, this is the ultimate indignity to both the league and to Rice‚Äôs wife, even though she continues to defend him with all her might.
Let‚Äôs get back to Barkley‚Äôs assertion of who kids should look up to.
This author is a full time teacher.¬† I have seen 31 years of many children.¬† They represent the entire spectrum of a child‚Äôs talents, emotions, strong points and weaknesses.
Some kids are easy to work with, some are high maintenance.¬† Some kids are respectful, some are not.¬† Some kids are boy/girl scouts, some are unavoidably headed for prison some day.
Here is one thing that binds all of them together:¬† the quality of the family unit.¬† If a student has any adverse issue, odds are that you will find the root of the problem at home.
There is not enough, if any, education out there about parenting skills.¬† You have plenty of advisories on staying celibate until marriage and the prevention of STDs, though teen pregnancies happen anyway.¬† Even if you wait until you‚Äôre married, then decide to begin a family, that‚Äôs only half the battle.¬† Knowing what to do with that bundle in your lap is another story.
Barkley is right.¬† Parents need to step up and show kids the right way.¬† What you do as a parent influences your child more than you realize.
And athletes aren‚Äôt the only high profile people out there.¬† Actors and actresses.¬† Musicians.¬† Politicians.¬† Anyone with any kind of celebrity.¬† Why just single out athletes?
Parents have to do everything in their power to make sure their children are seen after properly.¬† Whether they stay together or divorce, the kids come first.¬† Love the kids with your heart and always show them the right way.
Back to school:¬† How well did you know your school counselor?¬† Oops, did your school have a counselor?
Here‚Äôs a big shout out to perhaps the most valuable person in any school.¬† The job a school counselor does is vastly underrated and so vitally important to schools in general and students in need of help in particular.
Counselors have stated on numerous occasions that troubled children can tell stories about their life at home that would make you sick to your stomach.¬† In many cases, the school counselor is all that the child has to come and talk to.
So, this begs this rhetorical question:¬† Was any counseling available to students who might one day go on to beat up a woman?¬† Or a kid?
There are lots of other problems in addition to spousal/child battery, of course.¬† All these kids need help, someone to talk to.
Schools cannot do enough to provide these services to students who need it.¬† The schools I teach at have always had expert and wonderful counselors, and I have spared no expense in letting them know how important they are.¬† My only gripe is that in our district, they are also responsible for scheduling.¬† It‚Äôs too bad that there isn‚Äôt someone else who can do that so they can concentrate all their energies on what they are really there to do.
Remember them:¬† My mother and my late father.¬† Other relatives.¬† Teachers.¬† Professors.¬† Counselors.¬† Everyone who has helped me become the teacher, husband and father I am.¬† I don‚Äôt have the words to thank you.¬† I‚Äôm not perfect, but thanks to you all, I am proud of what I became.
It‚Äôs not like Rice, Peterson and Hardy are the only miscreants the NFL has produced.¬† It‚Äôs just that these guys are dominating the news and sports headlines so much that everyone‚Äôs awareness of troubled athletes is at its highest right now.
Let‚Äôs begin at home.¬† Enlighten parents, young and old, to what really makes a good parent and make ways to learn parenting skills more accessible.
Let‚Äôs have schools step up and identify problematic children better, and get them the help they need if they require it.¬† No child should ever be made to feel that they have no means towards inner peace and happiness.¬† My school district is a great model for all to follow.
There may be some people out there who do receive great parenting and a nice home life and still cannot handle adulthood properly.¬† Nothing is foolproof.¬† You won‚Äôt prevent everything bad that can happen.¬† But good parenting is the place to start no matter what.
When celebrities are outed as criminals, the issues involved and the inherent problems become magnified.¬† If you have never been a celebrity, you cannot imagine what causes some of them to snap, commit crimes, or simply turn into people whom you would never want as your best friend.¬† Being a celeb engenders pressure and expectations that ordinary people will never know.
Rich or famous?¬† I choose rich any day.
Let‚Äôs get to them when they‚Äôre young.¬† If that doesn‚Äôt happen, let‚Äôs get them help when they get grown up and they can‚Äôt handle life as well as they think they can.
And instead of being just pariahs, let‚Äôs let Rice, Peterson and Hardy be agents of change in our society.¬† Then maybe some good will finally come of all this.
Back to football next week, folks.¬† As always, thanks for your time.