Yes, I know that it’s a stretch to consider this behavior “sanctioned”, but since it hardly goes punished, it’d be tough to argue that it’s frowned upon.
First, of course, we got Ben Roethlisberger, two time NFL Champion quarterback of your Pittsburgh Steelers who’s also been twice accuse of forcible rape—the most traumatizing of which I’m guessing was the poor hotel employee who Ben allegedly tossed down, raped, then threw out of his room with the parting words “If anyone asks you, you fixed my television. Now go!”
Next, of course, we’ve got Brett Favre, himself a Super Bowl champion, now known more famously for stunting the career growth of the two Black quarterbacks that sit on the bench while he ruins the Minnesota Vikings by insisting on continuing to play poorly, and of course, known most famously (now) four texting out pictures of his “Kanye West” to unsuspecting Jenn Sterger, then an employee of the New York Jets.
At the time, the very married Mr. Favre was playing for the Jets, making this incident no less than a case of spectacular sexual harassment.
Last and closest to home for me, a Jet fan, is our own head coach, Rex Ryan, a man who up until this week had never met a headline that he didn’t want his name in, has now been found to be a participant in some sort of degenerate foot fetish video starting his wife that also has undertones of swinging, wife swapping, and general overall creepiness.
In Mr. Ryan’s case, the perversion, though embarrassing, is only personal.
In the cases of Mr. Roethlisberger and Mr. Favre, it’s potential criminal.
Still, if you watch as much of ESPN’s Sports Center as I do (while doing what at my place, passes for “exercise”) you’ve no doubt noticed that with the exception of the Roethlisberger incident, during which the tone was one of almost pity for Mr. Roethlisberger because he had indeed been suspended for the first four games of the season, the tone of the coverage of the Favre and Ryan incidents has been almost jovial.
I watched my own fellow alum Stan Verrett make several foot gags this very morning in reference to the Ryan incident.
Meanwhile, if you want to see a conversation about a NFL personality turn serious even hostile, you’d have to wait until the talk turned to the exploits of one Michael Vick.