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DALE HANSEN (courtesy WFAA)

A coworker has a bumper sticker that says, “I Stand Against Genocide.”

So heroic!

Every now and then, Channel 8/WFAA sportscaster Dale Hansen puffs out his chest, points his baby blues straight into the camera, and delivers a long, impassioned speech about morality and values. Bullying and gay bashing are a couple of his recent diatribes.

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His latest example: his hardline stance against the Dallas Cowboys for signing former Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy to a contract. Hardy beat up a former girlfriend, which is obviously wrong. Good thing Hansen is around to remind us.

“I don’t care how good he is,” Hansen spoke into the camera on Wednesday. “I don’t care if the Cowboys made a great deal. And I absolutely don’t care about the argument so many of you make that what he does off the field just doesn’t matter if he can help you win on the field. Is there no line you won’t cross? Is there no crime you won’t accept? Is there no behavior you will not tolerate?

“The Cowboys have decided players who use illegal drugs can play. You drive drunk and kill a teammate … putting everyone on that highway at risk … there’s a place on this team for you. You can rob a department store and play. And now you can beat a woman and play with a star on your helmet.”

Hanson knows football is a violent sport played by men who earn millions of dollars in exchange for hurting one another. Anyone who plays football from grade school up to the pros has listened to about 20 different coaches over a period of two decades all basically preaching the same thing: Get out on the field and hit somebody!

Generations of sportscasters during Hansen’s heyday routinely turned a blind eye to the side effects of athletes spending their lives knocking the hell out of one another. Side effects include drug and booze abuse, aggressive behavior in public, domestic abuse, child abuse, and more. Michael Vick is the poster child for evil-doer dogfighter. But NFL players had apparently long been involved in watching pit bulls attack each other and fight to the death before Vick was arrested in 2007. Football players are warriors; dogfighting is symbolic of what they do.

I doubt many athletes are involved in that scene anymore after seeing Vick get his just desserts. I also doubt sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL on a daily basis were unaware of the problem. And surely they knew of the special little mansions rented for players to  drink, drug, and screw themselves silly on a regular basis on the way to those Super Bowls.

Now everything’s blown wide open. Jerry Jones gets drunk in a bar and talks smack these days, somebody’s got it recorded and posted on YouTube before you can say, “Tell Gomer hey!” The advent of social media (and video cameras in elevators) makes it harder to hide the behavior that, in part, stems from being a warrior.

Self-righteous judgment abounds, led locally by Mother Hansen.

How’s this for a thought? Let the criminal justice system make its judgment on the lawbreakers and hand down sentences. After they pay their debt to society, let them go on about their lives, including resuming the right to earn a livelihood.

The guy who drove drunk, the guy Hansen deems too much a lowlife to be on this team, is Josh Brent. He and Jerry Brown Jr. went out drinking one night and Brent wrecked out. Brown was killed. Brent went through the court system, served his jail time, lost his job, and paid his legal penance. He made a mistake and killed a friend, a friend who knowingly and willingly climbed into a car with a drunken driver. I’m proud of the Cowboys for giving Brent another chance.

We could ask Jerry Jones to sign Gandhi to middle linebacker and Taylor Swift to nose tackle, and we’d have the nicest team in the NFL. And we’d stink.

I’ll end this rambling rant with a personal note, which doesn’t excuse these players’ behavior but helps explain it. I played football until I graduated high school. I’ve always been a laid-back fellow, but by my teens I’d had so many coaches in my ear that my personality changed. I grew volatile, drove aggressively, wrecked cars, and picked fights. After I quit playing football, it still took several years to get that violent streak out of my system. During that time I would sometimes pick fights in bars with total strangers for no reason. I lost most every fight but didn’t care.  I wanted to inflict pain, but more importantly I wanted to feel pain. I missed having wounds and itchy scabs to pick.

Now I’m the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet. Maybe Brent and Hardy are too. It’s not for me to judge.

19 COMMENTS

  1. All things being equal, and without a total lack of context, nothing makes me think someone might be right like someone being attacked as a “moral crusader.”

    Are you NOT against genocide? I’m sorry we’re not all living up to your high standard of how to do nothing, but where I come from, the right thing is always the right thing, whether it’s lame or annoying or not.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, I can understand why the average fan might be upset and choose not to do anything, they are fairly powerless individually. However Hansen and Mayor Rawlings have the power to really do something to back up their anger and all they can do is give us some lip service. Like we need Hansen telling us this makes the team look bad. No shit s—t Dale, we know, why not follow through on one your shallow speeches for once?

  3. Jeff your last paragraph (reprinted below) is the best argument possible to SUPPORT Hansen’s position that these criminals should retire immediately. You vividly painted average football players as psychopaths who just want to hurt people and themselves, so I’d say once they actually do hurt innocent people they need to quit football and get counseling. VERY glad you got out of that vicious mindset and don’t want to hurt people anymore, I hope Brent & Hardy quit & get there too.
    “I’ll end this rambling rant with a personal note, which doesn’t excuse these players’ behavior but helps explain it. I played football until I graduated high school. I’ve always been a laid-back fellow, but by my teens I’d had so many coaches in my ear that my personality changed. I grew volatile, drove aggressively, wrecked cars, and picked fights. After I quit playing football, it still took several years to get that violent streak out of my system. During that time I would sometimes pick fights in bars with total strangers for no reason. I lost most every fight but didn’t care. I wanted to inflict pain, but more importantly I wanted to feel pain. I missed having wounds and itchy scabs to pick.”
    WOW! Mamas DO NOT let your babies grow up playing football.

  4. As a woman, I also find it offensive that a man could beat up a girlfriend and be welcomed onto the Cowboys’ team. When someone becomes a role model, and let’s face it, anyone who is in sports is a role model for impressionable young boys and girls, the person assumes a responsibility that is larger than life. The paycheck also demands a higher code of ethics, morals, whatever you want to call it. Once that code has been broken, it is hard to put the pieces together without the cracks showing. Perhaps it is time for Mr. Hardy to find another way to earn a living.

  5. Here’s the flaw in your argument: While the game appeals to the hardcore fanatic who just wants to see blood and violence, the sport won’t grow if the casual fan (including most women) refuses to watch because of behavior of certain athletes that you so easily excuse. The Cowboys haven’t won anything meaningful in, what, 20 years and counting, and yet they are one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports. Why risk potential growth and sponsor revenue on a Hail Mary to improve the team?

  6. It’s amazing that so many people on this comments section have lived such perfect lives and have never had to ask for a second chance.

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